Pickleball may be sweeping the nation, but all racquet sports can see an uptick in member participation if the right approach is taken.
For clubs looking to expand their racquet programming, Anne Osovski, The Country Club of Rochester (N.Y.) Athletic Director, recommends incorporating members’ voices in the process.
“Great communication is the key to building the program,” she says. “It is helpful to put in place a tennis committee with members who are enthusiastic about the program and its promotion.
“Tennis mixers and socials are also a great, fun way to educate new members to the club’s racquet sports offerings,” she adds. “We host a CCR Women’s Sports EXPO in the spring, and tennis is a big component of it.”
Matt Wuller, Sea Pines Country Club’s Director of Tennis, who says Sea Pines has hosted cookouts, cornhole tournaments and even a glow-golf event on its tennis courts, recommends keeping programming fresh for members.
“Try to add variety to your programs,” he advises. “But also make sure that once you find an event that is successful, keep it in your pipeline and tweak it accordingly, to continue its success.”
At Park Ridge (Ill.) Country Club, Matt Davis, Director of Racquet Sports. is in favor of quick-hitting activities. “Clubs need to be aware of the changing demographic of players,” he says. “With the younger generation, they want activities that will give them a good workout and be enjoyable in a short period of time.
“Most tennis players play for an hour or so, and then move on,” he notes. “And with paddle, you can get a solid workout in an hour, which is amazing on a small court.”