Newmarket Tennis Club is situated in the heart of the town and has been one of the leading clubs in the region for many years since its foundation in 1948, achieving a membership of over 500 at its peak. Unfortunately over the last decade or so the club has seen a decline in its fortunes, with membership considerably down and investment in the playing surfaces, clubhouse and general amenities significantly reduced.
However in 2018 a new Chairman, Board of Directors, and Club Committee were appointed with a mandate and a strong commitment to turn around the fortunes of our tennis club and restore it to its former standing both within the region and the local community. Since 2018 the management team, who are all voluntary, has established a five-year turnaround plan for the club which is now fully in progress. To date, the following actions have already been taken:
- an £18,000 investment from club funds to renovate the dilapidated court 7 by replacing the playing surface and renewing the surrounding fencing;
- the appointment of an LTA Level 5 Performance Coach, Bruce Tarran, to develop and lead new coaching programs for both adults and juniors - to reach out we have made these programs also open to non-members within the community;
- redecoration of the clubhouse, inside and out;
- more teams being formed and entered in local leagues;
- more club social events being organised.
As a result of the actions already taken and in particular the success of Bruce Tarran's coaching programs, new visibility in the local leagues and an improved social "vibe" within the club, our membership has already increased within the last 18 months from a low point of around 100 members to the current level of over 300. However our ambition is to return to, and then exceed, the number of over 500 members which the club achieved at its peak. So, moving forward the next key projects and targets in our five year plan are:
- replace courts 4, 5 and 6 acrylic and tarmac surfaces with Grade 1 synthetic clay;
- replace the halogen floodlights on courts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 with LED lighting;
- properly refurbish the clubhouse and changing facilities;
- repaint the surface on tarmac courts 1, 2 and 3 in 2021;
- replace our winter Air Hall ("Bubble") in 2023;
- increase the membership to 500+ by 2023.
Launching this year, Project Clay is the next major initiative in our five year turnaround plan. Its aim is to replace the three acrylic courts 4, 5 and 6 with synthetic clay surfaces. The primary reasons for choosing synthetic clay is the fast drying and drainage capability that allows play all year round - due to the unpredictable English weather this has become the surface of choice for outdoor tennis courts.
The expected costs for the project are in the region of £110,000.
Note: Newmarket Tennis Club is a community club that relies on income from members and non-members, coaching and fundraising events. Like most sporting clubs this income covers the day to day running costs, but when major upgrades are required we need to look for alternative sources of funding. Therefore our plan is to fund the program from a combination of sources including development grants, local and county council grants, LTA loans, sponsorship, donations and current income.