Lakewood Tennis Club is situated on the western outskirts of Ballincollig which is itself on the western boundaries of Cork city. The club has 5 artificial grass tennis courts, a bar, kitchen, changing rooms, a practice wall and the reputation of being one of the friendliest tennis clubs in Munster. Certainly one of the best supported whenever it’s teams are playing at home or away. Club night is on Wednesday evenings and non members are welcome to turn up and check out the club’s facilities. They are a busy club on both the senior and junior side and all of their activities can be found on their website or active facebook page.
Tramore is a beautiful coastal town in the county of Waterford and it boasts of a thriving tennis club with 5 artificial grass tennis courts and a clubhouse. You can pay and play for up to 6 times a year at a cost of 7 euro per hour or simply become a member with rates for a single adult at 230 euro annually or 345 euro for a family membership also for the year. They have 3 coaches who look after both adult and junior coaching pretty much following the academic year. I have played here once in a winter league match sometime in December many years ago and I remember it vividly. The club is right next to the sea and on this stormy Sunday, the sea started to throw up big balls of sea foam because of the waves crashing against the rocks not too far below where the courts are situated. I bet on a sunny wind free day these courts are fantastic to play on but in winter during a storm and getting the occasional sea foam custard pie in the face they can be quite difficult. They are a busy club with many in house leagues and they participate in and usually do well, all the Munster run tournaments.
Nenagh tennis club is in county Tipperary and has 6 artificial grass tennis courts and 3 junior courts of the same surface. There is an online booking system to reserve a court so I guess you have to be a member in order to play but you can avail of their try before you buy policy and check it out without obligation. The cost for family membership for a year is 300 euro and 185 euro for a single adult and student and junior membership rates are also available on their website. The have a great clubhouse with changing rooms, showers, bar and catering facilities. They hold many in house tournaments and leagues and are always well represented inter-provincially. There are 3 coaches working in the club and they have always been considered a tough club to beat no matter what the grade. I have only played there once in a Munster Winter league match and I remember our team lost quite badly.
Hidden away in Blackrock, St. Michaels Tennis Club boasts 5 artificial grass tennis courts and a modern day clubhouse for it’s members. Founded in the 1920’s the club has a large junior and senior membership and they have produced a number of Irish ranked players especially in the juniors thanks to the coaching staff headed by John O’Rourke. The club is supervised during the day, you may pay and play but be aware that the club is frequently busy so it may not be always easy getting a court to play on. Club night is on Tuesday evenings starting at 7.30pm and there is usually a good turn out and they always welcome new members. They participate in all Munster run leagues and tournaments along with holding numerous in house competitions.
With 6 artificial tennis courts, Bishopstown tennis club is situated in the suburbs of Cork city. They have a big junior and senior membership and hold opens for both in their calendar year. With a newly refurbished clubhouse they are able to hold functions for small to medium parties and they have a large balcony overlooking the tennis courts. They have a number of coaches employed by the club with Conor Twomey being the head coach. Always well represented at club level and frequently winning especially amongst the juniors which is a healthy sign for the club and good future prospects. I think you have to be a member to play but as the club is supervised during the day you may be able to pay and play. The practice wall is well used and they also have a play area for juniors. Nestled in a lovely area of the city I have always enjoyed playing here.
Situated just outside Cork city in Carrigaline is their tennis club which comprises of 5 artificial tennis courts and a clubhouse with a function room and catering facilities. The head coach is Mark Cunningham and a coaching schedule is available on their website. I don’t think the clubhouse is supervised at all times so members are given a key for use when nobody is there. All courts are floodlit and the grounds are kept in good condition. Carrigaline Tennis Club is a very proactive club and they hold a senior and junior open annually along with other interclub competitions. Memberships starts at 210 euro for a senior individual and 330 euro for a family; the other rates such as junior and student can be found on their website also. The club was founded in 1985 and is known for it’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Why not pop down on club night and put it to the test.
The All England Lawn Tennis And Croquet Club located at SW19 London is more commonly known as Wimbledon as that is the most famous tennis club in the world is situated. It has 56 tennis courts in total if you include the 22 practice grass courts at Aorangi park across the road from the club. There are 19 tournament grass courts, 8 clay courts, 2 Acrylic courts and five indoor courts. You pretty much need to win the Wimbledon singles title to have any chance of ever becoming a member or else get nominated by 2 members of the club and then you go onto a waiting list as the membership is kept to a minimum. There are currently 375 full members and about 100 casual members and a few honorary members. It was founded in 1868 with lawn tennis introduced in 1875 and the first Open championships were played in 1877. The grass is cut to 8mm and it is perennial rye grass which the groundsmen find produces the best bounce, is most durable for heavy consistent play and easier to maintain. The most famous court is Centre court and has a capacity of about 15 thousand. It is quite an intimate theatre as the spectators get up quite close to the players. They installed a roof on this stadium in 2009 to facilitate television and their own schedule and has proved to be a major success. The other big show court is court no.1 which holds 11,500 at full capacity. I have never been to the Open but I have visited Wimbledon and even outside the tournament the club holds an atmosphere partly because of all the tourists. The museum is well worth a visit as we get to see up close what they used to wear and the equipment they first started out with is outrageous. How the game has evolved. Make sure you get the guided tour when you are there as they hold a lot of information about the venue and are pleasant, funny and approachable. The Open is always played the last week in June and the first week in July and is the only tournament in the Grand Slam calendar to still be played on real grass. Most famously the club is associated with the colours of purple and green combination. Players in the Open championships are asked to wear all white as that is the tradition of the club and all must adhere to it. The president of the club is his Royal Highness, the Duke of Kent and the Queen is one of the patrons of the club. Many royals have attended the championships throughout it’s brief history and I’m sure the club hope this continues in the future. Tickets for the Open are done by ballot and are so luck of the draw though you can queue up each day for daily passes provided you are up at an insanely hour in the morning. I spoke in a previous article about how much strawberries and cream, champagne and even Pimms they go through during the 2 weeks of madness. One of the more interesting areas of the venue is Henman Hill. This is a grassy sloped surface where families can sit down and picnic in front of a massive TV screen and watch the match on Centre court and it usually gathers a big crowd especially when the home grown talent is on show. The Clubhouse has everything a player or member could need with numerous eating facilities that cater for all tastes. The tournament is streamed out on live television with the BBC probably showing the most coverage with their interactive channels. The current holders of the competition are Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic but the all time most titles in men belonging to Renshaw, Sampras and Federer on 7 titles. For Women it’s Martina Navratilova on 9. The winners now get close to 2 million pounds sterling with first round losers getting almost 30,000. There is a vast amount of staff at the club which obviously increases during and including the run up to the tournament and some of these include catering staff, administration, security, umpires, ball boys and girls. It is considered the most prestigious club in tennis and the one with the oldest history and traditions still being employed today. As a child, it is the tournament that every youngster wants to win and is probably the most career defining competition on the professional calendar.