The Macon-Bibb Recreation Department has hired Bobby Walker as its Interim Tennis Manager. In this role, he will be responsible for managing the centers and pro shops, establishing programs (including one for students after school), and serving as a liaison with the tennis community for tournaments and other events.
“As a Macon-Bibb native, I’m looking forward to joining the team at the Recreation Department,” says Bobby Walker. “I want to work with them and our tennis and pickleball communities to bring these two great sports to the entire county and provide activities that will help people lead healthier lives.”
As the Interim Tennis Manager, he will
- develop entry-level programs for adults and youth;
- collaborate with the Macon Area Tennis Association (MATA) to expand tennis tourism at Macon-Bibb facilities;
- work toward a plan to monetize pickleball tournaments and increase tourism in the area;
- form partnerships to implement tennis and pickleball programs for underserved populations;
- and more.
“I will spend the first two weeks meeting with stakeholders, customers, and players so we can develop a plan to move forward and grow the sports,” Bobby Walker adds.
According to Visit Macon, tennis has a major impact on the local economy. In 2018 and 2019, 17 tournaments resulted in an economic impact of $7,877,364, with $174,156 being collected in local sales tax and $96,486 being collected in hotel/motel sales tax. Visit Macon is also able to track the number of people visiting from outside the region. In 2019, for example, nearly 24,000 people came from more than 75 miles away to play in or watch tournaments at the John Drew Smith Tennis Center.
“We know our youth and adult sports programs draw people here from all over the region and state,” says Robert Walker, Recreation Department Director. “I’m looking forward to seeing the growth in that thanks to expanded tennis and pickleball programs and tournaments.”
Prior to joining the Recreation Department, Bobby Walker served as the Director of Tournament Operations at the Rome Tennis Center, Director of Tennis and Co-Manager at the Lake Charles Racquet Club, and Tennis Manager for the Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority. He is a former USTA Southern Professional of the Year and is a graduate of Mercer University having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Master of Business Administration.
He is being hired after the resignation of the former Tennis Manager. During this interim period, the Recreation Department will work with Bobby Walker and the tennis community to evaluate programming and tournaments county-wide to determine the best path forward that will give more people access to these exciting sports.