Thursday, May 2, 2013

Top 10 things to look for in a good tennis club

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Legit Tennis Fanatic

New to the area or need a change a scenery? Finding a new tennis club can be a daunting process, especially when pinpointing the best one around. So for your convenience we compiled a top 10 list of what to look for when searching for a new place to play.

1. Staff/Employee outlook - Is the staff friendly, attentive, informative on tennis? Check for newsletters and if they're up-to-date with social media to see how they communicate with their members. These people are the face of the company and are a good representative of the club's goals and management.  

2. Atmosphere - How does it feel when you walk in the door? Is it family-oriented? A club for recreational play? Or maybe you find that it's hard-core competitive. Whatever the reason, we think one of the most important aspects of choosing a club is feeling like you're home.

3. Cleanliness/Updated - When you walk into a club, you'll see first hand if the club appears properly maintained. Are garbage cans emptied on the court or insulation hanging from the ceiling? How updated is the building? Do you need the sleek look of marble under your feet as you enter the club house or are you comfortable with floral wallpaper that may or may not have been from the 80s? Keep in mind every club is at a different cycle for their age.

4. Court service/Lighting - There are numerous kinds of surfaces out there (ie. clay, har-tru, carpet, etc.), but the most common you'll see in the US is hard court. It's important to note when the last time the courts were resurfaced, because you'll get a better bounce on your ball. As for lighting, you obviously don't want to play in a dimly lit facility or would hope for some lighting if you're playing outdoors at night.

5. Amenities - It's always a perk when you can find a club that offers more than just tennis such as a workout facility, racquetball, or even golf. What's great is many of these sports go hand-in-hand and can actually help improve your tennis game, however, if tennis is important to you make sure it's the forerunner of the club. Another great amenity is if the club has a fully stocked pro shop. If you show up without shoes or need a quick stringing, you'll be lucky to have access to these products within your reach.

6. Variety of tennis events for all players - Whether you're an adult beginner, someone who is looking for evening clinics, or taking your child in for a Saturday lesson, check to see if the club offers these programs and research the junior program and it's success stories.

7. Solid team of tennis professionals - How many tennis pros does the club have? Do they work as a team or on their own. Usually the type of clubs with an excellent teaching infrastructure are the ones that collaborate as a team.

8. Flexible court scheduling/hours of operation - What good is a club when you can never get a court time? If you can only play weekends, it won't help if the club books their courts for other programs or if they close early. That is why finding a club that works with your schedule is ideal.

9. Location, location, location - Close proximity, easy access, close to other stores (how many times do you find yourself at the grocery store afterward?) Take all of these into account, but we will say sometimes it's worth the extra drive for the right club.

10. Membership/court fees - Does the value speak for itself or are you willing to pay the big bucks to belong to the prestigious 'so and so' club?

Make your life easy and ask yourself, do you feel welcomed and feel a connection with the club? Because that's all that matters!

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