Bruce Levine has quite the memory.
The General Manager of Courtside Racquet Club in Lebanon, N.J. since 2005, Levine estimates that of the approximately 1,200 club members, he knows almost all of them by name.
“Maybe for one or two of them, I’ll draw a blank,” he said. “But I know 99 percent.”
It’s all part of a community theme for Courtside, which was selected this year as a 2013 USTA Middle States Premier Facility.
“People come here to play tennis, watch tennis, hang around, talk, and really just to enjoy themselves as a group,” Levine said. “It’s a true community feel. That’s one thing that makes us unique.”
With its six top-notch indoor tennis courts, on-site tennis shop and a swimming pool, Courtside offers a myriad of tennis options to players in all age groups. Those options include private lessons, group clinics, and everything in-between, and it’s part of what made Courtside the 2009 USTA National Outstanding Facility of the Year.
Courtside’s junior programming includes tennis for kids who are just picking up a racquet, and advanced players looking to advance through the ranks of high-performance competition. The club even gives kids as young as 3 a chance to have fun on the court, and the facility’s 10 and Under Tennis program gets players hooked on the sport while getting comfortable with the movements and strategy of the game. Area high school players receive free memberships to the club.
For adults, Courtside offers cardio tennis, clinics, USTA League Tennis, and more. Levine said players especially enjoy the chance to socialize and get to know other players and families from the area.
“For us, it comes down to people having fun, and getting what they want from the sport,” Levine said. “If someone has an interest in playing, we can get them into a program here that they’ll enjoy, and stay in. We’re proud of that.”
Courtside stands out in other ways, as well. It is the original partner of USTA Middle States’ Building a Tennis Community (BATC) initiative, which enhances each junior club member’s experience by automatically including USTA membership with each Courtside membership.
BATC allows USTA Middle States to partner with sites, allowing members to realize benefits from both club membership and USTA membership. With BATC, Levine said it gives the club, and its members, something extra.
“Everyone is so happy with it,” he said. “It adds credibility to what you do, and brings a sense of membership to the club, and the governing body of tennis in the country. High school coaches love it because it allows their players to play tournaments, and the kids get the magazines and everything else that comes with it.”
Levine and the staff find other ways to change things up, as well. Each year, the facility hosts an event with a pro player, helping members connect with a new level of the game. In recent years, pros running clinics at Courtside included Katrina Adams, Luke Jenson, Tim Wilkison, Tim Mayyot, and the Bryan Brothers.
“We try to keep things fresh and the members happy,” Levine said. “We understand that tennis is a social game, and people need to enjoy it to stay with it. We’re confident that we do that here.”