December 22nd, 2021Tennis love match moving to its final set
A LONG, hard slog appears to be approaching an end with the $2 million-plus redevelopment of the Daylesford Lawn Tennis Club.
Central to the project is the creation of four all-weather courts (some floodlit) that can be used at night, ending the annual April to October shutdown.
Known for having one of the best country grass courts in the State, Daylesford used to attract many Melbourne players on weekends such as the Australia Day and Labour Day weekends. Now it still draws city players during events such as ChillOut.
Club secretary David Tindal says the project has been moving slowly for the nine years he has been in the position, but now the council has given permission for rezoning and sub-dividing, there was fresh impetus.
It took six years to get the land rezoned residential, with a massive amount of work continuing to be done by club president Dr Greg Malcher, pictured.
The club has satisfied all but three of 25 council subdivision conditions. Under state law, the council gets five per cent of the purchase price, but Dr Malcher hopes that this may be returned in some form.
There will be five grass and four all-weather courts in the top area. The first four of the 10 grass courts will become all-weather courts. “Juniors don’t learn to serve and volley on grass,” says Dr Malcher. “All-weather courts are rallying courts.”
As well, senior players will be able to use them in late autumn and early spring.
The present fifth grass court will provide access to two or three lower courts. All up, this will give the club 11 or 12 courts.
The clubhouse, an old farm building that was moved in many years ago, will go, to be replaced by a new one. Originally, the club was with the bowling club in Camp Street, but moved in the 1940s to what Dr Malcher says was then the outskirts of town.
The 110-member club has owned the land for many decades. The sold land may be used for townhouses. All up, 7300 square metres will be sold in the block bordered by West, Albert, Perrins and Raglan streets.
“We’re not going to end up with $1million in our pockets,” says Dr Malcher, noting delays caused by the pandemic and ever-rising building costs.
“The physical clubrooms and courts will just be the environment for, literally, fun and games.”
As well as the money from the sale, the club is seeking state and federal grants, but not relying on them, Mr Tindal said. If possible, it would like the sold land to include low-cost social housing, but this could not be guaranteed.
Dr Malcher recalled a visit five years ago by the manager of the Albert Grounds in Melbourne where players practice for the Australian Open who said the Daylesford courts were as good as his. Dr Malcher paid tribute to the volunteer curator, Peter Risstrom and the volunteer team who mow and line the courts.
As for the date of the opening of the new clubhouse and courts, Dr Malcher said: “Optimistically, four to six months, but I’ve been saying four to six months for quite a while.”
Words: Kevin Childs | Image: Contributed