THE HISTORY OF THE SAVANNAH TENNIS LEAGUE
The Savannah Tennis League was born as a result of a conversation between Lynn Glendenning, who was President of the Savannah Tennis Association, and Jean Carpenter, an avid tennis player. Lynn asked Jean to check into forming a ladies league in Savannah.
Jean and Sandy Thomas corresponded with Augusta, Macon and West Palm Beach to get their rules and took from each city what they thought would be best for a league in Savannah. Also helping with the formation were Linda Beets and Camille Searcy.
After much work and organization by these four ladies, league play began in March, 1979, with play in B and C Divisions. There were 64 women playing on six teams in the B Division and 78 playing on eight teams in the C Division. Each team selected a “team name”. The names of the teams in the B Division were: Blue Herons (Marshwood), Chatham (now Southbridge), Net Setters (Wilmington Park), Racquettes (Yacht Club), Strings (Bacon Park), and Top Spins (Bacon Park). The names of the teams in the C Division were: Ace Pacers (Bacon Park), Bacon Park I, Bacon Park II, Bad News (Bacon Park), Marsh Hens (River Oaks), Wilmington Park II, Playgirls (Bacon Park) and Whooping Cranes (Marshwood).
Players in that first spring season paid $7.00 dues. First slot was awarded 1-1/2 points, and second, third and fourth slots received one point each for a total of 4-1/2 points for the day.
The Spring Luncheon was held in the Sail Loft at the Savannah Yacht Club. Everyone brought food for a covered dish lunch. Joey Anderson said the blessing. Linsey Beaven, a former touring pro, was the guest speaker. Each winning team received a trophy, and each person at the lunch received a paperweight with the date (1979) to commemorate the beginning of ladies team tennis in Savannah. A sign-up sheet was passed for ladies to volunteer to help. Signing up were Sandy Emerson, A Division Coordinator; Elaine Harris, B Division Coordinator; Susan Massey, C Division Coordinator; Linda Beets, Treasurer; Camille Searcy, Score Sheets; and Joan Harwood, Publicity.
USTA representatives visited Savannah on several occasions asking the league to join the USTA. The league voted each time to remain independent. From two divisions totaling 142 ladies in the spring of 1979, the league grew to three divisions (A, B and C) totaling almost 300 ladies in the spring of 1980.
Over the last 25 years, the original rules have been changed and refined, making the Savannah Tennis League into a league that has grown tremendously from two divisions to six divisions that run smoothly, providing the opportunity for competition and fun in playing the game to the nearly 500 players who participate.
Past Presidents of the Savannah Tennis League