Still in its first year of operation, Goose Creek Club keeps developing its appeal. For starters, the club has continued to add more tennis courts, including the only clay courts in Oxford.
“It’s been a great complement to the city courts,” says Barney Chadwick, Goose Creek’s general manager and tennis director, who served as director of tennis for the city of Jackson for 15 years before becoming general manager on the private side at the River Hills Club there. “Tennis is one of the few sports where more is better. In tennis, you don’t want to be the only game in town.”
Chadwick points out that clay courts are easier on players’ joints. “We’ve really had a nice niche that we’ve filled, especially with the clay courts and Oxford being a destination for retirees. For young players, they really have to work with the clay in developing their strategy and how points are set up, because everything slows down. What’s surprising is that as great of a tennis town Oxford is, there were no clay courts.”
One of the club’s “star players,” Chadwick says, has helped guide the evolution. Marty Pearson, recently inducted into the Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame, “is in his 60s, and he’s won three or four national championships in the last two years in doubles,” Chadwick says. “He loves clay.”
While the facilities are obviously important, the key to a great club, Chadwick says, is programming, with the goal of having the club feel like a home away from home. Whether playing tennis or gathering around the fire pit on the patio for a glass of wine and lunch, members and guests have gotten comfortable at Goose Creek.
“There are a lot of members who have adopted or moved in,” says Chadwick.
It’s also a popular spot for private events such as rehearsal dinners and parties, flowing from inside the dining room onto the covered patio and out to the terrace and poolside areas.
The response has been great, Chadwick says, for the child care offering at Goose Creek, with kids excited to be there while parents play tennis or take advantage of recent equipment upgrades in the workout area with Fitness Director Ryan Griffin. “He lives it, and he’s very, very passionate,” Chadwick says. “We have a very active schedule of classes.”
Goose Creek also has teamed with Oxford’s Southern Star Yoga for yoga classes and with Rigby Rodgers from Therapeutic Bliss to provide massage therapy. “He had some of his original training at the Beau Rivage,” Chadwick says. “He takes a nice, medical kind of approach. It’s something we’ve just introduced for members.”
Tennis and Swimming
A talented staff keeps members in the swing of tennis. In addition to Chadwick and his brother, Billy Chadwick, former longtime Ole Miss men’s tennis coach, Goose Creek Pro Mike Bryan’s lengthy, impressive resume includes time as head pro at the prestigious New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club and as coach on tour with former top 10 player in the world Chanda Rubin. Bo Petro, the club’s assistant manager—and owner of Tre Amici restaurant downtown—is involved at Goose Creek not only in tennis but in food and beverage. A former Ole Miss tennis player, Petro instructs tennis lessons.
“We have a strong youth program in place,” Chadwick says. “Last fall, we developed pretty extensive in-club leagues, to get people started, just for fun—kind of complementing the USTA leagues, but not as formal. We’re big promoters of the USTA leagues, but it takes a little while for clubs to build those up.”
The club will soon add more competitive tournaments on the tennis side, including a member-guest event in the late spring.
Goose Creek also is developing a swim team Chadwick describes as a “country club-type team,” not competing with year-round programs such as that at the Turner Center at Ole Miss. “We will most likely tie in with Memphis (clubs). It’s such a positive thing, geared toward youngsters … They learn a sport and skill they’ll keep the rest of their lives. The meets will be fun because all the family folks come out. We will coordinate swim team practice to coincide with our summer, morning tennis camps.”
Goose Creek Club is located at the end of Anderson Road, across from the east Wellsgate community entrance, on a wooded 10 acres. Amenities include a full-service pro shop; fitness gym with state of the art cardio equipment; strength stations and free weights; dedicated spin room; a full class schedule including aerobics, yoga, and pilates; plush locker rooms with steam rooms; massage; a grill and bar; and child care.
For more information, call (662) 380-5055 or visit GooseCreekClub.com.
— Tad Wilkes, email@example.com