• Will Dowse survive 2020?

  • Too bad, Señorita

  • Big shout out to Rod H.

  • PTR Indian Wells Summit

  • TIA under new management

  • Spring Survey 2020


  • Update: Transgender issue

  • USAPA + Pickleball seniors

MARCH 2020


Dear Readers,

That was a pretty busy February for me. Besides playing tennis and publishing this newsletter I also took the time to work on a TV pilot, another feature script, two stage plays, a web series, and finished post-production of a short film I wrote and produced. All in a month's work, haha. Writing is my passion and producing work in the film/TV realm is such a great second avenue for that passion. After tennis.


Will Michael Dowse survive 2020?

I had a very interesting phone call with the new USTA CEO. Afterward, I decided to be cautiously optimistic about the future of our governing body of tennis. Why? Because I saw a lot of common ground with him, listened to how he operates and what he intends to tackle in the near future.

The question is: Will he be able to survive at the helm of the USTA? Despite the best of intentions, how will he deal with the USTA's "Deep State" of Board members, top management, and Directors/Managers who have always done things a certain way and are probably digging in because they do not want change?

I'd say good luck, Michael. You need it. And if you want to know how to fight the "deep state" and move forward with your ideas, ask no. 45. He knows.

Too bad, Señorita

Oh man, when I received this USTA-lady's letter I thought what a great submission to LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. She basically took offense with my statement about the USTA Board "awarding each other awards for doing absolutely nothing to grow tennis."  Although she didn't mention the USTA Board, her letter gave a glowing tribute to tennis volunteers and how they are being honored by the USTA each year. She completed her letter with links to an article, video, and press release. Super, I thought.

Well, after I sent her a request to confirm that we'll post her letter, she replied, "Thank you for asking, but my email was solely for your edification." Hu? What a disappointment. So much work, such a fine rebuttal to my statement, and then no más.

I don't understand that. Do you? What am I missing here?

Big shout out to Rod Heckelman

Did you know that one of our longest contributors to TENNIS CLUB BUSINESS is also the only tennis person who is being invited to speak at the annual IHRSA Convention for the last 30 years? If you agree that this is a great accomplishment (hey, USTA, how about an award for this man?) and you happen to be in San Diego this month, go to the Convention Center on March 19 at 2 pm.  Rod's presentation is titled "How Tennis Attracts and Retains New Members." Can't wait for him to write about this in our newsletter.

Hope y'all have a good March.

Rich Neher


PTR​ Indian Wells Tennis Coaches Summit

Caitlyn of the PTR asked me to post this for our readers. 

Join us Thursday, March 12, for the PTR Indian Wells Tennis Coaches Summit at the Palm Valley Country Club. For just $77, you’ll get six hours of the latest in coach education from presenters Jorge Capestany, Tony Huber, Vania King, Amanda Knight, Michele Krause, and Marley Woods, and then enjoy the evening with free grounds passes to the BNP Paribas Open!  

If you’re there Tuesday from 10 am-1 pm, catch Jorge Capestany’s Developing Player Centered Practice ($47). On Wednesday 9 am-4 pm Dean Hollingworth, Tony Huber and Dr. Paul Lubbers join forces for a Performance Coaching Program ($57).

All coaches are welcome and you can register at the door or in advance at 



Not sure why the circumstances around changing the running of the TIA to an outside management company was treated so hush-hush. The new management company is Chicago-based Bostrom ("Bostrom is an association management company offering comprehensive management, consulting and outsourcing to the nonprofit community.")


As always, I suspect there's something they're not telling us. TIA, USTA, USAPA, they're all the same, folks. What they will let us know is always only the tip of the iceberg, designed to cover something up. What is it in the TIA case? Not sure. Maybe the fact that the Bostrom Account Executive for the TIA, Bryan White, has zero tennis experience? I'll keep you posted.

Jolyn de Boer has left the organization effective January 31. I wish her all the best!

Can't wait to get the new State of the Industry Report. Will it be closer to what's really happening in the U.S. world of tennis? Ha, I won't hold my breath. They're using the same data provider as always.


Could it be that Sports Marketing Survey is the only company providing data for the industry? 

Biannual Reader Poll - Spring Survey 2020

Thank you, everyone, for participating in our survey. The winners of a Starbucks Card were Ashley Owens and Steve Riggs. Congratulations.

Detailed analysis of your replies on this page

Message for the person who complained that we don't post USPTA news: We keep asking for press releases but they're just not sending us any. Too bad. Hey, check out all the PTR press releases under TRENDING


I'm glad to read that the PTR has received preliminary approval to be accredited by the USTA. And congratulations to the PTR Board for deciding to remain an independent organization. It's good for our sport and it will make you stronger!

The question is, can the USPTA still be called an independent organization? I heard that USPTA pros will be required to become Safe Sport certified through Net Generation. Will all USPTA members now be required to become Net Generation members? It sure looks like it. Good move, Mr. Morris. That's one way of artificially boosting the NG numbers. 

But, hold, I was asked whether that means the USPTA just gave the USTA their mailing list. My answer: I wouldn't be surprised if that had happened last year already, haha. Bye-bye, independence?


Update on Transgender issues

We had tackled the 'transgender in sports' problem in last year's September issue. (Transgender Confusion Coming to Your Courts Soon.) Remember? According to Wikipedia, people who oppose transgender women competing in women's sports say that they are given an unfair advantage over cisgender women due to higher testosterone levels and different muscle and fat distribution.


Here's a quick update. 

The Wall Street Journal, January 7
States Weigh Measures to Stop Transgender Athletes From Competing in Women's Sports


FOX NEWS, February 13 

Conn. high school girls file lawsuit arguing that allowing transgender athletes to compete is sex discrimination

USA Today, February 25

Ohio lawmakers introduce bill that would ban transgender athletes from girls high school

NBC News, February 26
Connecticut GOP to honor girls suing over transgender sports policy

USAPA and its strained relationship with pickleball seniors

The issue of senior players complaining about tournament directors eliminating age groups and pressuring them into skill levels is not going away. See also Barbara Wintroub's article this month. I was part of an email chain with all sorts of people I had never heard of. Subject: National Senior Games 2021 in Florida. The games are always age group-based. However, that philosophy clashes with the tournament directors of qualifying tournaments, who apparently have to comply with the tournament owner's wishes, and those guys are in line with what some people call a new USAPA Mantra:


1. The future of pickleball is kids and Millennials.

2. Everyone participating should get a medal.

Barbara's article explains it. The result for pickleball qualifying tournaments: More players, more money. 

I guess we have only seen the tip of the iceberg here, again. Can't wait to see what else is being developed in some back office to discourage the good pickleball seniors from competing against their age peers.