RANCHO SANTA FE — Dave Vandenberg, a RSF Tennis Club board member, spoke to directors of the Rancho Santa Fe Association to update its plan of operation which had to do with implementing four new membership enrollments. The Association approved them all in an effort to produce more revenue and keep the momentum going at the club.
“Before I get into this, I want to report that in fact as of this week we have met our annual quota in the first three months in membership,” Vandenberg said. “I think too, with the addition of these memberships that we’ll probably be at least at 150% over our quotas by the end of the year.”
The directors commended Vandenberg.
He went on to say that this update should make the club break “cash even” and remarked how they do not carry any debt.
“So what has been a trend of us losing members and therefore our revenue was going down and making the place less attractive for people, we’ve at least reversed that and it’s going back up again,” he said. “And that’s through a tremendous amount of work I think with my board since we don’t even have a manager at our club. So our board is actually acting as the managers.”
Vandenberg told the Directors that his board should be given a lot of kudos for the efforts that they’re putting in. With that said, his board looked at ideas on ways to increase membership even further.
The first proposal he called a “no-brainer,” in where anyone who is a golf member should automatically be a tennis member.
“Why aren’t we?” he asked the RSF board of Directors.
Doing research, Vandenberg discovered how golf club members are going to other tennis clubs. Rather than having RSF golf club members pay $3,750 to have a RSF tennis club membership, the new enrollment fee would be $500. He said he expected to see a great deal of golf members take part in the tennis club.
“We decided to make it at least a value that we put a number of $500 on it because a lot of people, if they see that it is free, they won’t value it at anything,” he said.
Vandenberg said he expects to see a number of people come over from the RSF Golf Club with this new membership twist.
Another proposal was former tennis club member reinstatements.
“We’ve been going through a list of over 50 people who have quit the club over the past dozen years, some of which would join back in, except that we had this policy that said they had to pay thousands of dollars to get back in,” he said. “If we just drop those fees, we might get them back into the club and get the recurring revenue from those members.”
Vandenberg pointed out that they had a number of people that were considering doing that if the tennis club initiated this type of membership.
The third membership which was up for consideration was extended family membership. It will continue to welcome these members but paying dues.
Vandenberg described this category as much a cleanup situation as it was a way to get new members. He told the Directors that people were playing at the club illegally.
“But there are rules and regulations that say we can’t do this on an ongoing basis forever. And we kind of had a blindfold over our eyes saying, ‘Let’s not cause any waves,’” he said, adding how it was time to clean things up and adhere to the rules.
An extended family membership for those who have family living in the Covenant can buy a membership and start paying dues. The Directors agreed, adding a cap of 25 members in this category to begin with which would be assessed every year.
The last membership item was offering a social membership of $500 per year, for its aging members to remain active.
Vandenberg explained a community like RSF as cyclical in terms of a link between tennis and golf.
“As the community gets older and ages, the amount of tennis players tend to drop off,” he said, adding how then they turn to golf which is easier on the joints. “I’ve run clubs in communities such as this before and that will reverse because the younger people will come in and we will have more tennis players.”