Claremont Tennis Club members can now play on into the night with the installation of a new set of floodlights.
Carrying on from its 2018 resurfacing project, the club has continued to work on improving facilities, raising funds to buy two new floodlights.
Claremont Tennis Club president Brian Moyle said they were much-needed additions for the club.
‘‘Through the middle of summer everything is all right but in the fringes it gets dark early and our club nights don’t start until 6pm and we have the juniors at 5pm.
‘‘If it gets dark at 8pm then you don’t really have a hell of a lot of time for tennis.
‘‘With the lights, though, we can now let the young players play a little longer and the older and more energetic ones can stay out and play a little longer themselves.’’
The new lights cost $19,000. The club received $14,000 from Pub Charities and raised the remaining $5000 through various fundraising efforts.
To save on costs members did all the trenching, dug the holes for the bases and supplied the machinery to put them up themselves.
Moyle said it was a real community effort to complete the project.
‘‘We borrowed a digger from a local farmer, the telehandler we used to put the lights up was also from a local farmer and the club members got together to do the rest.
‘‘It’s a real community thing, a real district thing, but we are also extremely thankful to Pub Charities for the funds they gave us to make it all possible, because it would take years to raise the amount to do it all.’’
The club received funding in December and quickly bought the materials required to avoid any price rises.
The original Claremont tennis courts were laid beside the community hall in 1954 and with the upgrades Moyle is hoping to keep the country club around for a good while longer.
‘‘There are not a lot of country clubs around these days. The next closest is Albury and Geraldine but that is about it.
‘‘Country tennis, as we call it, is a community thing and our club is very generational.
‘‘My son and daughter play here, and they bring their kids along to coaching. There are a number of other players like that as well.
‘‘The advent of country tennis was always family orientated and it’s amazing to see that people are always here using the facility, so we hope the upgrade keeps the sport going here and that it encourages people to keep playing and become members.’’
Moyle said despite the sad reality for other country clubs, Claremont was continuing to go from strength to strength.
‘‘I’d say we are probably still growing, especially when you look at the amount of kids we get down. Whether they get to a certain age and move on is another question, but the younger ones keep coming back.
‘‘We have a good amount of players in the 35-40 bracket who bring along their kids.
‘‘Our senior membership is probably as good as it has ever been. We’re probably sitting at about 40 members plus all our junior players and social players so we’re definitely not fading away.’’
Going forward the club plans to continue to maintain the facilities, look at adding additional shade and maybe even a deck off the hall.
Moyle said the ultimate goal would be a roof.
‘‘We’d love to be able to put a roof over it all but I think that is well beyond our means.
‘‘We will definitely continue to carry out improvements.’’
The club runs a junior coaching programme as well as club days on Tuesday evenings.