🎾 WLTC - Club Court Usage Review Update 🎾

Posted by Daryl McCartney on 8 August 2019

The committee has received approximately 7 e-mails commenting on the booking system and asking for a review to be carried out. In addition several of these e mails raised points in relation to club coaching/income which, whilst factually incorrect, require a considered response.
The views of our members are both valued and of paramount importance to the committee. Indeed I have over the last 18 months actively sought to encourage dialogue and contribution, even when the subject matter has proved unpopular. 
A club that listens to its members becomes a more successful club.
Following receipt of the e-mails I refer to above, I called a meeting of the committee which was held last night. In advance of that meeting I sought representations  from those members who had contacted the club and whose original e-mails (and further responses) I circulated to the committee in advance. It is fair to say that only very limited responses were received and they  primarily related to the availability of the clay courts to particular longstanding tennis groups at times of their choice. A review of the various e-mails suggests that, unfortunately, there is no perfect solution to the issues that have been raised (if the club is to continue to grow) but the committee have given a great deal of thought to the issues at stake and now propose amending the current system as below. Perhaps I can deal with matters in the following order:
Club Coaching.
It has been suggested that the club has too many coaches and that they have too greater unfettered access to the courts. It has further  been suggested that they do not contribute financially to the clubs funds (or to the clubs culture) and that their use of the club is largely self satisfying. In fact, the coaching team provide numerous under rated benefits to the club including:

  1. They bring in circa £7,500 of additional income to the club through school clubs and holiday sessions. If we were to abandon that income stream annual fees would need to increase at a much higher rate than has been the case.
  2. They provide requested and regular coaching services for more than 35 full club members (by far the largest group demographic at the tennis club) without which membership income would be lost and we would risk, the biggest single group of members leaving the club.
  3. They provide a strong community service for juniors and Woodlea school – a prime aim of the club.
  4. They give up their time free of charge for open days, club events and master classes.
  5. Contrary to apparent beliefs coaches can give no more than 2 lessons to a player unless that player joins the club.

Club security
To ensure that all 6 courts remain available only to members of the club we will shortly fit combination locks  on all courts ( the code will remain the same ) If, notwithstanding this provision any member sees a non member playing please report into the committee.
Court booking
This is by far the most controversial issue. We have listened to the representations made and hopefully have found a compromise position which will go a long way towards satisfying all members. It is :

  1. Court 1 will been known as the designated coaching court. Patrick Gorman (Head coach) will have full booking rights for court 1 at all times. At his discretion he may make the court available to another coach. Patrick will ensure that court 1 is booked on the system. If for any reason the court is not booked by Patrick then it becomes available to any member who wants to play.
  2. All other courts are available for either “turn up and play“ or “pre booked“ tennis.
  3. There will be no preferential coaching on courts 2 to 6 inclusive after 7pm on all days save for Friday where the cut off is 7.30pm. In other words members will always have priority (over coaches)  after 7 or 7.30pm on courts 2 to 6 inclusive. If courts are free then coaches may use them after these hours but they must give up a court on demand by a member who wants to play.
  4. Courts 2 to 6 inclusive may be booked by members up to 15 days in advance using the online system. The coaching staff no longer have preferential booking terms save court 1.
  5. Club priority (for members) is set out on the club website but in short is: Club matches / Club sessions / booked courts / all others.

Having carefully considered court usage the system above appears to meet nearly all demands. Where there is the occasional flash point Patrick Gorman will use his best endeavours to accommodate a members wishes. It seems that day time play rarely brings about a conflict so it is hoped that this system will work.
In summary
Our club has in excess of 250 members all of whom have identical playing rights. I hope that in introducing the system set out above the committee has reached a compromise that benefits all,  but in recognition that these are not straightforward issues we propose to run this scheme as a pilot for 6 months and then review. At this stage I invite any constructive representations  within the next 14 days after which the new system will be implemented.
Malcolm Henke.
Chairman Woldingham Tennis Club

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Name: Daryl McCartney

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