Written by Ashley Jeffords
November 29, 2018
Tennis players are always looking for that perfect match—the ideal doubles partner or across-the-net competitor who makes the game even more fun and exciting. At Reynolds Lake Oconee, the job of “matchmaker” is masterfully handled by Barbara Voyles, who has lived on the lake for 21 years and spent the last nine at Reynolds as tennis concierge. In other words, she’s the woman who marries serve and volley.
“This ‘at your service’ type of programming is really popular among our members and guests because it gives them more options for play,” says Voyles, who can arrange matches and partnerships at any of the 16 hard and clay courts on property. “Whether they are looking for someone to hit a few balls with for exercise, a full match, a new challenge, or league play for the competitors, I can usually meet their needs and get them on the court.”
The Reynolds tennis program is booming with more than 280 active members. For the past eight years, the tennis center has been a Peter Burwash International (PBI) training facility, offering instruction at all levels. Whether a player is on property for a few days or lives here year-round, finding a new and well-matched partner is key.
“There’s always a need amongst our members to find new opponents,” says Dave Neuhart, PBI Director of Tennis at Reynolds. “Most of the PBI locations provide a gamematching service, but it is usually handled by a tennis professional, which can be challenging. Barbara is special because she knows the local tennis community so well and she is always available.”
Many of the tennis members turn to Voyles for more than just a competitive match. “Barbara is the soul of the tennis center,” says Reynolds member Jennifer Mercer, full-time resident since 2010. “When she is not working, we all feel lost. You’ll hear many of us saying, ‘Where’s Barbara, she would know… If Barbara were here…’ We look to her for guidance and support on and off the courts.”
Voyles has been playing tennis for 50 years, and was part of the original group when the Lake Oconee Tennis Association (LOTA) was founded in May 2000. Since then she’s held almost every possible job, including Ladies League Director, Vice President, President, and Membership Director. Right now, she is the USTA League Coordinator. “Let’s just say that Barbara has connections,” says Neuhart.
Voyles is very particular when pairing players. Of course, she has to weigh their level of play, skills, preference for singles or doubles, and availability. But she’s also very attuned to personalities, interests, and comfort levels. “I want people to relate to one another,” she says. “I have the opportunity to give someone the gift of friendship. I have met some of my best friends through random matches and pairings. I have watched new friendships begin, old friendships grow, and even couples develop through the game of tennis. It’s very satisfying to contribute to the overall growth of the game that we love.”
In the hands of Barbara Voyles, every game and set is a perfect match.
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