Tam Heather serves up new courts

In a bid to attract more members, Tam Heather Tennis and Curling Club opened a new $1-million tennis dome on Oct. 17.

The club at 730 Military Trail had been using a transitional dome that would be taken down each year.

“The old bubble was touchy from year to year on whether it would last another year, so Tam Heather started lobbying for a new facility four years ago,” said Lorne Devine, an organizer at the opening event.

Funding for the new facility came from two sources: the City of Toronto and the Racquet Sport and Development Fund. And it couldn’t have come sooner.

“The conditions of the courts were not great,” Devine said. “Plus our fee structure was out of whack with the market and our competition. Our fees had always been higher, but over the last couple of years we managed to reduce our fees and make it competitive, and that’s a huge factor in attracting new members.”

Construction on the dome began May 1, ending the day before its grand opening. By mid day, it would appear that the bid was already a success.

“Our membership the past few winters would be between 150 to 180 members, at this point we are already at that or more,” Devine said. “We’re expecting a 25 per cent increase this year.”

He hopes that the facility’s proximity to students may attract a fresh crowd of tennis fanatics.

“Next week we’re running a program with four local schools in the area here, organized by one of our ladies on the committee. She’s got about 300 to 400 students coming here next week. It’s an all day introduction to tennis.”

For the opening day, use of the new courts was free, but to use the facility you must purchase a membership. A pay-as you-play is available at a premium only if the courts are vacant, which adds incentive to purchasing a membership.

“We do offer house leagues and mixed leagues, so I think we’re in a good position now to attract new members, with our fee structure, the facility, and the programs we have available,” Devine said.