The Grove Tennis Club

The Grove Tennis Club - History

If you can assist us with more information about the club’s history we’d love to hear from you, email [email protected]

Overview

The Grove Tennis Club has a rich and vibrant history as old as the municipality of Elizabeth itself. Its origins lie with the first tennis courts built in Elizabeth at the Elizabeth Grove Methodist Church, Elizabeth Grove in 1956.  The first public courts in Elizabeth were built in 1958, at the Elizabeth Tennis Club, from which the Grove also has strong origins.  From those humble beginnings a thriving tennis community developed and morphed over time.  In 2009  Elizabeth, Salisbury &Districts Tennis Association, (ES&DTA), Elizabeth Tennis Club and The Grove Tennis Club (formerly Elizabeth South Methodist and Elizabeth Grove Uniting Church) amalgamated creating what today is known as The Grove Tennis Club.

 

Grove Tennis Club Timeline

1956: The first tennis courts in Elizabeth were built at the Elizabeth Grove Methodist Church, Elizabeth Grove in 1956.

1956: The Methodist Club (which later went through a few name changes to become The Grove Tennis Club) entered senior teams in the Adelaide Methodist Tennis Association and junior teams in a local tri-church inter-club competition together with Salisbury Methodist and Salisbury Congregational Church Clubs.

1958: The Elizabeth Tennis Club, the first public tennis club in Elizabeth was formed.

1959: On the 17th August the first Executive Committee Meeting of the Elizabeth-Salisbury & Districts Tennis Association was held.  At that meeting the following tennis clubs were accepted into the Association: Elizabeth, Salisbury North, Salisbury Methodist Church, Salisbury Congregational Church, Salisbury Church of Christ, and Elizabeth South Methodist Church.

The first Officers of the Association were Bill Laidlaw (President), Reg Driver (Secretary), Frank Bolton (Assistant Secretary) and Valerie Driver (Treasurer). The Association soon expanded to include teams from Virginia, Two Wells, Angle Vale, Para Hills and other churches in the Elizabeth area.

1981/1982: After 20 years of play during Saturday afternoons and often experiencing extreme temperatures, the club opened its first night tennis competitions which still thrive today.  The Association was arguably the first in the metropolitan area to provide competitive night tennis for its players.

1982: The Jubilee 150 Committee was formed with its mission to celebrate the milestone by building a sorely needed Tennis Centre for the people of Elizabeth.  The committee comprised Elizabeth Councillor, Marion Johnson (Chairman), Pauline Frost, Eddie Taylor, Brian Lambert, Jackie Atherton and Valerie Driver.

1988: Failing to secure the required funds for the 1986 Jubilee 150, the club set its sights on the Australian Bicentennial Year 1988.  A grant was obtained which would attract a 2 for 1 matching grant by the then Elizabeth Council. The site on the corner of Oldham and Mark Roads, Elizabeth Vale was chosen as the most suitable location for the Centre.

The Bicentennial Tennis Centre was built mainly by volunteer tennis players under the leadership of another tennis player, Terry Brougham. Assistance was provided by the Elizabeth and Gilles Plains TAFE College students, and also people from the State Government’s Correctional Services program.

The Tennis Centre initially consisted of 12 first class bitumen, colour-coated tennis courts, all well-lit for night tennis, a bitumen car-park, and a large pine-log clubhouse with toilets, showers, canteen, committee room, store room, a large carpeted area for functions, a storage shed and a paved patio area with outdoor tables.
The Centre remained the property of the Elizabeth (now Playford) Council while the Association held the lease, managed the competitions and provided a sub-committee (Bicentennial Tennis Centre Committee) to look after the day-to-day running and maintenance of the Centre.

The Bicentennial Tennis Centre would go on to be the home of tennis up until its relocation to the Playford Tennis Centre in 2017.

2009:  Although the number of players using the Bicentennial tennis centre remained fairly constant, by 2009 there were only 3 clubs left in the Association: Elizabeth, Salisbury Uniting Church and The Grove (formerly Elizabeth South Methodist and Elizabeth Grove Uniting Church). The clubs subsequently decided on an amalgamation between the ES&DTA, the Elizabeth Tennis Club and The Grove Tennis club, with The Grove Tennis Club taking over the lease of the Bicentennial tennis centre which was held with the Playford council. The assets of the Association were divided between the three clubs, with the Salisbury club deciding to branch out in their own area.

Tennis continued to flourish at the Bicentennial Tennis centre under a new management structure. The Managers SATA (SA Tennis Academy) operated under the direction of The Grove Tennis Club were responsible for providing competitions and management of the facility.  SATA resigned in March 2017.

2017: The Club moved to its current home at the Playford Tennis Centre, Spruance Rd. Elizabeth East under its new management Tennisgear.