37-year-old high-tech expert applies skills to promote SWFL tennis
During weekdays, Craig Turner provides IT and web-development support for a Naples organization that specializes in academic and business services to graduate education institutions.
At night and on weekends, he applies both his high-tech expertise and tennis skills to help promote the game in our area and be an active competitor in his own right.
Turner, who relocated from Washington three years ago, developed the 239tennis.org website in 2014 that provides ways for Lee and Collier county recreational players of all ages and abilities to find leagues, courts and teaching pros; previews upcoming events; encompasses social media connections, and supports Tennis Thanks the Troops, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other organizations.
“I’m happy with how it’s been going so far,” he said. “It’s a lot of work but I keep establishing and growing relationships and trust with more and more pros and organizations.”
He also credited ProAm Tennis and the Arthur Allen Tennis Center at Cambier Park in Naples for their support plus John Thawley — an accomplished motor racing, tennis and general photographer, web developer and resident of Village Walk in Bonita Springs — for providing numerous tennis photos for use on the website.
Prior to the fall, Turner, who’ll turn 38 in June, hopes to “upgrade it with an improved content-management system on a new platform for greater flexibility and capacity for updates plus post a fuller schedule of competitive events.”
Players and fans will be able to plan ahead and compete in and attend them more readily. He’ll also explore ways to help increase funding and financing of the operation.
In another Internet tennis initiative, he spearheaded the Southwest Florida Pro League’s first website (swflproleague.org) last fall with results, standings and other news.
“We learned a lot in the first go-around. We hope to add new features next time.”
He’s an active presence on area courts as well.
He teamed with Kathryn Taylor to win the 9.0 mixed doubles title at the 2015 Sneaky Pete’s Tennis Championships at The Club at Sterling Oaks in North Naples. Turner plans to partner with her in mixed doubles plus play men’s doubles in the 47th annual city of Naples Tennis Championships at Cambier Park, from now through May 31.
He also plays regularly at the Naples Bath and Tennis Club and competed for the third time in the 11-event Naples Pro League that concluded on March 23, teaming up in the mixed-doubles division with Juliana Garcia, a former standout of the FGCU women’s tennis team.
Turner was one of 18 players that participated in the fourth annual men’s doubles tournament at the Cascades of Estero community also in March.
He’s relishing the extensive time he’s spending on our courts after barely playing the sport for many years. He played for his high school teams in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and in West Texas, but then served in the Navy for 10 years and then worked for Boeing, barely picking up a racket during this period.
With his military service background, he’s particularly gratified that users of 239tennis.org can contribute toward scholarships for military families.
“Helping them out is close to my heart.”
Turner’s connections with area tennis pros are currently being even further enhanced by captaining a 5.0 USTA league team, “half-Naples and half-Fort Myers and we hope to make it to the state championships in Daytona!”
His family tennis associations are vast as well.
His wife, Courtney, has been supervising the tennis shop at Pelican Sound Golf & River Club in Estero since November, and his dad teaches tennis at Cambier Park.
Being able to do so much in both promoting and playing the game he loves since arriving in our area “is so rewarding. It has provided an opportunity for Courtney and me to meet some wonderful people and participate in some great events.”
Beyond the gates
The South Florida PGA Foundation Pro-Am tournament is set for The Club at Mediterra, North Naples, May 10 ... The Rotary Club of Fort Myers Sunrise Pro-Am Golf Classic for the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools’ Take Stock in Children program will be at The Forest Country Club, South Fort Myers, May 13.