At the April 2022 Board meeting, tennis club manager John Chanfreau asked the Board for two items, and came away with one of them.
Tennis Club Sponsored Membership Goes From 35 to 40
The tennis club has had a sponsored member program in existence for many years which allows non-Covenant members to join the tennis club. This was done primarily to enhance member experience. If only Covenant members were allowed to join, club members would have a hard time finding partners at their level to play with. You’d end up with a downward spiral of Covenant members joining other clubs to find suitable partners, leaving the tennis club bereft of members.
The other “club” that allows this is Osuna. The vast majority of horse owners there don’t reside in the Covenant.
Chanfreau asked the Board to increase the non-Covenant member pool from 35 tennis members to 40, which was granted.
Pickleball Left In The Cold
Similarly, Chanfreau asked for permission to offer 10 pickleball sponsored membership up from a current 0.
There’s some history here. Apparently, the tennis club tried asking for this a bit less than three years ago, and through three successive Board presidents (Sapp, Gallagher, and now Weber) have been trying to get on the agenda to ask for this.
Anyways, a week ago, the tennis club was informed they would finally get their agenda item. Since this was such a long time coming, the tennis club asked a couple of pickleball players to speak in support, so Muffy Walker and myself gave our endorsements as pickleball members during the member input session.
We echoed Chanfreau’s message that a useful and vibrant club needs players of all abilities, or else Covenant members will leave and join other clubs. While the pickleball club has acquired a lot of members in the last couple of years, even today it can be challenging to find an appropriate foursome to play with during the week. Court availability is never an issue, with free courts available at all times. Finally, sponsored memberships increase revenue, which is something the tennis club actually needs.
In the Board discussion, Chanfreau gave the example of Greg Sadowsky as a sponsored tennis club member. Greg is not only a top tier tennis and pickleball player, but he donates money to various tennis club programs and volunteers in the various tournaments. Clearly such members are a positive addition to the community.
Director Laurel Lemarié brought up reasons to not approve sponsored members. She mention the occasional complaints about tennis court availability during peak times (which are in the winter after school hours since daylight stops at 5pm). She also talked about a theoretical number of new players by assuming each sponsored member could invite three guests each, meaning 10 pickleball sponsored members could result in 40 new players, which is as ridiculous as saying that theoretically all the air in a room could whoosh into one corner. In practice, neither would even come close to happening.
Director Rick Sapp weighed in asking for the specific stated sponsored membership rights that pickleball sponsored members would have. For example, would these be family memberships? Couples? Chanfreau didn’t have this at the ready. Due to Sapp’s objections, the Board tabled the pickleball sponsored membership request without a vote.
I hope I am not getting “Hardie Board” vibes here, where it took five consecutive Board meetings in a row to even get a vote on allowing Hardie Board over Sapp’s objections. By the time things like this get to the Board, they really should have been vetted by staff, a Board member, someone! In a properly functioning organization, where everyone is helping everyone else accomplish things, routine objections would have been addressed before it got to a Board vote. This should have had a discussion and then vote based on Board policy, not a tabled vote because the eye’s weren’t dotted and tee’s weren’t crossed.
Hopefully with three new Board members coming on board in July, we can improve the ability to work together.
Upcoming Tennis Tournaments
Look for the RSF Pro Open that will take place May 30 through June 5. This will be a $15K men’s and woman’s tournament with USTA ranking up to 200th.
In October, they plan on running a woman’s $80K challenger and hope to have some highly ranked women play.