Over the past several years within this column, I have commented regularly about how vital our relationship is with Club Management Association of America (CMAA). And as most USPTA members know, the fourth core pillar of our strategic plan is “being strongly aligned with our allied organizations.” Along with the USTA, there is no partnership more critical to our professionals than that of CMAA.
As such, I was thrilled to be invited to participate with the CMAA Business Management Institute (BMI) in early January in Scottsdale, Ariz. The theme of this week-long workshop was to educate club managers about non-golf-centric activities at clubs.
With the decline in golf rounds and golf activity at most private clubs across the country, the premise of the meeting was to highlight those activities that clubs can offer their respective members that will keep them coming back to utilize their facilities. Clubs would prefer that members not drive down the street to participate in these activities and spend discretionary dollars elsewhere when they can just as easily do it at their own club. Youth programming, kid’s camps, lawn games, fitness and wellness, adaptive sports, yachting and sailing, hiking, biking, bocce, croquet and aquatics were amongst the many topics that were addressed by subject matter experts in those respective fields.
Of course, racquet sports was the subject that I was asked to address for the 45 managers who were in attendance. It was important that I not only painted a truthful picture of what is going on with our industry and our market conditions, but also dive into the latest trends with platform tennis, pickleball, padel and POP Tennis (the four P’s). Managers wanted to hear about how these activities could enhance their tennis programs while also considering what real estate within their clubs would have to be dedicated to build a program around them.
Just by coincidence, the TIA hosted the Racquet and Paddle Sports Conference in conjunction with the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando two weeks after the BMI (late January). Held in conjunction with the TOM Conference, all four of these disciplines were showcased on the exhibition floor of the PGA Merchandise Show so that CMAA members could visit the Paddle and Racquet area to watch each of them being played, taught and demonstrated. What a unique opportunity to have each of these sports being demonstrated side by side so that clubs could make decisions about which one of them would suit their clientele!
Naturally, I gave an overview about the USPTA and why club managers should be hiring USPTA certified professionals. Finally, I offered a sneak preview as to the pending certification standards that are coming and how the USTA will be collaborating with the USPTA to “elevate the standards of tennis teaching professionals and coaches” throughout the country. This new accreditation agreement with the USTA is going to be a massive undertaking in order to be ready for launch in early 2020. This article will not allow me the time nor the place to delve into this matter in any detail. More information will be forthcoming in the very near future.
But, what was essential for this audience of club decision makers to hear was how this new educational standard for teaching pros will impact clubs and their hiring practices. Because the USPTA is now the only fully accredited tennis teaching organization in the country, the impact on the job market cannot be understated.
In a continuing effort to message CMAA management, the USPTA was also invited to present at the CMAA World Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in late February. I will gladly be sharing the stage with Kurt Kamperman, CEO of the USTA National Campus, as we discuss the new sports landscape, why tennis is positioned for another boom and how the next generation of tennis-teaching professionals will help drive participation for our sport. It should be an interesting and exciting presentation to which I am looking forward.
The bottom line is simple: private clubs and country clubs hire a great percentage of our members. Thus, it makes perfect sense to educate club management personnel as to the benefits of hiring members of our association so that the customer experience being offered by our members is exceptional. Only then will those club members keep returning to the club for increased activity. Being closely affiliated with CMAA just makes good sense.*