Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club board establishes new mission statement and membership categories


The RSF Tennis Club has a new board, headed by President Dave Van Den Berg, and a renewed sense of purpose. The board as a whole decided in August after the elections of its directors that it wanted to be a proactive board with new programs that are compatible with the community at large and with the goals of building upon the foundation that the past boards had established.

The first item on the agenda was to establish a new mission statement:

“The Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club is a private club dedicated to offering our community a first class tennis facility providing the highest quality instruction and competition for all levels of play in a social and welcoming environment.”

After the development of the mission statement, objectives and goals were put in place. This helped to establish a clear guideline of how to proceed in updating the club. One of the most important goals was to attract more members, bring back members that have left and increase benefits to current members.

Van Den Berg commented on the activities of the board and the RSF Tennis Club:

“Having determined where we were and where wanted to go as a board, we laid out our objectives and implemented certain strategies to increase membership at all levels, expand participation at the club, develop new promotional plans and new forms of communications to our membership while improving management of the club and its operations.

“The next step was to set out tactics to achieve all these goals. That meant we had to develop a new Plan of Operations. We achieved this goal by working closely with the Association board. New membership categories were developed, spearheaded by Perrin Orr, and were approved after several meetings. Out of the nine membership categories, many are significant changes for the club that are meant to attract new members.

“Extended Family Membership: This new membership classification allows any member of the club to extend their membership rights to their extended family members. This provides a benefit to Association members to extend their privileges to their family whether or not they are residents of the covenant for an initiation fee of $1,000, plus additional monthly dues assessed at the current rate. It is limited to 25 applicants.

“RSF Golf Members: Current members of the RSF Golf Club may now join the RSF Tennis Club for a reduced enrollment fee of $500, representing a savings of over $3,200. Any such member will pay monthly tennis dues, in addition to their golf club dues, and be given Full Family Tennis Club Membership privileges.

“Reinstated Member: Regular members who may have left the club are being welcomed back as full Regular Members with no enrollment or initiation fees on a dues-only basis.

“Social Member: Another new category of membership has been instituted for social members allowing the use of the clubhouse for special activities, such as bridge, backgammon, etc. Social Members are also then included in all Tennis Club social activities that generally are held at least once a month.

“Tenured Membership: This new category is intended to welcome back players who had been members and for one reason or another left the club or the covenant and would like to continue their relationships, which they have built over time with the members of the tennis club. This membership is offered at the current initiation fee and dues in effect.

“Other memberships have also been created and information regarding them are available by contacting The RSF Tennis Club.

“In addition, according to our plan, we purchased a new website that is now in the process of being implemented.”

Scott Degoler, the director in charge of the new website, stated, “We wanted a site that was state-of-the art, dynamic, yet compatible and representative of the Association’s and Golf Club’s websites so we would have a cross platform. It’s going to be a very dynamic and user-friendly site for our members and guests. The site should be up and operational in the coming month.”

“The club has instituted many new and wonderful events, programs, clinics and exhibitions all being held at the club each month,” stated director Christine Finkelson. “For example, we’ve had USTA tournaments, clinics with San Diego’s professional tennis team, The Aviators, Pro vs. Pro exhibitions held between clubs in the area, Social Mixers, an Open Week for the community to play tennis for free during Rancho Days, and our latest addition, Pickle Ball. In addition, the club has had A Day of Recognition for all past board directors, many Junior programs and a Holiday Party that the community was invited to attend, and we have instituted New Member Welcome Receptions.”

The Club’s Junior Program is growing fast, with over 60-plus participants this past year and more joining this year. The Tennis Club has expanded the program to include the fifth- graders from the Rancho Santa Fe Middle School.

“We want to get them as soon as they can walk,” said Head Pro Derek Miller, who coaches the school team. “The school district is very active in supporting our efforts. Eighty-five percent of these children live in the covenant, thus achieving one of our objectives of the club, which is to grow locally in our Junior Program.”

The RSF Tennis Club boasts national champions at all levels, some of whom will be the rising stars of the future. They all play at the club and can be seen most any day practicing on its courts. The Tennis Club encourages the community to come out and watch these amazing athletes.

The RSF Tennis Club has very active league participation both for the women and men.

“We’ve just added a AA women’s team and a B women’s team that can be fielded outside of the club if necessary, thus expanding opportunities for all our women players,” stated Dophie Poiset, who is not only the Director of Tennis but the Past President of the United States Professional Tennis Association San Diego Division.

Director Herb Holmquist is in charge of the plans being instituted to update the club facilities and the courts, in addition to adding Pickle Ball on a regular basis.

Van Den Berg stated, “I’m very proud of all we have achieved as a board in three months’ time. I’ve asked a lot of the directors, who have all been putting in many, many hours a week to accomplish these goals.”

The current Board of Directors are: Dave Van Den Berg — President; Barbara McClanahan — Secretary; Herb Holmquist — House & Grounds; Shari Sapp — Treasurer; Perrin Orr — Membership; Marina Pastor and Christine Finkelson — Social Committee; Scott DeGoler — Communications; and Paul LeBeau — Special Committee Chair. The board meets the second Wednesday of each month.

The instructors at the club are widely regarded in the tennis community at large. The two Tennis Directors are Dophie Poiset and Derek Miller, who is also the Head Teaching Pro. Both have substantial training and experience in the tennis world.

Dophie Poiset has been with RSF Tennis Club since 1983. She provides lessons, clinics, and coordinates the women and children’s programs. She encourages the traditional values of tennis with emphasis on etiquette and sportsmanship.

Derek Miller joined the club in 2004 and conducts clinics and private lessons. He became Head Pro and co-manager in 2010. Miller’s passions are coaching young beginners to high-performance tennis players, coordinating the Junior and Adult programs, and he runs the Middle School program. Miller is a USPTA certified pro at the professional level.

The other teaching staff members are Allie Denike, James Conda and Michael Brown.

Allie Denike ended up top in the nation in singles and doubles. She was an All American at ASU before she turned pro in 2000. She achieved a singles ranking of 102 on the WTA tour and made it to the third round of The US Open. In 2004, Denike became a USPTA Pro 1 teaching professional. Denike has been teaching at the RSF Tennis Club since 2008.

James Conda is a USPTA certified instructor; he grew up in San Diego where he was an outstanding junior and collegiate player. He was ranked number 1 in the Men’s Open Division, Singles and Doubles in San Diego. He was the number 1 Doubles player for the University of San Diego and the number 1 ranked Junior in Southern California. He was the hitting partner for professional players Conchita Martinez and Mark Philippoussis. Conda has been an instructor at The RSF Tennis Club since 2005. Conda works with all levels of tennis from beginning to advanced adults and juniors.

Michael Brown has been a tennis and golf director at many clubs across the country. He was ranked number 1 in the San Diego Boys 18s. He was ranked number 6 and number 4 in the Junior College National Singles and Doubles, respectively. He reached a ranking of number 428 in the ATP Doubles. Brown was a three-time USTA National Open Doubles Champion. He was ranked number 2 and number 1 in Singles for the University of Mississippi for 1992 and 1993 respectively. Brown had the honor of being the Senior Tour Hitting Coach for Tim Wilkinson and John McEnroe for two years in a row.

Residents and non-residents have the opportunity to take private or group lessons with these highly trained professionals.

The Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club was established in 1962. There are 10 hard courts, one of which is also a Pickle Ball court, and two Har-Tru clay courts, with a Club House and Pro Shop. The Club is open seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Tennis Club is located in a beautiful setting in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe adjacent to the RSF Golf Course at 5829 Via de la Cumbre.

For more information about the club, membership or lessons, please call 858-756-4459 and ask for Dophie Poiset or Derek Miller.

— Press release submitted by the RSF Tennis Club