Every Labor Day Weekend, Bayside Tennis Club commemorates another summer season with their yearly Labor Day picnic. This year, however, the South Bethany-based club had even more reason to celebrate, as the season marked their 40th anniversary.
“Usually that’s our Labor Day picnic that we have and this year it turned out to be [our] 40th,” said board President Al Preziosi.
Established in 1974, some of the club’s founders and original members were not only there to mark the occasion at the club’s Pavilion, but even still play tennis on the courts, including founder and former South Bethany Commissioner, George Reese.
“He’s still playing today, he’s 80-some years old and he’s good,” claimed Preziosi, noting that he hopes to still be playing at that level when he reaches Reese’s age.
Preziosi joined the club in 2001 as an avid tennis player, and eventually became a board member. However, now 40-plus years ago, the club actually began as South Bethany Recreation Association at the then-rented property.
It was Reese and Goodwin Taylor who got the idea for the club, after the Town of South Bethany was unable to come up with the funding for a recreational facility when Iggy Hall offered the property for such purposes.
“George and Goodwin Taylor, soon joined by Richard Ridgeway Esquire, decided that they would start a tennis club, and got 30 original members to sign up and rented the property from Iggy Hall and built four tennis courts,” explained Preziosi of the history.
In 1980, the club purchased the property from Hall and became Bayside Tennis Club, which is still going strong now 40 years later.
“It’s a nice environment,” said Preziosi. “It’s an affordable club. It’s open for membership to the public. We have an active social calendar, one [social] is in the beginning of the season in June. This year we had a pro exhibition match, they played pro-am with the members, which was a lot of fun.”
The facility features four courts, two of which are designed to be softer and more forgiving for frequent players with knee or hip issues.
“There are four courts. Two courts are —, it’s the rubberized surface which is good for people [who have] hip problems [and] knee problems,” Preziosi explained. “That’s why they were installed a few years ago.”
Not only are the courts designed for player comfort, but they have also been taken care of consistently.
“The courts are well-maintained, we just had them resurfaced last year,” Preziosi noted of the consistent maintenance.
The club keeps membership to around 85, but its members don’t just come from local areas — they come from a number of different states, some from as far as Florida.
“We get them from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and we have a lot of local families that play here all the time as well,” Preziosi said. “We’re always looking for new members.”
While tennis season is no longer in full swing at Bayside, “round robin” and mixed doubles groups will still continue play through October, and Preziosi said that they’ll keep the courts open all winter.
“We still stay open throughout the winter. If you’re brave enough to get out there, you can play,” he said.
To find out more about Bayside Tennis Club, or if your interested in joining the club, visit their website at www.baysidetennis.sharepoint.com.