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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] What's the minimum number of courts required for a viable Club?

From: Gavin Wilson <>
Date: Wed 6 Mar 2002 16:41:40 +0000

Membership of our local tennis club has been going down for some time now.
I used to blame it on personality differences on the management committee,
but now I suspect it may be due to the number of courts we have available
during the year.

During Fall/Winter/Spring we have just four courts available. For five
months during the Summer there are a further six grass courts.
Until a few years ago, we also had access to a further three all-weather
courts at a neighbouring school. The Club thrived when it had these seven
courts available throughout the year -- often we would have more than the
28 members needed to fill them up with doubles games.

But now when we have only four during the Winter period, the number of
active members has fallen to well below the 16 you ideally want for four
doubles matches. 'Fixed Fours' are still popular, but our club has
traditionally thrived on 'Social Tennis' -- which means you play a set,
then mix in with different partners and opponents.

Superficially for Winter play, it seems that when we had seven courts, we
didn't have enough of them, but now we have only four, we have too many.

But underneath, there is some sort of critical mass dynamics at work:
people aren't turning up for Social Tennis because they don't believe
others will turn up. Maybe four courts just aren't enough, under our
mix-in rules, to give players a satisfactory afternoon's tennis. Maybe the
skill levels of our club are too broad, which means that members are forced
to mix in with other members of such a different level that they end up
having an unsatisfactory set.

So is a four-court tennis club viable under our 'Social Tennis' regime?

If not, then we have the opportunity of digging up some of the grass courts
and converting them to all-weather.

Gavin Wilson

Received on Wed Mar 06 2002 - 21:49:03 CST

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