Show cover of Beyond The Baselines

Beyond The Baselines

Management Consultancy from Experts in the Country Club Industry

Tracks

All In The Family
Hospitality runs in the family. Alexandria LaRocca, Director of Member Engagement at The Beach Point Club in Mamaroneck, New York, and Matt Assumma, who served at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, join the podcast. And, they’ve known each other for years, and we mean for years, since they were kids. Alexandria and Matt are both offspring of well-known and highly regarded club managers, having grown up in the industry. Their respective backgrounds highlight how important both human resources and hospitality are in the private members club industry. Ocean Reef Club And Gaining Membership Through Visitation Matt spent eight years at one of the leading clubs in the country, Ocean Reef. He notes how he worked his way up through the ranks from banqueting and ended up working in the membership department, where he would flag visitors who may have visited the club more than twice in five years, but who had not expressed an interest in gaining membership. Membership plays such an important role at any club through events, such as outings and member guests, but for a iconic club on the tip of Key Largo, perhaps new members can be even more significant. Ocean Reef, although a private club, can be seen as a destination with both a conference center and an inn on property. Matt notes the friction that can be caused between hosting events, attracting new members and the tradition of a small, fishing village which was the dream of its founder and present-day members, according to Assuma. Member Communications LaRocca notes that although email is very strong, different messages require different timings and different avenues of communication. Tennis, food and beverage, and timing of delivery all affect how communications are received by her elite and private membership at Beach Point Club. She realizes that with the numerous clubs in the area, a director of membership really is forced to know the entire brand – not just the activities at the club – but the brand that is the club’s identity. That identity separates the club from its many competitors, especially in the Westchester/Fairfield county areas of New York and Connecticut. The Pros and Cons of Living On Property Assumma lived on campus at Ocean Reef for a year before he, for the first time in his life, commuted from a property off campus during his time in the industry. Housing can attract great talent, especially since many may be on J1 or H2B visas, states LaRocca. But, there are times when living on property can be difficult. Your thought process may be that you can never be “off duty” or a member might find you late at night as they might need their clubs for an early-morning flight, as has happened to Assumma. In looking back at their respective careers, it's clear that perhaps the hardest job one might have in the private members club arena is running a dining room. With that said, both these individuals started doing that as teenagers working with their fathers, and food and beverage is clearly a life-long love as well as a wonderful way to learn the club industry from the inside out.
46:24 4/1/24
Super Seasonal Secrets From A Leading Director
Two major seasonal jobs have just one director: Brett Gaede. From his first ever, post-college professional position at the renowned Nantucket Yacht Club, Gaede has made New England and Florida his seasonal homes, and follows his members, and the sun, up and down the East Coast. With his two director roles, he lives with water views year-round, and has views over the Atlantic almost two thousand five hundred miles apart, depending on the calendar. Gaede is the director in the summer in Maine on the remote Mount Desert Island at The Harbor Club. A very private club, hidden in the gem of a village called Seal Harbor, made famous by the ultra-private Rockefeller family back in the early 1900s. At his winter post, where he serves the membership as director at the elite Hillsboro Club, just outside Ft. Lauderdale, Gaede works with an older demographic and a club that is etched in tradition with its tennis and croquet professionals in all-white clothing from head to toe. Pine Trees In The Summer, Pine Trees In The Winter Famed Testa's Restaurant in Palm Beach, Florida in the winter had a sister restaurant also on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Nick Testa Senior formed a motto: Pine trees in the summer, palms in the winter. That's exactly how Gaede thinks as he spends evenings enjoying the scenery of Acadia National Park in the summer and views of Hillsboro Inlet in the Broward County, Florida through the winter months. Gaede could have used that motto to describe his life over the past 15 years. Funnily enough, Testa's in Bar Harbor is just minutes away and in Palm Beach just about 30 miles from his winter nest, as the proverbial crow flies. As the director that has "racquets, and will travel," Gaede takes us through his tips of creating a great seasonal program. Housing is crucial to help find and retain great instructors and assistants at such "destination" clubs. Second is the meal plan or benefit. Third comes, perhaps, the commission as the millennial employees look for comfort in not only their food, but their life and living and having a work/life balance. Tournaments Are Losing Popularity - Clinics The New Club Competition Gaede has seen trends away from tournaments to live ball and pro-fed clinics, especially at Seal Harbor. With an older demographic at Hillsboro and a more transient membership in Florida with rooms at the inn as part of the club, he feels that the trend will soon arrive in Florida too. It may already have. He is packing all courts at both clubs each morning with Cardio, Liveball and 105 and attendance over 40 on a daily basis. Tournament entries are weaker each year, and he explains his thinking as to why pro-fed clinics are here to stay as the leading weekend entertainment. Have a listen to perhaps one of the best seasonal directors in the country. He says he's happy where he is now. We aren't surprised: he has two of the best seasonal jobs in the nation. Brett Gaede on the Beyond The Baselines Podcast.
47:18 3/10/24
Year-In, Year-Out, And Oddly, Year-Round At A Canadian Golf Club
It's not easy to engage members twelve months a year in the cold, frigid air of Canada when your only amenity is golf. Ash Chadha, general manager at Glencoe Golf And Country Club, is bringing members to the club in bigger and bigger numbers through various methods, even in the dark winter months. Offering a warm welcome through a cold winter is just how he does it. Glencoe, established in 1984, was an outlier of its sister club, the downtown city club, Glencoe, in Alberta, Calgary. The idea of being open twelve months a year had started just before Covid. As the city boundaries grew toward the 45 holes of golf – the club boasts just golf and food and beverage – and Covid created a bigger demand, opening in the heart of winter was different. Ash speaks with the experience of being a long-serving club manager with over 15 years of senior management work under his belt. For eight years he was a department head – a food and beverage manager - and his work as a general manager is often seen through the lens of his department heads, a position in which he personally learned to thrash out ideas before presenting them to upper management. Chadha has brought in comfort food – burgers, chili, and fish and chips – for the membership throughout the winter and with the ever-popular NFL, even in Canada, on the televisions and fires lit in the fireplaces, he keeps his membership engaged. He’s brough in hiking, ice skating and other wintry events to keep the members engaged. “That’s all we really want as managers, isn't it?,” asks Chadha. Then he answers his own question: “Members using the club in some capacity.” Even in the cold of a Canadian winter at a golf-only country club. Visibility Is Crucial For Management Chadha admits that the year-round effort does put pressure on the staff. Ash holds weekly staff meetings, along with one-on-one meetings with the department heads on a regular basis. Visibility, he says, is just as important for senior management with the team as it is with membership. However, the key objective, he says, is not to interfere with their specialty or their side of business, and as a general manager the main task is to provide support and be available to staff and membership. Club Governance Can Easily Be Inherently Conflicted Nominating committees at Glencoe have largely filled an administrative role in the past. More and more, many clubs are moving to nominating committees that are actually soliciting for members to fill voids on the board. A shift to this more business like practice might take a generational shift, says Chadha. It takes trust and transparency, Chadha believes, as members aren’t always trusting of the board to choose their own successors, or even a nominating committee to perform that role. Chadha says it may be easier and wiser at this point if a group of members from outside club governance bodies nominate a particular individual. Bylaws and policies also present a big challenge in that the member perception is that the board really owns the opportunity to choose their replacements, and that makes it rather hard for the membership to accept a nomination. “I know the big firms like KKW and GGA are promoting that clubs be run like a business, but from a corporate governance standpoint, the challenge in our business is there is an inherent conflict between the boards, and the membership, and the non-for-profit institutions they are responsible for.” Learn at both the day-to-day and the long-term strategic levels from this industry leader who caters to over one thousand principal members and 3,200 individuals at Glencoe Golf and Country Club.
41:52 2/22/24
The PGA Show: Clothing Surpasses Woods, Irons and Putters
This could be the best conference in our industry. It may be the biggest. It was the largest, according to the organizers, in over twenty years. The PGA Merchandise Show reached new heights this last week of January, 2024 with more vendors, more club managers and more industry leaders. And, we at BeyondTheBaselines.com were there to cover it all: the conference, the speakers, and the vendors. From new releases on the golf, tennis, pickleball, and the retail fashion side, the conference offers those in the club management and private members club industry a chance to meet, greet and learn from each other in ways that were probably unimaginable twenty years ago. With educational seminars, social gatherings both inside and outside Orlando's Orange County Convention Center, and vendors lining up to sell to the industry's buyers, the PGA Show is second to none in the industry. We sat down with Jennifer Gelhaus, the newly appointed Director of Racquets at the famed Oyster Harbors Club in Osterville, MA and discussed just how the golf and tennis industries are similar but, also, quite different in respect to marketing, communication and retail. Join us as we have a coffee in the lounge just outside the enormous exhibition halls which had hundreds of rows and thousands of vendors. Where will this growth in fashion and retail, pushing the booths of the tools of golf and the nine irons to the side, leave the industry? Live at The PGA Merchandise Show - we have it, and you, covered.
19:19 1/29/24
Destination Golf At The Tree Farm
Already a Top 100 course in the nation, The Tree Farm was a vision of a PGA Tour Player back when it was a deep, dark and dense tree farm owned by a timber company. Looking to fully open its doors in September 2024, The Tree Farm is hoping to become not only a destination, but is also hoping to change how we might envision a golfing experience. The dream of PGA Tour player Zac Blair, The Tree Farm, a private club in Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina, is just twenty-five minutes away from the revered Augusta National. Although Blair may have had some of the same desires as Bobby Jones had when he designed Augusta, Blair does not envision a major championship at The Tree Farm - he just wants the members to have fun and enjoy their game of golf. Simple. Just like the club's logo. Zac's dream started back in his native Utah, but when he was down in South Carolina with friends, he saw the property and started digging in - not earth - but his heels. He and renowned club manager, Eric Dietz, have set up a club to fully open in September, 2024. And, they have both gotten their hands dirty in creating a project that is cutting edge for the golf and club industries. Tom Doak, famed for his minimalist style, was perhaps the perfect choice to route the holes on the property that Blair wants to keep as the focus. Doak already had six courses in the Top 100 and studied under Pete Dye, while perhaps his biggest influencer was Alistair McKenzie. McKenzie of course studied under Bobby Jones. Blair then brought in his good friend Kye Goalby to finish the design - Kye had worked with Doak previously on several projects and was the best choice for finishing the ultimate design, says Blair. With 70 founding members, raising $35 million to help jump-start the project, Dietz and Blair know all 320 members. The two men are already well on their way to filling the 370 memberships at what will surely become one of golf's most desirable destinations. Blair has interviewed each and every member while Dietz welcomes them to the club, a club that is not steeped in tradition like past clubs he has managed, but is warm and welcoming to all levels of golfer. The Tree Farm revolves just around golf - there's no other real amenity. The clubhouse - the architect is a personal friend of Blair - is being designed and outfitted with the surroundings and natural, local environment in mind. The lodging is being built around an idea - Blair and Dietz call it "a lunch to lunch experience" - 24 hours, 2 rounds, 2 lunches, and 1 dinner to be enjoyed before departure. This idea of a course as a destination drawing members from miles away for a day or two, or even more, is a growing trend in the industry. With Streamsong outside of Tampa perhaps as the first of this kind, developers and financiers are finding large tracts of interesting land and building courses as destinations for day-trippers through to those looking for weekend getaways and week-long stays. Golf in Scotland, say at a Machrihanish or even further out like a Machrie, may have long before been destinations - and Blair and Dietz are using that model created long ago here in South Carolina, about as far from the Isle of Islay as one can get. "The course should be the star," says Blair. It's the course as to why people will want to come and visit. At a full-length of 6,900 yards and par 71 from the back tees, it's open and accessible for every level of golfer to enjoy and play. Listen in as Eric and Zac take us through their initial conversations and how they are creating a global destination from the land of an old timber company.
43:00 1/15/24
Member Relations At The Heart Of Our Industry
Isabella Graf moved to the United States from her native Germany early in life. She may be a shining example not only of proverbial "American Dream," but also of the experience and education available in the private club industry, where she is fast becoming one of its leaders. Chosen to be a regional leader for the United States Professional Tennis Association and Head Professional at The Landings in Fort Myers, Florida, Graf is looking to become a mentor in her own right after learning from so many. As a graduate of the Professional Tennis Management (PTM) program at Methodist University, and with three internships under her belt, one for each summer through her collegiate years, Graf believed, she was well prepared for the industry. That was until she realized that member relations, not teaching, is at the heart of our industry. Those internships at the clubs, she says, were crucial to her development just as much as her work in the classroom and understanding stringing techniques. Standards and character are what Isabella looks for when hiring. She realized early in her career that these were the two traits required of a leader in the hospitality business, and through her own self-reflection and discipline, raised the bar for herself, personally. And now, she looks to these traits when raising the bar for a racquets program and while hiring to fill positions to bring that program to a "best-in-class" status. Graf is going places and understands the industry far better than many of her more senior colleagues. Listen in as she explains how she looks to be a mentor in her own way, not just to other female teaching professionals, but to all in the business of member relations.
41:36 1/5/24
Innovation Is Key To Success In 2024
by Ed Shanaphy, CMAA We welcome in 2024 here at BeyondTheBaselines.com with a renewed vigor and an eye to a bright future in the private members club industry. Although 2024 will have its challenges as we head toward an election the likes of which we may have never or will never see again, we can take solace in that the private club industry is in a strong position to move forward, with both member and private funding readily available. Post-pandemic normality has returned and waiting lists are shrinking across the industry as clubs look to renew their relationships with their current membership. This new normality will require innovation in connection with new programming, technology and communication with both members and staff. Marketing, through top-notch hospitality, and branding along with brand loyalty, will have to be at the top of the agenda to attract new members and younger families to the membership rolls. Legacy memberships and reaching out to the community will be imperative. Recharging Membership Through Charity, Reinventing Tournaments and Events Clubs will have to reinvent themselves within the community, possibly breaking that barrier where they are viewed as elite and privileged. Through community outreach, charitable giving and strategic fundraising and well-chosen business outings, clubs will use many methods to serve a need to source possible new members. Tournaments and events might have to be reworked over the next few years As families travel more, having lost those Covid years to travel the globe, tournaments such as three-day golf member-guests and club championships might have to be shortened, in both time and formats. As we watch tennis changing formats and pickleball matches short and fast, we might want to think about how we can get through events in hours rather than days. Communications Are Critical As an industry, we will have to look at upgrading and prioritizing daily communication with members to bring them back to the clubs, clubs where they spent much of their time during the pandemic. We can't allow members to feel blasé, or even bored, with what in effect was their "home away from home" during the pandemic. Daily text messages, or pushes from the club's cellphone app, or even an email with course and court conditions might have to be conjoined with an anecdote about the club or one of it's member or staff, will be a necessity. Thank You As We Head Into The New Year As we head into January, 2024, I would like to thank all my guests on the Beyond The Baselines Podcast over the past years. We were just awarded our 50th episode badge and I couldn't have fathomed that we would have over 1,000 downloads for episodes and over 12,000 listeners. Please have a listen as I thank our team and partner clubs, and the road our work and consultancy has paved for me. As we look to the future, it's always important to learn the lessons from the past. What have I personally learned from doing our company's podcast? I discuss why we established Beyond The Baselines and where we feel the industry is heading and where we have come as an industry over the past fifteen years. I'd love to hear from any and all of you in 2024. Feel free to reach out to me via email at consultants@beyondthebaselines.com and please let us know your thoughts on the podcast and the industry. To all our friends, colleagues, partners and staff, Happy New Year! Ed Shanaphy is the President of SBW Associates, Inc. Through its management consultancy arm, BeyondTheBaselines.com, Ed has worked with clubs on both sides of the Atlantic, including Wianno Club in Osterville, MA and The Beach Club in Palm Beach, FL. He's served as President of Blackheath Rugby and Lawn Tennis Club in London, England and is and has been a member of over a dozen private members clubs. Before his entrance into the private members club industry, Ed served as CEO and Managing Director for nineteen years for Haysbridg...
08:55 1/1/24
Burning Desire For Perfection Defines Winged Foot’s Retired Manager As He Climbs An Apogee
Colin Burns had only 4.5 years of experience in hospitality when he applied for the club manager’s position at Winged Foot, one of the most storied private golf clubs in the nation, if not the world. And, after an eight-month search process, he was selected as the club’s next general manager – all 31 years ago when Colin had just crossed the line into his thirties. He recalls the president of the club asking him if Colin weren’t a tad young for the job. Colin replied: It’s not a permanent condition. As we watch a generation of these long-serving club managers move into retirement or consulting – in addition to Colin, we lost Brian Kroh just this month at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach, Florida – we are left with a legacy from which we can all learn. Colin’s experience is second to none. He managed the US Open during the height of Covid. Five full years of planning all going down the drain as he had to work with the Governor of New York and plan the tournament without spectators as Bryson DeChambeau put his indelible mark on the sport. Now as he joins executive search firm GGA, Colin discusses how every club has a different environment and that search committees, managers and search firms should understand the club’s culture first before trying to match a candidate to the club. Do Things with People, Not to Them If you really desire a quality organization you should do things with people, not to them. Burns has put this as his central motif throughout his career. And, with that teamwork sentiment, Colin points out that the hierarchy of a private members club staff doesn’t always equate to salary levels. The director of golf, tennis, squash, or even agronomy, may indeed be the highest paid member of staff at many clubs. And what’s even more meaningful to club staff members than base compensation? Housing is top of Colin’s list and finds it the top of his staff members’ list as well. Retiring To a Zenith at Apogee And finally, Apogee means zenith or the highest point of development – and Colin’s new project is certainly a zenith of physical land development and a highlight of a continuing, outstanding career. Originally named COO for an incredible project based in Hobe Sound, Florida, now senior advisor, Colin is truly excited about Apogee. It’s a three-course extravaganza – or as he calls it “Streamsong on Steroids.” Designers Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner, Mike Davis and Tom Fazio and Kyle Phillips have teamed up with financial backing from Dolphins owner Steve Ross. Colin takes us through the plans and the vastness of this incredible project, and how this team is betting on South Florida moving up to Martin County in the very near future beyond Jupiter and toward sleepy Stuart.
58:36 12/12/23
Live From The PGA: McEnroe Brought Me Back To Tennis, Coaching and Teaching
Our first in a series of live podcasts, celebrated ATP Tour coach and director of racquets, known to his intimates as Van, our colleague and friend Allan Van Nostrand joins the BeyondTheBaselines.com podcast. You Might As Well Win Van Nostrand says, "If you're going to be on court, you might as well win." He took that coaching mentality to his students and he brought it to, what is really his third career, the country club setting. As a beloved director of tennis at his childhood club Southward Ho, where his father had been director before him, he served that membership loyally for over 15 years on the South Shore of Long Island. Now, serving on the North Shore as director of racquets at Huntington Crescent Club, Van Nostrand lets his management skills, rather than his playing skills, win. A highly skilled player, Allan this year, for the first time in six years, played in front of his membership. He takes pride in his tennis game, but he might take even more pride in how he manages his department and how he is a part of the fabric of the club and his membership. Transparency and Flexibility Help With A Club's Personality Van Nostrand realizes there are daily challenges from an elite membership. He monitors his professionals daily as he serves up to seven or eight courts across a clinic. Allan feels that expectations have changed in the private members club industry over the past 30 years, both for the staff and the membership. Membership wants more, whether it’s in regard to the new racquet sports like pickleball and padel, or simply in terms of service levels. Transparency in dealing with professionals is key: managing your staff’s expectations, their revenues, their work, all helps in the long run through a seasonal or year-round program. Van Nostrand may have learned his trade at elite clubs and here in the podcast shares some of his experiences at the famed Jupiter Island Club, but he came back to tennis from a position on Wall Street when Patrick McEnroe asked him to be his coach on the ATP Tour. Ten years later and after Allan asked Patrick to be his best man who ended up being on the road with the Davis Cup, Allan moved into the private members club arena and Patrick took his talents to the captaincy of the Davis Cup team and to TV commentary. Join us in the lobby of the PGA Resort with famed director of racquets, Allan Van Nostrand.
38:41 12/6/23
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
How do you make a private members club a destination? Aaron James, one of the leading club managers in our industry, believes it's all about creating a sense of community. His experience at facilities from the global Club Med to Atlanta's Cherokee Town and Country Club forced him to realize that member service is key to creating a destination. The Country Club of Asheville, one of the oldest and most established clubs in North Carolina and the nation, is now the focus of James's efforts, where he has been general manager for the past year. With 650 members and $1.3 million in food and beverage and 25,000 rounds of golf per annum, Country Club of Asheville is a large club. Owned by McConnell Golf, an active holding company with sixteen properties in its portfolio, the Country Club of Asheville is a leading club in terms of golf and hospitality. McConnell Golf, although based upon an initial love for golf courses and Donald Ross's final design in North Carolina at Raleigh Country Club, has created a stable of elite country clubs based on hospitality. Their quarterly magazine, located here, shows a passion for golf and private members clubs rarely seen at such a high level. McConnell golf hosts the PGA Tour's tournament The Wyndham but focuses on its members and families. A member of Asheville has reciprocity with 16 clubs and courses across the Southeastern United States. The Statistic Behind Community Seventy percent of members who resign from a club are not engaged, whether it's LA Fitness or an elite golf clubs says the young general manager. James spends time in the restaurant introducing members to each other and says the bar is a tool for maintaining a social connection and is the most social part of the entire club. You could almost say the club's bar is like the TV Show, Cheers, where "Everybody Knows Your Name." Just like Sam behind the bar in the fictional Cheers knew every regular, so should the club manager who is key: he or she is at the center of building a community. James is still working on how he will grow a program introducing new members into the coterie of friendships that comprise the current and established membership. Quarterly new member events are on his agenda, even though he already has an onboarding program for every new member. A Changing Menu Every Two Weeks Asheville's head chef changes the menu twice a month. Every two weeks James faces a new menu, with the best-selling regular items but adding new items. That's quite a challenge for any food and beverage staff, but James says both his membership and the staff are attuned to the bi-monthly change. From his background in and love for health and fitness to his passion for member service, James is creating a destination at Country Club of Asheville, where everybody knows your name. "You've got to have that type of personality that brings people together," says James in summary. Come and have a listen to better understand his philosophy and some of his secrets behind his success.
47:18 11/13/23
Augusta Comes To Miami: Creating The Experience Which Breeds Loyalty
Imagine forming a global conference from the ground up. And a new breed of conference at that. One which encompasses what we know as the entire racquet sport industry, not just tennis, but pickleball, padel, racquetball, squash and even ping pong! "The player of the future might have a racquet in one hand and a paddle in the other,"states Robyn Duda, chief executive and co-founder behind RacquetX, the racquet conference to be held in Miami in late March. Duda's entrepreneurship and marketing experience has brought new headlines to the industry: "Nothing Can Squash The Popularity Of Squash" and "The Anatomy of Experience." How do you start a brand new conference? Duda goes through a list of ideas that she “throws against a wall to see if they stick.” From creating and then “gating” an industry trends report, to organically creating mailing lists, she’s trying them all. Duda has gone out and networked and formed industry partnerships between her creation, RacquetX, and professional associations and companies. With those connections, Duda is pushing TheRacquetX in front of people through content, advertising, and social media channels. The Anatomy Of Experience Creating an experience that is over the top to create a memorable experience is something that Duda believes that The Masters in Augusta possesses. Duda desires TheRacquetX to be a similar experience and memory. She believes there is profit in loyalty and that many for-profit businesses often neglect that the experience creates loyalty, which in turn keeps prices low for the consumer and creates profit. Comparing the experience to The Masters in Augusta, known for its grandeur and tradition, suggests a high standard that TheRacquetX aims to achieve. This level of ambition can indeed set the conference apart and create a memorable and valuable experience for all attendees. TheRacquetX can be found at TheRacquetX.com and is slated for March 24 through March 26, 2024 in Miami, Florida. Duda has formed a partnership with the Miami Open, and Monday night at the Open will be RacquetX Night. All tickets are merged and consumers can visit both the stadium and the conference hall in South Beach. Get ready for an inauguration that will see consumers meeting industry executives, and interesting and rare occurrence.
41:26 10/27/23
Building Blocks: Pickle, Padel, & Paddle
Eric Loftus was there as a businessman through the past decade as tennis grew in the Northeast, and in New England, in particular. He's been building pickleball courts throughout the region and has seen that sport rise almost as fast as slam of a whiffle ball. Now, he is hoping to be there for the boom that will be the new sport invading our shores from Europe: Padel. He believes the sun is only just rising over the future growth of padel. With his high school mate, Loftus built an empire through tennis court construction. Working with country and tennis clubs and private residences, Loftus has crisscrossed New England and the northeast in search of new spaces for tennis, and running tracks, provided for the other segment of his clientele: educational institutions and public facilities. He knows the market for courts and tracks, from the clay courts of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, to the tracks and concrete of Providence and Springfield. Padel Is Far Different From Pickleball But now, he's looking at Padel. Loftus believes that, long term, padel rather than pickleball may be the sport to usurp the grip that tennis has on its racquet competitors. He even sees a possibility of padel joining forces with tennis, say, at the US Open in Flushing Meadows. What's interesting about his view is that, unlike how many regard pickleball, he doesn't view padel as an opponent trying to take replace tennis courts and kill off his main business of building tennis courts. He sees padel as an addition. Country clubs are going in circles, says Loftus. He calls it the "wild wild west" is the current state of play with padel court construction. Clubs are watching what investors are doing with the sport and promotion. While private equity team up with racquet sport enthusiasts to join forces and investigate various ways to house and build padel courts, Loftus is left holding the figurative shovel until the nod is given. Once he receives the "ok" he can import the structures from Spain and start to add to the 350 courts already here in the States. Finally, it might be time to invest in those old red-brick mercantile and textile factory buildings in New England from New Bedford to New London and inland along the rivers like the Housatonic and the Connecticut. Loftus is always looking up, as he has to find ceilings over 24 feet. Come and have a listen and maybe you'll be raising the roof!
42:18 10/12/23
Is Tennis Still A Sport For Just The Elite?
Tennis and golf are two sports central to all country clubs. With such a concentration of players and spectators emanating from the private members clubs, is it that tennis is still inaccessible to many? We ask this question with famed writer Amisha Savani, the co-author to The People's Wimbledon. How the media and contributors views tennis, both at the major tournaments and at the private members club, is so important to our club industry. Last year we brought on the podcast the publisher of Racquet Magazine and this summer we recorded a conversation with one of the leading British writers covering tennis: Amisha Savani. As this is a rather timeless piece, we thought we’d bring it out as we head into Autumn with the memories of Summer 2023 in our mind’s eye. Amisha is a regular contributor to Courts Magazine, and recently has written a book, The People’s Wimbledon – a coffee table book. "It’s aimed at 'the people' " she says, priced right for all to enjoy. She believes that Wimbledon is for the people. Discussed are the differences between the four major tournaments – the romance of the French Open, the tradition of Wimbledon, and the exuberance of New York’s US Open. There have been so many changes to the the majors: roofs, ticket prices, alcohol policies, and where we position tournament play within the tennis and private members club industry.
54:40 9/18/23
Extraordinary Marketing For Junior Tennis
Jesse Gotlib, having served as Director of Junior Tennis at one of New England's most elite clubs, has brought his learnings to the public sector and the inner cities of Eastern Massachusetts. After five years in the private club industry at Sippican Tennis Club in Marion, Massachusetts, Gotlib set out on his own to bring tennis to the inner cities of the port towns on Buzzards Bay along the South Coast of Massachusetts. Jesse Gotlib took what he learned in the club business to the youth in the inner cities along Massachusetts South Coast. His program, which started in just a single town, has grown to three municipalities. He works with a core group of juniors throughout the year, serving not only as their tennis coach, but also as a mentor as they grow through elementary and middle school years. Gotlib takes us through his offerings and marketing materials. He realized long before that communication with the the kids on and off the court is imperative, but even more importantly, communication with the parents is truly essential. As a special education mathematics teacher, Jesse realizes the importance of maintaining relationships with both the juniors and the parents. His marketing, mainly on social media, keeps him in front of the juniors and allows his program to grow across the three towns he now serves. Please join Jesse on the podcast with our sister website, www.theinstututeofclubdirectors.com, which will launch in May 2023 as we look to work more with the governors and decision-makers in the club industry.
37:56 4/24/23
Plan It, They Will Come For Pickle & Padel
Before Breaking Ground, New Club Has Hundreds Of Applicants Patricio Misitrano has been a Director of Racquets at some of the best-known clubs in the country. From the hallowed clay courts at both Wee Burn and Greenwich Country Clubs through to the tennis courts at New Canaan Field Club, Patricio has served elite memberships across both Westchester and Fairfield counties for decades. But now not only will he be a service provider, he'll also be a stockholder and shareholder of his new club. The Sports Haus, which will open its doors this coming summer, is a new, energized method of bringing pickleball, padel and golf to one space. Three sports, one enormous warehouse. With three partners, each with a focus on racquet sports in their own way, and a bravado and entrepreneurial instinct rarely seen, Patricio Misitrano has moved into the ownership category in the industry. He's only sent the blueprints to the city of Norwalk, but he already has over six hundred applications for membership. Applications For Membership Outpacing Building Of Facility It's a great way to build a club - building to suit the waiting membership. With approximately 70 percent of the pre-signed up members being individuals, the rest of the club's membership will be comprised of families and, here's a great new idea, local teaching racquets and golf professionals. The Sport Haus will offer a club professional membership, created to welcome those local pros inside the walls, both to better understand these new-to-market racquet sports and with the hope that these professionals bring and teach the sports back at their respective clubs. Rain days might no longer be lost revenue days as pros will be able to bring their members and guests inside. Patricio has brought together a  veritable think tank as the team behind this new venture: Juan Arraya, Director of Racquets at Greenwich Country Club and Mark Parsons, a fellow director from Weston, Connecticut's Aspetuck Valley Country Club, and Mark Fischl known to most of us as the voice behind platform tennis broadcasts and former president of the APTA. These four industry leaders have teamed up to create a literal think tank to blaze a new road in the industry. Creating a marketing plan focused on their email newsletter and website at www.sports.haus, this team found a vacant warehouse located in the downtown district of Norwalk, CT. Bringing air-conditioning to a 35,244 square foot warehouse is just one of the obstacles that they have overcome as they are bringing excitement and members from the affluent areas of Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan to South Norwalk, once a no-go area, but now a bustling hive of streets with restaurants, cafes and young people. The Sports Haus will have its own café with beer and wine where one can watch action across five padel and four pickleball courts and two golf simulators. Armed with the knowledge of who is ready to apply, Misitrano has both the professional and social side of the business wrapped up in one giant warehouse. Join us on the podcast this week with Patricio Misitrano, a former Argentine padel player who has brought his love for that sport and all racquet sports to SoNo – South Norwalk – as he builds his dream, The Sports Haus.
45:00 3/25/23
The Nassau Club: Princeton’s Truly Private Eating Club
Princeton University is known for its eating clubs: Cap and Gown, Charter, Ivy and Colonial. But this private members club isn't associated with the university and doesn't hold open houses to find new members. The Nassau Club was founded by Woodrow Wilson to bring the townsfolk and the University together. It now stands as one of the most elite dining clubs in the nation and Nathalie Wilson is its Director of Food and Beverage. Nassau Club's Food and Beverage Director Nathalie Wilson Wilson has served elite memberships across the country. As General Manager at Suburban Golf Club to Restaurant Manager at Greenwich Connecticut's Stanwich Club, Wilson has seen the scenes behind the iron gates at the highest levels of private members clubs. But Nassau Club is different. Wilson takes us through a day in the life of the club, from its guest rooms upstairs to its breakfast service through to dinner service. With just a dozen staff in the restaurant, Wilson takes care of each and every member, of which there are 1,100. Although membership seems heavy, half the membership is rarely seen but just continues to hold the membership for nostalgic reasons and perhaps their once-a-year trip to Princeton. Search Firms Are In Bed With Private Clubs The podcast turns toward finding talent post-Covid and how Nathalie believes executive search firms are not always finding talent but are more inspired to ensure they get the nod for the next search rather than find the right candidate for the search at hand. With a consolidation of executive search in the industry, Wilson is concerned that candidates are not being found and compensation packages are being artificially restrained. The Wait Staff Olympics Although Princeton might be a bit stodgy, the wait staff at various restaurants and clubs is not. The town holds the Wait Staff Olympics annually, in which waiters and waitresses might be seen trudging through Palmer Square with trays full of drinks and trying to gain the fastest time with the least droppings amidst cheering colleagues. Bonding for a service staff in a university town that is heaving full of people servicing the students, faculty and university dignitaries.
53:26 3/6/23
A Cut Above
The Grass Court Cutting King Maurice Gardner gives us the secrets to what makes great courts… and that’s grass courts. Former Head Groundskeeper at Wessen Lawn Tennis Club in Pontiac, Michigan, Gardner takes us through a day in the life of a groundskeeper as well as the cost of the maintaining such a high standard of grass courts. The cost of keeping grass courts appears to be often too high, and in the case it may have been too high for Wessen which went out of business after boasting itself to be the first grass court club built in the USA in over a century. Country Clubs Have The Equipment Gardner, who studied agronomy after working at Wessen, mentions that country clubs already have much of the equipment required for keeping the grass courts. “All you really need beside what the course superintendent has is a painter for the lines,” says Gardner. Is The Allure Of Grass Still There? Randy Walker hosts this week’s podcast here at BeyondTheBaselines.com and wonders if people will still want to play on grass, as grass courts are so elusive. “People travel to Newport” just to play on grass, says Walker. “Grass courts can add value to any club.” And he muses, throughout the podcast, if grass court play will grow once again in the United States. It's a dream that, one never knows, might become a reality.
37:43 10/29/22
Every Club Tournament Is Someone’s US Open
Not the Swing, but Visibility, Member Service and Access is Paramount for any Department Head Visibility is crucial for a Director of Golf and Pat Gunning understands that. His daily ritual as Director of Golf at the famed Noyac Golf Club takes him to the club to greet the members teeing off at 6.30am. His day is basically set up to make himself as visible to the members as possible. Although at the club most of the day, he limits the number of hours he teaches, so he remains available to the membership, and sometimes more importantly, to his staff. Tee Times for Management Flow “Starting times, tee times, it really allows you to anticipate what is going to happen better. It makes the flow of the day that much easier,” says Gunning who has worked at clubs with and without tee times. Covid, says Gunning, really ended the "Caddy Yard" – and with Covid and starting times changing people's thought processes on tee times, it allow caddies to be reserved and also get on with their work and with their day too rather than just hanging at the caddy barn. “The Little Things Take Care of the Big Things” Pat Gunning, Director of Golf at Noyac Golf Club, Sag Harbor, NY Pat realizes that golf and tennis professionals, and really anyone in the club business, are in the hospitality business. He learned the above quote from one of his mentors, Jack Druga, who is Director of Golf at Shinnecock Hills.  And, recently retired Bob Ford who served as Director of Golf at both Oakmont and Seminole, always told Pat to treat members as if they were guests in your own home. Pat says keeping these two thoughts in his mind during a fast-paced summer season allows him to succeed. Is it the Era of Reconstruction for Golf Courses? Clubs want to create a better and more memorable experience and the design of the golf course falls into making that playing experience better. Having viewed changes across the nation by some of the best golf course architects, Gunning believes that the best changes are tweaks and modifications which make the golf course harder for the A and B player but slightly easier for the C and D player. The architects, Gunning says, are masters at making holes playable for all level of players. Golf course design and modification is part of a long-term strategy. Gunning adds that long-term strategic planning is really all about idea creation. Timelines may be either adopted or changed or completely shelved by the Board, but it’s imperative to keep new ideas flowing through the strategic plan, believes Gunning. Planning for next year is essential and reviewing the calendar, event by event, is a crucial exercise to do post-season. It helps keep the season flowing and allows to avoid staff burnout and member boredom. Pat Gunning joins the BeyondTheBaselines.com podcast as one of the leading Directors of Golf in the country.
44:10 9/25/22
Writing, Wit & Racquet: Caitlin Thompson
Here at Beyond the Baselines we're excited to catch up with the co-founder and publisher of Racquet Magazine, Caitlin Thompson, for our latest podcast.   Caitlin Thompson, former D1 player for University of Missouri, and editor of Racquet Magazine Caitlin offers wise and salient observations on the state of tennis, both on the court and in the media, just as getting on the court and socializing with like-minded friends remains as important to Caitlin as is scheduling a business meeting in an office, In fact, she seems to enjoy the court more as an office! A former Division 1 player at Mizzou, Caitlin's media career has included time at the The Washington Post, Time Magazine, and The New York Times before Racquet exploded onto the scene in 2016. This boutique magazine aimed at an aspirational leadership embraces yesterday's culture and moves forward to attract new and returning tennis fans. The roots of Racquet? Nostalgia for tennis's past culture with a flair toward the future. Caitlin was keen to revive an image of tennis that is more approachable and immersed in culture. We recall a heady blend of nostalgia and style that was both wild and exciting which in turn has become a celebration and homage to the stylish days of tennis in the  '70s and '80s. Racquet Magazine recalls the characters, flair and style that epitomizes the golden age and ethos of the sport.  Tennis, Twitter, and Time - How Tennis Can and Should Transcend Media and Centuries In conversation with Ed, Caitlin draws upon a wealth of experience to give us her observations on a variety of eclectic topics: Twitter may be a giant platform for celebrities to air their views, and for fans to respond, but will the social media platform become a dusty relic in a changing, more closely regulated culture within social media? Caitlin is immersed in marketing and publishing and we query with her how important is the written word in a world of brisk social media. On a light-hearted note we talk about those behind the microphones - who holds the microphone today and who should hold it in the future for tennis commentary? Maybe this podcast offers a couple of suggestions for the changing of the guard for the CBS and NBC commentary boxes! JP and Martina watch this space! We talk about how politics is currently transcending sport and its positive and negative impact on tennis and its image. Outspoken players have existed in the past but new social platforms with outspoken players today might not always be enhancing the image of our sport? Politics influences sport in multi-faceted ways. Maybe the stories that hit the headlines aren't always properly contextualized and challenged. It's a discussion that will go on for years, we believe. Our regular business-sided listeners will be keen to hear Caitlin's views on the need to attract dynamic investors to the sport and media surrounding the sport as she ponders some of the best kept secrets in NYC - both courtwise and foodwise! courts and an appetite for a narrative and tradition in tennis. Finally, in whimsical mood we explore a sense that the halcyon days of tennis appeals to a large group of people who remember an era. However do missed opportunities mean tennis has not capitalized on its strengths by adding new fans? In fact could it have marginalized itself through a boring narrative and brand dominance. Caitlin cites NBA vigor while tennis may be seen to suffer from a bland corporate narrative. Truly a breath of fresh air in a somewhat stagnant post-Covid environment, Caitlin continues to create a space that invites exciting, influential and vibrant personalities in to the world of tennis. Tune in to the podcast to find out even more!
34:59 8/25/22
The King of Ankle Biters
Shaun Boyce is a gifted junior instructor. He and his wife, Geovanna, have taken his tennisforchildren.com and tennis for hundreds of kids in the Atlanta area to new heights, year after year. From preschools to home owners associations, Shaun has taken his love and passion for instructing the younger players in our sport on the road across the metropolis that is Atlanta. Shaun and his wife, Geovanna, are the team behind tennisforchildren.com Teaching juniors is a distinct talent. It's never easy and it's always a challenge. The challenge to keep the attention of juniors with, say 5 or 8 on a court, and leave them with having learned something not just about tennis and a racquet path, but also about life and sport, is one of the biggest we face as teachers. Whether you are a golf, ski, tennis, or swim instructor, or a grade school teacher, or just mom and dad, you know how hard it is to teach juniors. Shaun, with his lesson plans, his color-coordinated dots on the courts, and his idea that the longer you keep your juniors from playing competitively, the better the stroke and learning techniques, has made his mark in the Atlanta region. Atlanta is a town of planned communities in a large part. Home Owner Associations dot the city from East to West and now are moving Northward as the city pushes the Northern boundary. HOA’s have tennis courts. "There's a court literally on every corner," says Shaun. Shaun and I discuss how amenities such as pickleball and tennis courts are affecting HOA dues and home resale prices. Upside-Down Pricing Shaun brings to the table a new look to pricing. With his programming, he charges more, against the trend of the industry, for the little ones. The younger the players, he says, the harder he and his staff have to work to keep their attention and create a learning environment. So, Shaun charges more for the 5 year old than the 15 year old. It's a new way to look at junior clinics and pricing, and it's a breath of fresh air to listen to how he describes the many changes, in addition to this pricing structure, that he has made as his program has grown. Shaun is at the cutting edge of teaching juniors in one of the biggest tennis towns in America. Tune in and find out just what makes him tick and what keeps his kids from Tik-Tok while on the courts.
60:14 4/16/22
Club Managers Are Politicians: Visionaries Serving Their Constituents
The Club Manager. We think we know the role as members, as boards and governors. Growing up in Stowe, Vermont Elle Anderson thought she knew all about the club up there too, especially as she returned to her home town after a career as an elite athlete. Anderson returned home in 2020 and wanting to start a family. Well, she not only started a family. She also started the ball rolling at Stowe Tennis Club, one of the best-known tennis clubs in New England, as she now heads into her third season as the club's General Manager. Elle Anderson, General Manager of Stowe Tennis Club “You can click on our website and pay dues in about 30 seconds,” says Anderson, and most members don’t realize how much time structuring and offering dues payments takes behind the scenes. "Software is great but you have to invest manpower" to make member services and hospitality to keep up with the new demands from members. Anderson feels that most clubs, established as non-profits, just dont pay enough attention to operating as an actual business. A Club Manager Needs To Be A Visionary She’s seeing her role, entering her third summer at a seasonal club, evolving into a keynote speaker as well as a listener. "I want to understand the new members and what they want," she says. We, as club managers, need to create that time to see what other clubs are doing and how other memberships are evolving, outside our own clubs. The Appointee From An Elected Board “I look at my members sort of as constituents,” states the youthful Anderson. As a leader, Elle wants to offer space for discussion and understand various viewpoints while remaining patient, but then demonstrating and educating the board as to show how we can make the club better. At the bottom of Stowe's ski slopes, join the BeyondTheBaselines.com podcast and one of the most thoughtful and insightful leaders, Elle Anderson, as she snow plows into the role of Club Manager at one of the most elite tennis clubs in America.
49:56 3/13/22
The Queen of Cardio
After graduating from Arizona State, a young woman who loved to travel had one thing in mind: wanting to work at Club Med. She began to teach tennis there on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It was there, she realized that adult programming can be the secret behind a greater and bigger club and program. Michele Krause, the Queen of Cardio, joins the Beyond The Baselines Podcast. Michele Krause saw an opportunity way back in 2004 to help the Tennis Industry Association launch Cardio Tennis. And since that hurricane-ravaged year in Florida, Michele has never looked back. How To Double Court Usage and Food and Beverage Revenues "We see pictures of tennis with one or two people on a court. It's not really a great image. We have this ability to be social... I want to see 6 or 8 or 24 people. I can get up to 24 people on a court... I have a D1 player with 24 people on a court burning 800 calories. Why is group fitness so popular?" asks Michele. Michele looks at why some tennis courts might be being replaced by a condo or a pickleball court. "We replace courts when they are empty, and we have the tools to build our revenue and keep our tennis courts and build even more tennis court." Live Ball Games Is Cardio, But There Is A History As live ball drills make inroads to clubs and tennis facilities, Michele reminds us that the majority of time on the court is competitive games after a drill-based warmup. "There's a lot of mystery about live ball across the country. It means different things depending on which facility you are teaching." There is a history to liveball, says Michele. "Live ball was born in Southern California." It was established around 2 vs 2 with champs and challengers - and that's very different from Cardio Tennis," says Krause. "Live Ball should be normal tennis instruction... we don't like lines" of people waiting to hit. Michele notes that Cardio Tennis can be played, because it's with orange balls, by beginners to higher level players. Triples Is The Greatest Game In Tennis "Triples is the best game you can play on a tennis court," says Krause. Triples has to be last for every Cardio Tennis. "The main act of Cardio Tennis is Triples, and it has to be saved until last." Michele is set on creating a Triples movement in the USA. "Triples is an event unto itself... and I am going to push out Triples even before Cardio Tennis." Krause plans on holding the largest Triples event ever at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona on April 24th to kick off her marketing awareness for the game. But Krause points to that Triples doesn't require a separation of ability levels and allows more players across different levels to be social together on a triples court... and after in a larger social circle. Michele, with this statement, proves why she is at the cutting edge of our industry. Profitability, court usage, member experience... they are all served by Triples and Cardio Tennis. She's known this before 2004... she's known this since her years way back when at Club Med in the Bahamas.
50:13 2/19/22
Decision Makers Are Not Usually The Operators
Andres Robelo loves tennis. He grew up with tennis. His parents played tennis. But he couldn't find a game in Miami. "I could run a business with technology. I could book a table at a restaurant or order a car with software. I couldn't order a tennis game," and behind this came the fruition of Play By Point and PlayByPoint.com. But during his journey, he's found an interesting tidbit of information. Private members clubs have decision makers, but those decision makers are rarely the operators of the facilities. Play By Court, Manage By Committee He was shocked when he first realized how hard it was for a department head with a major disconnect between boards and committees. Committees may have wanted a lottery system, a patchwork, or set times for all courts. Whatever the committee wanted, Andres would create the software. However, Andres would find that the expert was the department head, and that department head wasn't making the ultimate decision. Education and awareness was the discussion at the beginning. We learned quickly that every club is different" and we had to slowly educate the decision makers how technology could be customized to a club's needs. But, even with that patience and only four clubs in his first year, it's been difficult. Now boasting a plethora of clients, Robelo can comment on the private members club and home owner association industries. "It's how private members clubs are structured. The decision makers are not often the operators. The person who makes the key decision, I can assure you, doesn't realize the impact or consequences that any decision will have." The challenge is communicating how technology can help to the board of the club or the HOA.. "Its not their time or their sweat that the technology saves," says Robelo. They don't see the added values of having a second software, separate from golf or whatever software they may be using. Boards, says Robelo, are getting better at trusting the system and the department heads they employ. Robelo has seen this more in the past two years during Covid and the rush on the courts. "As more people move to Florida, members are seeing their courts packed" and are using technology to maximize and optimize court usage, states Robelo. As board members skew younger, the younger members more often realize the impact of technology, and perhaps Covid was a catalyst for this shift. Change Is Difficult The industry has seen a move toward tee times across almost all golf courses in the nation as play on the course is up as well. Robelo points to other businesses outside the country club industry. "When you go to a movie theatre, do you tell the movie theatre when you want to see the movie? No, the business sets the rules." Clubs need to understand that they are businesses in a competitive environment. There are directors who also dislike change. Directors, left in the dust, are still using dusting off their paper-based systems for lessons and reservations. Robelo realizes that change is different, especially for these static and staid directors.. We think it might be that these directors rather not having members and committees know their schedule and incomes. Whatever the reason, the number of directors that are paper-based is being whittled down. Clubs are looking, these days, for transparency and are slowly realizing they are businesses.
44:57 2/1/22
The Five Mistakes A Search Committee Can Make
By Ed Shanaphy, CMAA As 2022 brings in a new breath of life to so many in our industry as we battle a virus, so too does the job market show even more signs of life and recovery. As we look to either expand club offerings or find a new, dynamic club manager or department head, we must consider the pathway to success. Far too often, it's been years since a governing club board has had to fill a major role. This usually means these governing bodies are out of practice in terms of communication and out of the practice of hiring. And in these times, finding candidates can be an a seemingly impossible task. As boards nominate search committees, and search committees nominate candidates and finalists, the pathway becomes cloudy. As a hiring force, search committees and hiring bodies should not only investigate the candidates thoroughly, but also look at the committee's own composition and desires and continually monitor that not one particular voice or objective becomes overbearing. The five mistakes that committees can often make when hiring all lead back to just that: Maintain an objective viewpoint and listen to all the voices as you narrow the field of candidates to just that one, special person who fits the job. Easier said than done! Have a listen and find out where your five major pitfalls might darkly lurk. Ed Shanaphy is President of BeyondTheBaselines.com which is a subsidiary of SBW Associates, Inc. With his experience in hiring internationally as Managing Director of two London-based conglomerates, he brings to the search committee a viewpoint gained from completing hundreds of searches for his own entities and, more recently, private members clubs.
14:13 1/20/22
Reeling From Reels: Two Women’s Travels Through Tennis and Being Social With Social
by Ed Shanaphy, USPTA, CMAA Kate Cole and Laura Fox are the Instagram influencers creating a social media storm for women tennis players. Kate’s Instagram account, which focuses on tennis, cocktails, fitness and how she makes time for all that around motherhood, has over 1,600 followers. Laura Fox, known as The Tennis Fox, is renowned for her outfits and has been entertaining the enormous group of tennis-playing women and mothers across the country and around the globe with her daily posts on social media. Laura Fox is The Tennis Fox on Instagram. Both have been approached by brands to influence their clubs, their facilities, their teammates and their followers. Laura, having been approached by major brands, has found paid influencing unfulfilling, But both women have found the conversations, through comments and direct messages on Instagram, as a wonderful addition to their play and have enjoyed building a community around their tennis games through Instagram. Setting Goals Through Adult Tennis Once in motherhood, you don’t have business goals, and these women are setting goals for themselves as they would have done had they remained in the working world rather than taking on the enormous task of motherhood. “When you have kids, you’re not going to see the fruits of your labors for years…” and Laura says that she has found a way to replace those work goals with her tennis game. Kate, moving often as her husband is in the Navy, uses tennis as an outlet for her hectic lifestyle. As a ranked junior, she is now experiencing what she feels the game is all about – being social. Unfortunately, as a junior tournament player, she hadn’t truly enjoyed the game, looking at it more as a task on the weekends, rather than a sport for a lifetime. Team Tennis: Upfront Financial Commitment or Pay-As-You-Go? Which Methods Works Best For Women's Teams? Kate Cole is tenniscocktailsandmotherhood on Instagram These two women face the challenges that most amateur players face - how to raise their USTA NTRP rating and how to deal with team polics. Clubs and facilities struggle with team selection and how to best monetize interclub play. Laura, who has played under two varied versions of team play at two different facilities, noticed that the higher ranked the player, the less often show up for clinic. Is it because they can keep their position by not showing up and hiding their true level of play? We shall never know, as Laura has moved on from that club to a facility that requires prepayment for the entire season. Every Club Should Have A Nineteenth Hole Golfers are famous for re-living, stroke-by-stroke, their round in the clubhouse after walking off the eighteenth green. Laura bemoans that this is not always the case in tennis. Instagram provides that opportunity to Laura to publicize her match and serves as her post-match debriefing. Unlike at her previous club, her present facility is focused more on tennis than on the social side, and she has turned to Instagram to bring together a community of people. As an influencer through her clothes and tennis outfits, Laura was influencing long before she was an Instagram influencer. But it’s truly interesting to understand how she relives her winners and her unforced errors on Instagram on a daily basis. Perhaps Instagram is the new Nineteenth Hole Café. Kate simply hopes that her Instagram page inspires others to get fit and play tennis. It’s a social sounding board for her as she moves around the world as the matron of a service family. But, somehow she finds the time to make her reels engaging, educational and just plain fun. "I like to hope that I can inspire others to get more fit." Well, Kate and Laura are inspirational and educational for all of us in the country club and tennis industry. Their views, their dislikes, their loves and their fears are all shared on Instagram and those are born on the courts and on the gym floor every day.
47:32 12/15/21
The Perception of “Coach”
by Jennifer Gelhaus, USPTA and Director of Tennis In our sports-hungry culture, we watch the NHL, MLB, NFL, the ATP. Finally, we are receiving coverage of the WNBA more often and watching the LPGA and the WTA. In this age of inclusion and diversity, women's sports are, perhaps, finally gaining some ground in terms of public viewing on a national television basis. But our perception of "coach" isn't changing one bit, according to a professor of sport management. Fomer college student-athlete and now world acclaimed professor, Dr. B Nalani Butler, Ph.D. joins the BTB Podcast. Dr. B. Nalani Butler, Assistant Professor of Sport Management at Kennesaw University, joins host Jennifer Gelhaus on the Beyond The Baselines Podcast to discuss how from childhood we view "coach" as a man. The movies and television shows - we think of "Coach" as a male and that perpetuates the idea that coaching is typically a male activity. Butler borrows her experience from playing sport herself and has compiled research and studied with some of the most revered names in the field. "You see men coaching both men's and women's sports," but you rarely see a woman coaching a men's sport. "Ideologies about coaching in our culture," is that a coach should be a male figure. Dr Butler points to Title IX and remarks that it is uniquely American and similar legislation does not truly exist anywhere else in the world. And, although passed as federal law in the 1970s, it wasn't truly enforced until the mid 1980s. Pat Summit was one of the champions of the legislation. Butler points out that she and her podcast host, Jennifer, were really just the second wave of Title IX athletes - "I couldn't find women's cleats or jerseys at the time," says Butler. "Mia Hamm still roles up her sleeves," something Butler believes is a habitual leftover from a time when it was only men's jerseys for women players, a time not so long ago. Butler, a former NCAA athlete, has more recently co-authored the fourth edition of Social Issues in Sport, a textbook which introduces students to the study of sport as a social phenomenon. The book explores current trends in sport and examines complex connections between sport and politics, economics, religion, race, gender, youth and more. Having worked with professional teams such as Cincinnati Reds to the International Olympic Academy's International Session for Educators, Butler is well-versed to discuss the mistakes we, as a society, make when trying to diversify sport in an age of inclusion. Join her on the BTB podcast today and find out why the Coach, even in the TV sitcom Cheers, always seems to be a man in our mind's eye.
41:19 11/28/21
A Never-Ending Question: To Teach Or Not To Teach?
Angela Wilson was fortunate enough to have really good coaches who were in the game of coaching. That made the difference for her growing up playing junior tennis and into her college career at the University of Indiana. Her foundation really helped her to become a great coach long before she became Club Manager. But, it was also a driver. Her love of coaching battled with the time she needed to devote to club management. Angela Wilson, General Manager, Western Athletic Club With her accounting background, Angela realizes how difficult it is for some coaches, who stay in coaching and on the court for a long career, to become a manager. She was thrust into the management of a tennis club at the age of just 25. And to this day, through her love of tennis, she finds it hard to stay off the court. Angela readily admits she has to limit her time teaching on court to just 10 to 15 hours per week. She admits it's tough to see a Director of Tennis out there instead of herself. "I love teaching from little kids to beginners to adults, but right now I'm just doing payroll!" With a new court reservation system at Western Athletic Club in Cincinnati, Ohio, Angela realizes that she has to first understand the entire software system before tutoring and helping front desk staff and members as they switch over to the new system. "It doesn't leave me a lot of time to get back on the court. "My back end has to be really good to allow me time on the court. I love teaching, but at some point I had to do the PPP loan application." Pickleball Slowly Progressing From Open Play At The Parks When asked about monetizing indoor pickleball courts, Angela believes that pickleball is travelling the same path that tennis travelled. She sees pickleball players starting to pay for court time. "They are down for it and ready to play with their friends and ready to pay for it . Angela foresees growth into the indoor arena. She harks back to the 1970s when players played tennis mainly at the public recreational courts and left a racquet at the court's door to notate that they were waiting, much like the quarters on a pool table marking the next game. Pickleball, she believes, is at the same place and will mature and progress into clubs and indoor facilities. Like tennis did in the 70s, pickleball players are starting to note levels and play within levels. Whereas everyone at first was playing with everyone, now, just like tennis did when the USTA brought out NTRP ratings, Angela sees pickleball players looking to play with players of their level. With that growth and maturity, Angela has just converted two indoor tennis courts into six pickleball courts citing the demand at her own club Angela Wilson sees the monetization of pickleball in the not too distant future. Her club just removed two indoor courts to create six pickleball courts. Hospitality and Wellness "I'm in the wellness business. We want to provide a place where people can move and have fun. I am trying to make the club like Club Med. If you want to do something special you'll have to pay, but fitness is always free with dues." The strategic plan must be working, as Western Athletic Club has recently added not only a full-time Director of Tennis but also a sales manager. "We needed more spokes on the wheel (in terms of adding personnel), and tennis is growing at the club. How to avoid member pitfalls? Angela says your members need to know "that you care and that we try. We're not always perfect, but we try to make the club a very nice place." Whatever Angela is doing at Western Athletic Club, it's working. Boating over 700 tennis players, the club is certainly making its mark within the indoor tennis industry nation-wide.
39:17 11/11/21
The Historian and Curator
Tennis has a beautiful history, and Jim McCready is at the forefront of keeping that history alive and in front of tennis and sport fans across the world. Former Director of The APTA and a legend both on the tennis and platform tennis courts, Jim states that "tennis has been his life." His collection subtitled, Tennis At The Turn, started at The Belle Haven Club in Greenwich, Connecticut with a couple of 19th Century beautifully crafted wooden racquets. 40 years later, Jim is still accumulating racquets, memorabilia and art all connected to the history of tennis and sport. Jim was way ahead of his time, doing the "year-round gig" teaching paddle and tennis at not only the Belle Haven Club, but also at Armonk Tennis Club (NY), Montclair Golf Club (NJ), and Spring Brook Country Club (Morristown, NJ). As a paddle and tennis instructor, Jim was well placed to become a historian of racquet sports. His love for the game pours over into his curatorial power over a dynamic, historic collection. Jim believes that racquet sports are unmatched in teaching life's lessons. Whether part of the industry or just a player, racquet sports teach that individualism required as we tread the floorboards of life. Belle Haven Club, Greenwich CT - where The Driftway Collection was born. In regard to the collection, "trying to find a pristine racquet from the turn of the century is getting harder and harder." Having exhibited the collection around the world including in London, the former Family Circle stadium in Charleston, SC, and elsewhere, Jim is looking to possibly find a permanent locale and gallery for his tremendous trove of tennis treasures. Jim takes us through the evolution of tennis from the Royal Game, otherwise known as Real or Court Tennis and how the racquets changed from angled and small heads to where the head straightened out and were enlarged for lawn tennis and those early Wimbledon competitors. Where did the scoring come from? Jim is the man to take us through the evolution of tennis just prior to the first Wimbledon in 1877. The game hasn't changed much - a slightly lower net and the composition of the racquets, but much has not changed since those lofty days in the English countryside. You can find out all about Jim and his collection at The Driftway Collection online or check out his Instagram and Facebook pages of the same name.
36:15 10/23/21
The One And Only Jennifer Gelhaus
Jennifer Gelhaus has always been before her time. She started college early at the tender age of 16, after being recruited from her native Venezuela to play Division II tennis here in the United States. She left home and took a chance. She took a step into college coaching before moving to Long Island and serving as Director of Juniors at one of the most prestigious clubs in the nation, Maidstone Club. Now, she's taken a leap once again, and has moved on to become Director of Tennis at East Chop on Martha's Vineyard. In her second year, she shares with us some of her secrets of success. Jennifer Gelhaus, Director of Tennis at East Chop on Martha's Vineyard. Success In Business Is Crucial For Tennis Directors Her success lies not only in her forehand and instruction, but, perhaps even more so, in her acumen as a business woman. "This is the thing. People don't really view the club tennis industry as a business. That's a problem. This is one of the reasons, too, that I didn't envision this for myself growing up. People don't understand what we do. We are not just teaching tennis all day. There's a lot that goes going into running a club. Its very different to be on a court teaching forehands all day." We are not sure anyone could better educate a board or a membership than Ms. Gelhaus. How To Build A Program? Communication For Jennifer, it's not about being on the court. It's all about communicating to your members. Servicing the many different needs of a membership is a top priority. "But if you don't communicate your business you're not promoting your programs, and if you are not promoting your business, you will not get people on the court," says one of the leading Tennis Directors in New England, if not the nation. From texting to emails to newsletters, Jennifer is in constant touch with her East Chop membership. With every club-wide newsletter or communication, Jennifer receives up to 10 lesson requests. Availability To Members Is Essential "I love tennis, but I don't love being on court all day. I don't have any desire to do that," remarks Gelhaus. She wisely discusses how hours on the court stop her from engaging with her members. If she has 10 hours on court maybe she influenced a dozen, she says. "If you don't have that contact off court with your members, you are only influencing 6 people in a clinic or a few during privates," but you are not working with the other 600 members of your club, she believes.
44:18 9/20/21
Simon Says – Simon Gale at the USTA National Campus
Simon Gale, Director of Racquets, USTA National Campus Simon Gale is at the top of our industry. As the Director of Racquets at the USTA National Tennis Center in Lake Nona, Florida, Simon oversees four head professionals and nearly one hundred courts across the campus. From hosting national USTA league finals to teaching locals on a daily and weekly basis, Simon has taken the USTA National Campus to new heights. And this month, he's taking it to new sports. Padel and Pickleball are set to be a part of the scene at the Lake Nona facility, which houses also the USTA National Junior Development program. Add this to all the events that the campus hosts, it's one bustling place and Simon supervises all of it. He's excited to see where the two new racquet sports being offered might take tennis in the future. He sees the various racquet sports aligning to help build participation in each. We catch Simon at an interesting time. Coming out of the pandemic, the National Campus will be able to host travelling tennis players once again. Although there is a healthy number of locals, both adults and juniors, who use the facility, upwards of 40 percent of usage is from players not from the Orlando area. Simon is readying his staff of approximately 40 certified teaching professionals for the task of seeing more players and more hours on the court. People Management Simon's philosophy and his experience up and down the East Coast of the United States from Connecticut to Brooklyn and now down to Florida has led him to ask the question when hiring a member of staff: "How's your people management? Can you build a team?" Simon has been forced to build an enormous team of instructors, with four head professionals alone, on staff at Lake Nona. He wonders if the pathway for teaching professionals might be too simple and asks what we as an industry can do to change that so we broaden the experience of up and coming professionals. He points to the need for people management not only while working with his own staff, but also dealing with the hundreds of events that the National Campus hosts each year. The team of event planners at Lake Nona is quite large and working with them and visiting groups, companies and teams all force Gale to manage people more often than he gets to teach tennis. "Being a good instructor should be a given at our level." But being a good manager of staff and clients is a constant learning process.
50:26 7/18/21