Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club celebrates ‘unbelievable’ membership gain

Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club has added 184 members to the club this year — far surpassing the club’s goal for the year of 10 new members.

“It is truly becoming a community place for people to come and spend time, and that has been our goal the whole time,” said Dave Van Den Berg, RSF Tennis Club president. “This is quite a positive change, I think.”

At the April 2 RSF Association board meeting, Van Den Berg said the RSF Tennis Club is now approaching 500 members, a number that board member Philip Wilkinson said was “unbelievable.”

RSF Association Treasurer Kim Eggleston remarked that this represented a huge turn-around from the grim projections of declining membership Van Den Berg had to address just six months ago, when he feared the club was in a death spiral.

“The progress is just astonishing, and you should be commended,” Eggleston said.

Van Den Berg said the club’s membership growth is just one example of a number of changes.

The club plans to run summer sports camps, remodel its kitchen and bring its pro shop management all in-house. The hope is that the shop will soon feature gear with the RSF Tennis Club logo insignia. The club has high-speed Internet service and hired Mike Brown as the director of operations.

Brown has been a tennis and golf director at many clubs across the country. A nationally ranked junior tennis and college player, Brown was a three-time USTA National Open Doubles Champion. Brown also had the honor of being the senior tour hitting coach for Tim Wilkinson and John McEnroe.

Saturday morning pickleball has been a huge hit with the baby boomers, and every month the RSF Tennis Club has a large social event. Among the club’s goals is to start holding several weekly events — the club’s Friday night men’s beer and tennis event has grown increasingly popular.

In June, Van Den Berg said the club hopes to run a sizable, two-day tournament with 32 top professionals facing off against players at the club. The tournament’s proceeds will help go to scholarships in the club’s highly successful junior tennis program.

The junior tennis program has grown to 130 kids, ages 4 through 18 years old, from just 60 youngsters in December 2014. The junior program features several nationally ranked young players and is now considered a “mecca” for junior tennis in San Diego, Van Den Berg said.

The club is also set to roll out an “impressive” new website at the end of the month. The introduction features a drone flight through the club, giving a feel for the beauty of the facility, Van Den Berg said. The website will also include videos of all club activities, a reservation system for courts and a database for the club to communicate with members.

The club’s volunteers were able to complete a $20,000 website project, which typically takes a year, in five months for $6,000.

For information, call 858-756-4459.

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