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A Letter from the President

Dear Members,

As we have hit the new year it is has become clear to me that I have now spent just over 10 years as President of Doutta Galla Tennis Club.

I thought that now was a great opportunity to fill you all in on what has been happening behind the scenes at Doutta Galla Tennis Club and to reflect on some other points of interest ( I hear the committee groaning already!!).

Unfortunately this probably doesn’t happen enough.

Apart from the news you receive as things happen at the club through our fantastic e-newsletter, that our Website administrator Tim Benton sends to you all, it is probably beneficial to hear about what is occurring at committee level from time to time.  The ongoing matters, the plans on the table and what the future holds!

I guess the most important thing to remember as members of our great little club, is that the continued loyalty many of you have shown being part of DGTC over so many years is something that never goes un-noticed.  We have a responsibility as those on the committee to make sure that we give back to our members and as members your money goes back into to the club, whether that be buying tennis balls for competition, Christmas breakups or the continual maintenance and upgrades to facilities.

Speaking of facilities – there a number of ongoing matters at the moment that the committee is currently dealing with.

A number of these items are items set out in the clubs business plan that was established  last year – this plan is ongoing and under review on an annual basis.

  • The repair of tree root damage to court 3 – quotes for this repair work have been received by council – as the damage has been caused by trees outside the court area – and unfortunately a council funded repair job means we must wait to have this included in council budgets, a process which could be lengthy, however we will continue to press them on this.
  • Court 2 was recently resurfaced, in that it was pressure washed and new sand put down, this matter was not set out in the clubs business plan but it was determined by committee that it was a necessary measure to gain some added longevity to the court.  This was also a trial and committee has resolved to conduct the same works on Court 1 during the Easter period this year.
  • I mentioned court resurfacing, committee is already starting to think and discuss the planned timeline for a major upgrade to the clubs 3 courts. This will be a discussion that will need to be had over coming months as to a projected realistic outcome.  An exercise like this obviously takes up a considerable amount of clubs funds and the need to raise the funds we are talking about is a lengthy exercise in itself.  The Committee will seek avenues to gain funding from Council and state bodies during this process, however at some point Committee will need to gain feedback from its members in relation to the type of surface the committee looks at.
    • Further to the point mentioned above I am seeking any feedback in the coming months, leading up to the Annual General Meeting with regards to a small  increase in members fees over the next 5 years which will go towards raising funds towards this project.
    • I would suggest that it would be a fixed fee increase and not be any higher than $20 on top of current fee structure.
    • It is also important to note that research into local tennis clubs shows that our membership fees are on average below to average prices within the area, and we are pleased that we continue to offer such affordable prices.  I would like to think that a small increase over this period – given members money goes back into the club will not be something that will be of concern. However all feedback is welcome!
  • Juniors – it must be said that 2 years ago the club appointed Anthony Guccione as Club Coach for a 2 year period, in this time Anthony has taken on the job with great enthusiasm and has thrown everything into the job and developing our junior teams at the club.  Anthony has managed to create a valued connection with Essendon North primary school, something which had been lacking, and he continues to build on this relationship.

It has been a great fit for the club and the rewards for Anthony and his team are now really starting to shine through. Anthony probably spends more time at the club than anyone, including me, and this hard work now sees the club with 4 junior teams, a 100% increase to where we were 2 years ago, not bad for a small club.

I know Anthony uses up a lot of court time, but I ask members to appreciate the job he is doing and a little understanding goes a long way. I know he is very respectful of the clubs members and has fit right in to our little family!

Lastly with regards to Anthony I must mention, that due to his hard work and results Anthony will be with us for the next 3 years at least, as a new contract was just signed recently. Fantastic!

To finish off, I would just like to make mention of a few points with regards to the future of the club.  I think it’s important to realise where the club is going and as to why we do the things we do!

I took on this role as club President because I wanted our club to be better than what it was back then.  Let me be clear it wasn’t bad then! I just thought we could be better, we could achieve more.

I was inspired by Kathy and Graeme Glass to see what they had put into the club and that someone had to be there to help carry that on.  We have tried to give Kath a bit of a holiday from juniors on a Saturday morning  and the 17 years she put in to that role.  I hope Michael myself and Ashley have done  and can continue to do justice to the effort she put in to looking after us back then on a Saturday morning!  The principles and most importantly manners we were taught are something we have tried to carry over into the juniors of today.  The point being that while winning is great, respect and the right attitude is also very important.

Graeme in many ways showed me how to be smart about getting something for our club! While that sounds very basic and almost uneducated its very true!  Graeme has helped me in many ways from my first turbulent 6 months as President to giving me advice in the last 6 months and without his contribution and continued silent contribution the club would be much worse off.

I must also mention the return to committee of Mrs Dianne Linforth (life member).  It is great to see a valued and respected member of our clubs history return to the committee and while it has only been 6 months or so I hope Dianne will inspire others to be more involved with the clubs committee.

So … while we are healthy and we are holding our own on and off the court, I say we should continue to try new things, push ourselves to not be complacent but look to improve on how we operate from logistical nightmares to the simplest of tasks.  I take the attitude that no idea is a bad idea…anything is possible with a little thought!  In ten years we have had great ideas that have worked and we have had not so good ideas! I know my treasurer hates to hear that but it’s true!

We will continue to meet our objectives in upgrading our courts for the next 10-15 years, we will continue to strive to bring in new juniors into the club and in doing so create the future membership base for our club, while ensuring the tight family atmosphere we have today continues to remain.

The one thing special about DGTC is that most of members know each other unlike big clubs and if you feel like you’re not part of it , then I say get involved!

Last of all, I said to our treasurer over a few drinks recently that perhaps if not for anything else an upstairs room on our clubhouse was needed to house the many more premiership flags coming our way in the next 50 years, to which she looked at me, got up and walked away!!!  Stay tuned!

I want to thank a few people over the last ten years;

  • The Mann Family for all the work they have put in Annette / Michael both secretaries, Michael for his valued support within the club and on going matters we deal with and also the juniors. Ashley for being a part of the team in earlier years!
  • Glass Family, I have already mentioned Kathy and Graeme and there contribution to our club, that will never be forgotten and Kat for all the work she has done in helping us achieve what we have achieved in the last ten years.  Her financial expertise has been exceptional, a skill I’m sure Graeme will claim is his doing!!!
  • Tim for his work with our website, in making something I hoped for a reality and if do say so myself , one of the sharpest looking sites going around in tennis club land, thanks Tim.  Also to the rest of the Benton Family for its continued support of the club and contribution it has made over the years.  It doesn’t go un-noticed.
  •  To Trev and Wazza for their help and support over the years – in just doing stuff! That’s all that needs to be said!
  • Linforth Family – not only Dianne for all the years of dedication she put into the club but also her brother John (a former Preisident) who also had much influence over me growing up at the club.
  • Others – Marg Campbell, Karen Relf.



Aaron Sharpe

Doutta Galla Tennis Club – President