Members know a good thing when they see it. Lisa Gundersen, 49, of Milwaukee, Wis., has been a member at Elite Sports Clubs for over 21 years. She started going when she had her first child and just needed a place to exercise. After three years though, Gundersen began taking tennis lessons from one of the pros at Elite Sports Clubs and has been actively playing tennis ever since.
Gundersen’s husband was the one originally into tennis. He played his whole life and actually grew up with tennis professionals Tim and Tom Gullikson. After being exposed to vast amounts of tennis, Gundersen decided she needed to learn how to play.
“I love it!” said Gundersen. “It’s a great way to stay in shape, and a great way to meet people. When I had my son and daughter I thought we had a perfect mixed doubles team!”
Tennis pro Bob Gressen taught Gundersen how to play when she first started, and he is still a pro at Elite. At the time, Gundersen paid extra for tennis lessons and drills on top of her membership fee. Now she pays for court time or drills, but she finds it to be extremely reasonable.
Without tennis, Gundersen jokes that she would be 500 pounds because she likes to eat. However, tennis keeps her feeling good and fit. She plays at least three times a week — indoors in the winter and five to six times outside in the summer. Admittedly, not a big Group X person, she occasionally does water aerobics at Elite to balance the pressure on joints from playing tennis.
At Elite, Gundersen participates in tennis leagues — she has gotten to know many people that way. There are also tennis mixers during the year that she enjoys going to as well. Members can sign up for leagues several times throughout the year based on the time and day offered. Non-members can join in the leagues or mixers as well, said Gundersen, bringing more people in the door — members are allowed to bring their friends.
“Kay (Yuspeh, the owner) has done such a great job hiring great people. I know other members who have been there as long as me. It’s so nice. We have a local owner who is very hands on. I can pick up the phone and call Kay. Elite is really the whole package. I like the tennis. I like the people. It’s convenient. It’s clean. People know your name here. Exercise can be a drag, but you always feel better when you walk out of here.”
Both of Gundersen’s children learned to play tennis at Elite. “They were enrolled in tennis lessons when they were little. My kids grew up at Elite. My son was devastated when we dropped him off of our membership after he went away to college.”
Additionally, Gundersen said Elite offers leagues in volleyball, soccer and basketball. What type of leagues could you organize for members? Working out and exercising should be fun and leagues are a great way to convey that message. Many members would play a variety of sports if given the chance, but organizing times and finding enough people for teams may not be possible for an individual. Survey your members and find out what they would like to participate in. Then have your team figure out which leagues could feasibly work at your facility. It’s a great way to engage members and start a small profit center! -CS
By Ali Cicerchi