As we all know 2020 has been a challenging year for your Club and all our members and families.
The re-opening of Tennis and Golf Clubs on 18th May was received with great delight and clearly, with the Club so busy over the summer, most of us have enjoyed plenty of tennis up until Level 5 came into effect last Thursday.
Government unwillingness to pursue a more nuanced approach in the current Level 5 (especially with regard to safe sports like our own and golf) is frustrating to most members I suspect, a frustration succintly put by our own Kevin Clarke in his well- written letter to the Irish Times last Saturday.
You will be aware from the recent Club communications that Tennis Ireland continue to liaise with Sport Ireland re allowing tennis to resume with restrictions during Level 5. As a Club we will continue to press this case with Tennis Ireland and we will keep you posted.
Between 18th May and 21st October there has been a huge amount of work behind the scenes to keep our Club open, safe and compliant.
At this point I’d again like to thank our Executive Committee, Staff, Coaches, Sub-Committees and Volunteers for making this happen. Club Manager Louise, our designated ‘Covid Officer’ has led this effort superbly and that should be noted.
As members day-to-day routines have changed, the courts have been extremely busy, and tennis has, undoubtedly, been a great outlet. However, managing court availability, maintaining accurate Contact Tracing Lists, keeping our hallway crowd free etc has been a significant challenge over the last few months – and is only likely to become more difficult during the long winter ahead. It is not feasible to have members waiting outside for courts over the winter months.
With this in mind and cognisant that Tennis Ireland recommend using Online Booking, your Executive set up a Sub Committee to look into an online system and report back.
The Executive Committee met recently to review the Sub Committee Report, weighed up the pros and cons, functionality etc and voted to implement an Online Booking System, Club Manager 365, for a trial period of 6 months. Club Manager 365 integrates with our current membership system, SmartClub and booking a court will be accessible via our Website, SmartClub and an App.
Concurrently, our House & Grounds Manager Tony O’Brien designed, specified and is leading a small team of Club volunteers in building an outdoor shelter area, if torrential rain comes down when members are on court and particularly during junior coaching. A huge thank you to Team Tony for this.
Over the next couple of weeks, the roll out of the Online Booking System will be communicated to members. Videos, Tip-Sheets and support will be available to members, but the booking system is very user friendly. Special note of thanks on this one to Louise, our VC Mark Barriscale, VP Karen Devitt and our multi-talented Bar Manager, Barry Doyle who are all working on the implementation of the system for our Club.
I’ve had many engagements with members regarding an online system. Some are all for it while others are absolutely against. We also know there will be hiccups with its introduction. That is the nature of these projects. Overall though, your Executive felt that there was never really going to be a better time to trial the system and as we are buying a monthly subscription for the service – if, after its trial period, we feel it is not working, we can revert to a sheet in the hallway. Please bear with us in the initial phase of introduction and constructive feedback from members is most welcome.
In a normal year, around now, we would be thinking DPYP, our new Internal Doubles Tournament, First Friday Club Nights and Vinny would be negotiating with Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, U2 or similar for your Legends Nights. Sadly, not to be this year but hopefully, we can get back there – stronger and fitter.
I will keep you posted on developments and I so look forward to seeing you all back in our Club soon.
President Clontarf LTC