Private Facility of the Year: Army Navy Country Club
By Kent Oswald
One of the lessons to be learned from the Army Navy Country Club of Arlington, Va. — TI’s 2014 Private Facility of the Year — is that a historic and military past does not preclude a cutting-edge vision of tennis’s future.
Situated on what was once Fort Richardson, a key outpost for the Union Army’s defense of Washington, D.C., the club began serving as a recreation facility for military families in the 1920s. Current membership, including non-military families, is about 2,400 local households, with thousands more “absent” members worldwide. Tennis’s importance is demonstrated by the more than 1,100 adults who opt-in for regular updates, 500 or so frequent adult players and, on average, 150 junior program participants.
Recognized as the USTA’s 2014 Green Facility, the newly renovated $57 million facility boasts energy-saving LED lighting. Playing surfaces include 14 clay courts (10 of which are lighted), two outdoor and six indoor hard courts, and eight 36-foot courts.
Director of Tennis Joseph Wang oversees directors of adult and junior programs, four teaching pros, and full-time heads of both the maintenance and pro shop operations. Staff development is a constant, and programs cover all ages and ability levels. The club also hosts charity pro-ams, USTA league play and junior tournaments. According to Wang, the two main challenges going forward are “managing growth” and “keeping things fresh and innovative.”
— Kent Oswald
Tips for success
- Don’t hire clones. Build a staff around overlapping competencies.
- Cross-train staff on all areas of business and help them develop the business skills they will need to move up.
- Recognize that serving the community is often another way to serve membership.
- Be on the lookout for advances, whether it is new ways to teach or more efficient ways to construct the facility.
See all articles by Kent Oswald
About the Author
Kent Oswald is a contributor to TennisNow.com, producer at the JockBookReview.com and a former editor of Tennis Week magazine.
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