Ranch tennis club going strong after 46 years

Every day at the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club, one can hear the healthy thwaks of rackets hitting balls, the sound of people playing the sport of a lifetime. All that's needed is friend to play with and a love of the game to keep on swinging through the years.

The Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club is quite the idyllic locale to play the game, sharing a lush corner with the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club on Via de la Cumbre. Beautiful landscape surrounds the club's 12 courts; three are clay, nine hard courts. Only Covenant residents can be members of the club although non-members can take lessons and participate in camps.

Currently the club has 350 members and women are the most active. A total of 150 women participate in the club's ladies league play, at all different skill levels. The women fill out four leagues throughout the league to the men's two.

The clubhouse is scenic, opening right up into one of the front tennis courts. Built in 1992, the clubhouse has high-beamed ceilings, light pouring in from numerous windows, a fully stocked pro-shop and brand new leather furniture from a spring remodel. The remodel also brought a flat-screen TV, tuned in all last week to Wimbledon action.

"It's the most beautiful club in the area," said member Kathy Stumm. "It's looking better than ever."

The club, founded in 1962, has a rich history. One group of men has played at 8 a.m. every Saturday morning for the last 20 years. Another member, Pat Todd, is a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion.

Then there's Dophie Poiset. The club tennis professional in charge of the juniors and ladies tennis programs has been a fixture at the club for 24 years.

Poiset, a San Diego native who now lives in Cardiff, grew up in a tennis family. Her mother was a nationally ranked senior tennis player and a grand prix umpire. Poiset began playing at age eight and as a junior tennis player became a national champion. She played number one singles at San Diego State University before going on to work as a teacher for several years.

Eventually she left the classroom for the court, heading back to tennis to teach lessons to kids and run the ladies programs.

"It's an environment where I can work with children and do what I love most, play tennis," said Poiset. "I'm very fortunate and blessed. Most people don't get to work at something they really love."

Poiset, like most of the club's pros, spends about eight to 10 hours a day on the court and has the great tan to prove it. She also serves as the club's social director, always taking time to share smiles and hellos with everyone. She'll even help members find partners to play with.

"We want them to feel like they have a home here at the tennis club," said Poiset.

Socials are held monthly at the club and they hold an annual Christmas party as well as a Wimbledon Whites Tournament where everyone wears white and plays with wooden rackets. Poiset said they are busy year-round, there's no such thing as a slow season.

Poiset said what makes the club so special is its family-friendly feel along with the rich tradition of the sport being played there.

"Tennis is a sport that has a tradition of etiquette," said Poiset. "It's one of the only sports left with a tradition of etiquette and a value of sportsmanship over winning."

To learn more about camps or how to become a member of the club, visit

www.rsftennis.com

or call (858) 756-4459.

   
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