Club on receiving end of new faces
The Penticton Tennis Club aims to serve up more members this season.
In 2013, the PTC increased its membership from 91 to 161 and club president Ken Naylor was overwhelmed. He now has a good feeling for the 2014 season following the club’s sign-up social gathering on April 11 to attract more new members. Depending on how many current members return, he said club membership could jump to more than 200. The club is still welcoming more people.
“We are the fastest growing tennis club in B.C.,” said Naylor, who visited Tennis BC in Vancouver and was told they are impressed with their growth. “It’s refreshing. In a lot of areas in B.C. tennis membership is dwindling.”
The key highlight since the club separated from the Yacht Club and began operating on its own last year is starting a beginners’ program. Naylor said it was their first stab at it and he knows it can improve.
“We want to build a club by starting people playing. Beginners are reluctant to join clubs. Most are experienced tennis players,” said Naylor. “That’s the problem with tennis clubs. Unless you grow from the bottom by teaching new people how to play, your numbers are going to go down.”
What Naylor also noticed is after the beginners finished their free lessons, he felt “we abandoned people” by not continuing to help them improve.
“This year we are going to continue on and try to nurture those new members,” he said, adding that they will set aside Wednesday night after the free lesson and keep working with them through drills. “They form their own little beginner group too.”
Among the returning members is Lori Gillard of Naramata. She joined last year because she wanted to find people to play with and accomplished that. While sometimes the people she played with weren’t at the same level as herself, Gillard enjoyed playing.
“It was pretty good. I joined the women’s league, played women’s doubles, met lots of new people,” said Gillard, adding that she also liked the price.
One of the other things Gillard liked was that she never had problems getting on the court, as sometimes happens on public courts.
“I’m happy with it. There’s a variety of skill levels here,” she said. “This place has it all. Very nice people. Very welcoming.”
Hugo Beaumier-Martin is one of the club’s newest members. He joined after being encouraged by his friends.
“I’m always looking for something to do,” he said. “Love doing sports. May as well try some tennis.”
Beaumier-Martin has some tennis experience but said he intends to take advantage of the free lessons every Wednesday. He’s excited to play with new people and said the courts are nice. One thing he’d like to see are “more young people come out.”
Scott Horton is an avid player who loves playing because the club provides a relaxed social atmosphere. For him, it’s a good way to spend an evening or morning.
“Everyone could fit in pretty well,” he said. “Everyone gets a chance to play.”
Adel Mosly, a board director for the PTC, said the club offers a beautiful setting and is fun to be part of. Mosly said they have made an effort to be part of the community.
“We’re going to make more of an effort this year to also support beginners and novices,” said Mosly. “We want to be a bigger part of the greater community.”