Further to the responses to the tennis section survey in April 2015, the Tennis Committee would like to report on the actions that have been taken in response to the comments, suggestions and criticisms received.
One comment that was made by 10% of the respondents was that the club had become too orientated to junior members needs at the expense of adults.
It is true that over the last two years the junior membership has grown as a result of a deliberate strategy to increase the size of this section of the club and to align us with LTA policies. There is a solid commercial logic behind the policy, as the net coaching contribution is now approaching £70,000 per annum. In addition there is considerable indirect benefit to the club in terms of bar and catering sales; our public profile within Hampshire and the fact that the juniors bring parents, a number of whom have become adult members.
The indoor court usage for coaching is in line with the plans when the indoor court project was launched and importantly the coaching activity is guaranteed income, no matter what the weather, helping to form the backbone of income needed to make the indoor courts a success.
Inevitably the increase in the number of junior players has created some pressures on courts and other facilities, so we have no plan to increase numbers any further unless extra facilities can be found elsewhere. We will also look at ways to improve indoor court availability where possible.
The committee is always looking at ways to better balance the needs of all tennis members and there is a commitment to focus on adult members and to improve the product for them over the next year.
The survey produced a dead heat between synthetic grass and clay as the preferred surface for these courts. We will be working on the final choice over the next few months, and welcome any more views on this subject. The courts will be replaced during 2016.
There is to be a new team notice board in the club house (adjacent to the box leagues) which will have team news and notices.
A pre-season team list will be made available so that the selection pools for each team are visible, these lists are informal and constantly changing, so members are invited to contact the captains to discuss and make themselves known.
These will in future be published on the new club website and can be printed at reception on request. The most recent minutes are already there for viewing.
The club is constantly trying to manage regular communications to members as effectively as possible by refining the way they are targeted to member groups. As a result of feedback in the survey there is a plan to provide a monthly printed digest of club news for those who do not have email or web access.
A new web site is currently under construction to improve appearance and ease of access to the site, this should be launched before the end of the year.
We will work to improve and develop mix-in facilities. There are currently mix-ins on Friday evening and Thursday morning. We are looking at the possibility of an additional mid-week evening mix-in for summer 2016, perhaps followed by burgers and hot dogs on the terrace.
Alison is busy developing a series of social tennis events aimed at adults and families.
A significant refurbishment of the bar and reception area has been completed and feedback from members and visitors has been very good to date. The refurbishment has been backed up with new menus and working practices and we have engaged an external training programme for all bar and catering staff.
Our annual tournament will be further promoted as an all-inclusive event to appeal to all standards of player by using sectional draws. We really want to engage better with our female members who have not entered the event in the last two years and to encourage their increased participation.
As with any limited resource it is not possible to keep everyone happy all the time. Block bookings in the winter are a very popular with members, but do make it difficult to find courts to book for ladder matches etc. As a result of this feedback, this winter we have kept some peak evening session indoor courts available for booking, but you will need to be quick as they will get snapped up!
This year’s survey provided a lot of really useful information and suggestions, we hope that members will see the fruits of these over the next 12 months, but please speak to any of us if you have any ideas or suggestions.
Mark Finlayson Chairman
Judy Slaney Ladies’ Captain
Mike Johnson Men’s Captain
Alison Beard Tennis Development
Matt Crouch Management representative