On Dec. 1, the Rancho Santa Fe Association approved the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club’s plan of operation, which includes an extension of the sponsored membership program, allowing non-residents to join as playing partners and pay a premium to be a part of the Covenant club. The vote was 5-1, with director Mike Licosati opposed. Kim Eggleston was not present at the meeting.
The sponsored memberships are an important part of the club’s operational plan, according to RSF Tennis Club President Dave Van Den Berg. He said it’s different than golf, where players of different skill levels can play together. With tennis, it’s more enjoyable when players are evenly matched.
“Having people to play with, that’s part of the attraction of joining the club,” Van Den Berg said.
The board first approved the new membership category, capped at 25 members, in February 2015. A member in good standing at the RSF Tennis Club can sponsor someone from outside the Covenant area and the member must be approved by the RSF Tennis Club board. The sponsored member pays an enrollment fee and $1,000 extra in dues a year — a total of $2,188 a year. Covenant residents currently pay an initiation fee of $3,750, plus monthly dues that vary for family or single memberships.
Van Den Berg said the sponsored members contribute $65,000 to the bottom line and also contribute about $20,000 to charitable donations within the club.
In June, the previous RSF Association board split on renewing the category in a 3-3 vote, with directors Ann Boon, Heather Slosar and Licosati voting against it and Eggleston not present for the vote With the new board seated in July, the category passed 5-1 with Licosati voting against it (then-director Boon was not present). The approval was for the program to be annual, with a renewal again in June 2017 – this latest vote makes it a three-year program rather than an annual renewal.
The RSF Association board has the right to terminate the memberships and if they are terminated, the members are entitled to remain a sponsored member for two full fiscal years following the notice of termination.
Van Den Berg said the club has the ability to have over 300 memberships and had 340 members at its peak about 15 years ago — they have 224 members right now so there is room to grow and the sponsored memberships do not have an impact on the club’s court usage.