You’re a new member? Welcome to QPTC. Here are some notes about membership of our club, or, put another way, Everything You Wanted To Know About Queens Park Tennis Club But Were Too Afraid To Ask.
Subjects covered here include: Court Booking, Keys, Club Sessions, Club competitions, Parks League, Volunteering, Clubhouse, Coaching, About QPTC and Club history
Court Bookings: now that you are a full QPTC member, you can book a court online. You can do this via your computer/tablet, or on your smartphone using the ClubSpark app. The ClubSpark court booking system is not perfect but the App is quick and easy to use. You should download the free ClubSpark App on your smartphone if you haven’t already. An important tip for new and prospective members is this: take care of your log in details. You must keep a clear record of the email and password you used to register online with QPTC. Over 90% of the App booking problems are the result of incorrect log-in details: if you set up two different accounts, or try and use different email accounts, ClubSpark will freeze your account.
Full Adult members get priority booking, which means they can book their courts online seven days in advance. Student members can book courts four days in advance.
Please note that during QPTC club sessions (see below) only non-members are allowed to book courts 5 & 6. Members are unable to book courts 5 & 6 at those times. Making these court available to non-members is part of QPTC’s obligation as a public Parks Club.
Please note that members (or their guest) must pay a £3 per hour court fee when playing with a visitor. Pay by bank transfer, or by dropping off cash in an envelope through the letterbox at the clubhouse. There are usually little brown envelopes at the clubhouse for this purpose. There is no fee when a full QPTC member plays another full QPTC member.
Court keys: courts 1 and 2 are regularly locked, but are open and accessible during peak hours or whenever a coach is present and operating at the club. (Courts 3, 4, 5 & 6 are unlocked). The rest of the time, members need their own court keys to access the courts 1 & 2. Please be aware of that when making a booking. We have a rule that members can access a court key after being a QPTC full adult member for one year, which is why most regular members have a key. Please get in touch with club secretary Alan Sanchez if you would like one. Important: you must lock the padlocks on court if you are the last one to leave. If a court is left open overnight, there will surely be broken glass and vomit, or worse, on court by the next morning.
Clubhouse Keys: for insurance purposes, there has to be a limit on the number of clubhouse keys, so a limited number are issued to club officers (directors, coaches, team captains etc). While there is nearly always someone at the clubhouse with a key, there may be times when you will not be able to access the clubhouse to use the loos etc. There are public loos in the playground in the park.
Club sessions: Members club sessions are held three days a week. It’s all doubles, with semi-random pairings chosen according to availability and standard. Usually there is a club official of some kind there to set up pairings as required. It is a general rule that you only play one set with one partner, and then the winning pairing splits and moves to another court. We play ‘QP sets’, with nine games in total, played out whatever the score (5/4, 6/3, 7/2, 8/1, 9/0). Pairs switch ends after four games. If there are a lot of players waiting, we play seven game sets instead, switching ends after four games.
Throughout the tennis season (April to September) there are three clubs sessions per week:
Monday 6pm til late
Friday 6pm til late
During the winter months, there are only Sunday clubs sessions.
QPTC will occasionally use these Sunday club sessions for informal competitions such as American tournaments. All clubs sessions are free for members. Sometimes prospective or visiting members are invited join, at the discretion of the membership secretary.
Club competitions: We strongly urge all members to take part in the annual club QPTC competition: singles, doubles and mixed doubles. There are two key reasons why you, dear member, should take part. Firstly, all the finals are played on QP Finals Day on the bank holiday weekend at the end of August/ beginning of September. As well as lots of great tennis, this is the most important day in our social calendar, with an open bar, lots of food, cakes, strawberries&cream, and plenty of prizes, and more cakes and more prizes. This includes the annual Brenda Jewell Award for the person who has made the biggest contribution to the club over the last year (elected by members), plus the Most Improved Player, male, female and juniors, also elected by members. We also take our annual club group photo, which is not to be missed.
Secondly, our club competition is great fun because all the doubles pairings are seeded by the tennis committee. Players have no choice who they play with! Instead, good players and not so good players are matched together with the aim of giving everyone a fair chance. It means that a less experienced player, perhaps less confident, will be paired with a stronger player, which can be great fun. It also makes it a very even and fun contest in which nearly anyone has a chance of making a doubles final.
Finally, the most important reason you really need to take part in the annual club comp is the fact that it will pair you with other players, on both sides of the net, whom you may not have met before. In its humble way, it’s competitions like this which bring us together. So when the email comes around every year, don’t ignore it. Take part! It’s what QPTC is all about.
Club Doubles: Every autumn, as the leaves start to fall, QPTC hosts its one day club doubles competitions: mens doubles, ladies doubles and mixed doubles. These individual events are usually held on consecutive weekends in September. The format is typically ‘American’ tournament, with each pair playing each other pair in rotation for 5/6 games. The winners are the pair who win the most games overall by the conclusion of the tournament. Unlike the club competition, these doubles tournaments are not handicapped, so players can select/choose their partners as they wish, depending on availability. All club members are welcome to join in – the competitions tend to fill up very quickly!
The Parks League: First played in 1930, the Brighton & Hove Parks League is one of Britain’s oldest city-wide tennis competitions. The league is contested by the city’s public parks clubs: BLAGSS, Blakers Park, Dyke Park, Hollingbury, Hove, King Alfreds, Park Avenue, Queens Park, Rookery, Saltdean, St Ann’s Well and Stanford.
It’s all about doubles. Each Parks League team is made up of eight players, four female and four male, split into four doubles pairs: mixed 1, mixed 2, mens pair and ladies pair. The competition consists of four divisions of ten teams, each team completing 18 fixtures. Queens Park enters five teams, and they play on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, April to August.
Last we checked our top two teams – Queens, and Queens A – were both in the top division. That might seem a bit weird, but the Queens/Queens A is one of the most furiously contested tennis matches you’ll ever see. Queens is the most successful team in the history of the competition with 25 victories, the last in 2018.
The Parks League is administered by the Brighton & Hove Parks League LTA, who also manage the annual Parks Cup (played at QPTC every July) and End Of Season competition. If you’re interested in representing QPTC, contact the team captains listed on the website. Find out more about the Parks League here.
Volunteering: We are a volunteer-run tennis club. In fact we rely on volunteers to keep us afloat. Painting the clubhouse, clearing up rubbish, digging up weeds and sweeping the courts, tidying the kitchen, not to mention deeply tedious stuff like mail merges, website updates and annual accounts…we do it all ourselves. So if there is a request for assistance with some project or other, please help out. Thank you!
About QPTC: We are a public parks club, not a private members club so non-members are welcome to book a court and play at QPTC. We also host regular community events like Open Days, public concerts and public tennis competitions. We are a Community Interest Company, which means QPTC is a limited company like any other except its assets belong to the community. The club cannot be sold on to outside parties, and it is a non-profit organisation, with any surpluses ploughed back into the club. With serious costs to face, such as resurfacing the tennis courts (two courts costs: +£25,000) QPTC needs to protect its precious revenue from membership, court hire and court fees. If you have any expertise in law, accounting or communications, or you just know how to throw a great party, please get in touch with the committee. We could always do with a hand.
Coaching: Only coaches authorised and approved by QPTC may use our courts for coaching purposes. No unauthorised coaching is allowed: members are not allowed to invite outside coaches to give lessons on QPTC courts. All QPTC coaches are registered LTA coaches, and they are DBS checked.
Social Media: QPTC has active Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, plus an long mailing list. Any interesting, funny or beautiful content is willingly shared so send anything in our direction. We are also looking for any media types who’d be willing to help out with taking photos and posting stuff. Please get in touch.
The Clubhouse: Built in 1930, the QPTC pavilion was cleaned, restored and painted in 2017. In 2018 we secured an alcohol license, and started to rent out the venue for group classes and social events, including private parties. This generates much needed income for QPTC. The clubhouse is open for all club events like juniors classes and club sessions, but members should be aware that there will be times when the clubhouse is closed for private events. We encourage members to host/organise social events, which help to support QPTC. See more details here.
The Clubhouse Bar: The QPTC clubhouse has an alcohol license. Members are encourage to use the bar, or to organise social actives involving the bar. QPTC try to stage various events for members throughout the year, such as Open Mic Night and Quiz Night. These generate useful income for the club. BYO drinking in or around the clubhouse is not encouraged.
History: We’ve been around a while. Queens Park Lawn Tennis Club was founded in 1939, but tennis has been played in the park as early at 1910. In 2017, QPTC successfully campaigned to become an independent, self-funding parks club, operating at a Community Interest Company. This has now become the model for all parks tennis clubs in the city aiming to run their own affairs. Find out more here.