Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Ala., recently underwent a multi-phase improvement project that included a significant upgrade of its racquet facilities. “The overwhelming desire and need was to expand the building to offer more outdoor covered seating with views of all courts,” says General Manager/CEO David Porter of the mission set by a member focus group.
To offer more non-golf amenities to its membership, Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Ala., recently underwent a multi-phase improvement project that included a significant upgrade of its racquet facilities.
“The overwhelming desire and need was to expand the building to offer more outdoor covered seating with views of all courts,” says General Manager/CEO David Porter of the mission set by a member focus group. While construction was due to take place in 2020, the pandemic caused a rescheduling to the first quarter of 2021, and the project was expected to be completed by the end of July.
In the interim, the club went forward with refurbishing its ten existing Har-Tru courts. An outdoor area, designed with concrete flooring, contains a firepit with six lounging chairs fashioned from wicker and outfitted with durable cushions. Metal dining tables and chairs, selected for their ability to withstand Alabama’s high humidity, provide additional seating.
“We are evaluating the demand for putting up a seasonal bubble over a bank of three courts,” adds Porter.
“The overwhelming desire and need were to expand [our racquet facility] to offer more outdoor covered seating with views of all courts. We are [also] evaluating the demand for putting up a seasonal bubble over a bank of three courts.” —David Porter, General Manager/CEO, Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Ala.
In addition to solid membership usage, the racquet facilities serve as a training site for an elite group of high-school players. Each season, Greystone typically produces two students who earn a Division 1 tennis scholarship.
The club is also batting around the idea of offering badminton at its facility. Porter characterizes badminton as a “very challenging sport that in America has been viewed as a backyard and beach game. [But] it is an Olympic sport that we feel can differentiate us from other clubs.”
While Greystone’s revamped racquet facilities have been unveiled during the pandemic’s downswing, the layout remains conducive to social distancing, with six feet spaced out between each set of lounge chairs and dining tables. “Comfortable furniture that is spaced out was a priority, because we have now seen a situation with COVID-19 that can possibly return at some time,” Porter notes.
Greystone planned to host an official grand opening for its upgraded court space during the first week of August 2021 for all members and a select group of prospective members, including an exhibition event with club pros playing against local pros, along with complimentary food and beverages and live music.
Even before that unveiling, the renovated racquet space was already making an impression on the club’s membership. Greystone’s ladies’ tennis league saw a 30 percent increase over the last year, from 90 to 126 players, reports Director of Tennis Kristijan Mitrovski. “We are seeing ladies staying at the club after their matches, sitting at our new tables, where before they did not spend as much time following their games,” Mitrovski adds.
Later in August, Greystone planned to break ground on its Lakeside Amenities Center, complete with four pickleball courts, a basketball court and beach volleyball court. And the basketball court was being designed to include an overlay of pickleball lines so four additional courts could be created as needed, using portable nets.
Situated across from the fairway of one of Greystone’s golf course holes, the Amenities Center is also intended to provide some synergy between the different sports. “Our long-term plan is to potentially reroute that hole, so we can bring aquatics, fitness and racquets all together,” Porter says.