Stan Smith celebrating 50 years as Sea Pines tennis pro

Stan Smith didn’t even play golf when he moved to Hilton Head and Harbour Town in 1971.
Stan Smith didn’t even play golf when he moved to Hilton Head and Harbour Town in 1971.(WTOC)
Updated: Apr. 16, 2021 at 4:07 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - Stan Smith didn’t even play golf when he moved to Hilton Head and Harbour Town in 1971.

But now, the Tennis Hall of Famer is becoming a presence in the game at the Heritage - taking his name and signature shoe from the courts to the course.

The term ‘crossover sport star’ didn’t even exist when Stan Smith started to become one by arriving as the touring tennis professional at Hilton Head’s famous Sea Pines golf community 50 years ago last month.

“Charles Fraser wanted to develop the tennis facility and the tennis program and we ended up having more nationally televised tennis events than any other resort in the country,” Smith said.

Smith was the top-ranked player in the world at the time and within a year, a tennis shoe bearing his name was released

“It all started in ’71 or ’72, when Adidas was looking to get a stronger presence in the United States.”

Stan Smiths would become a cultural icon off the court, popular with everyone from preppies to hip hop stars.

Like Smith’s relationship with Sea Pines, they have endured and are now completing the his crossover that started half a century ago.

“They have four models coming out this year, the Stan Smith golf shoe, and the first one is green for the Masters. And DJ, Dustin Johnson and I, did a commercial promoting that shoe. That shoe came out last week and we have three more coming out this year.

Another design will be released leading up to next month’s PGA Championship in Kiawah Island.

“And then during the Ryder Cup, which has got sort of a cow, black spots around the bottom of it and a pink bottom, which is the utter of the cow. It’s going to be held in Wisconsin, so what better than to have something with a cow in it.”

The newest Stan Smiths also have a new inspiration.

“Adidas has really made a commitment to have all of their products made out of at least 50 percent recycled materials. They’re doing their part to help end plastic waste.”

But because they are associated with Stan Smith, they are based in tradition and longevity.

“The relationship here has been 50 years, the Adidas relationship has been about 49 years and my wife and I have been together for 46 years. So, I look at long term relationships.”

There are several models of Stan Smith’s coming out this year that are not for golf. The shoe was re-launched in 2014 and has become quite popular again since then.

And, Stan did start playing golf shortly after arriving on Hilton Head and has become a pretty fair player with Harbour Town as his home course.

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