South

In Weymouth, a club not just for tennis anymore

A swimmer dives off the blocks into in an indoor-outdoor pool at The Weymouth Club, which hosted the US Tennis Association National Indoor Championships for Girls 18 and under this November, a high-profile event for the club billed as a family-friendly fitness, wellness, and recreation facility on the South Shore. . Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe (SoWk, seltzj)
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
A swimmer dives off the blocks into an indoor-outdoor pool at the Weymouth Club.

On an ordinary day, the Weymouth Club is bustling, the blocks-long, two-story building teeming with swimmers doing laps and exercises in heated and super-heated pools, spinners feverishly cycling in place, deep-breathing men and women practicing yoga, paunchy men hefting weights, and serious fitness buffs honing their chiseled abs.

Elsewhere in the sprawling complex, which from the outside looks like a massive gray airplane hangar interspersed with giant white bubbles that cover tennis courts and pools, toddlers scamper across a rope bridge and classes of youngsters dance with scarves; over in the spa, post-exercise bodies are massaged, wrapped, scrubbed, and waxed.

The Weymouth Club, a collection of buildings including inflatable buildings covering pools and tennis courts, hosted the US Tennis Association National Indoor Championships for Girls 18 and under this November, a high-profile event for the club billed as a family-friendly fitness, wellness, and recreation facility on the South Shore. . Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe (SoWk, seltzj)
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
The Weymouth Club complex includes inflatable buildings covering pools and tennis courts.

And usually there’s lots of tennis going on at the club’s 15 indoor courts.

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On four far-from-ordinary days in late November, though, those courts were taken over by 64 of the top-ranked young women in the country, competing in the US Tennis Association National Indoor Championships for Girls 18 and under.

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More than 200 tennis enthusiasts flocked to watch the event, which featured singles and doubles matches and culminated in the award of the prestigious Gold Ball. Michelle Sorokko won the singles championship; the doubles champions were Rachel Lim and Amber O’Dell.

Kollie Allen competes in the US Tennis Association National Indoor Championships for Girls 18 and under at The Weymouth Club, a high-profile event for the club billed as a family-friendly fitness, wellness, and recreation facility on the South Shore. . Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe (SoWk, seltzj)
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
Kollie Allen competing in the US Tennis Association National Indoor Championships for Girls 18 and under held in late November at the Weymouth Club.

This was the first year the Weymouth Club was chosen to host the event, said its tennis director, Mike Hodge, who said the club is proud of the honor.

“We have a long tradition in tennis,” he added.

The tradition had a quirky start, dating back to the mid-1970s.

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Joseph and Mildred Finnell, owners of Finnell Properties, had just bought industrial land off West Street that they would develop into the Route 3 Industrial Park. According to their son Michael, who would later co-manage the club for a few years with his sister, the couple had just discovered and fallen in love with tennis.

They combined that passion with their new business venture and built the Weymouth Tennis Club in the industrial park, on the theory that a tennis club would be a great amenity and “cornerstone” for the locale, Michael Finnell said.

The club had eight outdoor clay courts and eight indoor asphalt ones, as well as an outdoor pool, saunas, and a restaurant, Finnell said. Eventually, it was surrounded by scores of large warehouses and commercial businesses.

Finnell said his family ran the club for about a decade, until “we realized that the industry was changing and the tennis facility needed to become a monthly dues-paying multi-recreational facility.” And, he added, “we decided that Finnell Properties needed to focus on its other commercial and residential real estate endeavors.”

Tedeschi Realty Group, run by the family best known for the grocery chain, bought the club and ran it until 1988, when Steve Goldman, the club’s first tennis pro, and his wife, Sally, bought it.

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They have since turned the renamed Weymouth Club into what industry observers say is one of the largest health and fitness clubs in the area, with 200,000 square feet of facilities. Memberships for individuals start at about $100 a month.

“We can’t say enough about the work they are doing to better the lives of others,” said Shannon Vogler, spokeswoman for the Boston-based International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association. She said the Weymouth Club has been a member of the industry advocacy group for more than 30 years, and holds a position on its leadership council.

“They’ve been able to stay successful despite increased competition and an ever-evolving industry,’’ said her colleague Meredith Poppler, “by knowing their market and treating their members like family.’’

Vogler said her association doesn’t release information about the size or age of its member clubs. But the group provides more general statistics that show the fitness and health club industry has boomed over the years.

The latest report shows that the number of health clubs in the United States grew from 30,500 in 2012 to 36,540 in 2016. The number of health club memberships also increased, from 50.2 million in 2012 to 57.3 million last year.

The report said nearly 25 percent of Massachusetts residents belong to a health or fitness club — a participation rate second only to Connecticut’s in the United States.

In 2016, Massachusetts had 1,003 fitness clubs that generated $652 million in revenue and employed 41,123 people, the statistics showed.

The Weymouth Club doesn’t disclose its revenue or membership numbers. But Hodge estimated it has 9,000 members and said it has been constantly evolving — adding new programs, tweaking old ones, and building new indoor and outdoor facilities.

The Goldmans were all about tennis. They met on a tennis court, and grew up playing on the clay courts at the historic Quincy Tennis Club. He was a coach and had been named tennis pro of the year by the US Tennis Association. She had been a number-one-ranked New England junior player in 1979.

But as they write on the Weymouth Club’s website, “in business, as in tennis, you must stay on your toes.” So as they saw the trend moving toward aerobic exercise, the Goldmans pivoted and in the 1990s added a fitness center and group exercise studio. Next came a child-care center where youngsters could play while their parents worked out.

Over 17 renovations, they added indoor and outdoor pools, a splash pad with a giant toy airplane that sprays water everywhere, a spinning studio, and a hot yoga space.

Three years ago, the club opened a spa, mind-body center, and youth tennis center, and more recently built courts for pickleball — a cross between tennis, table tennis, and badminton that’s become popular with seniors.

There are swim teams, summer camps, and dance classes for children and adults, and a constant stream of programs and special events.

“We have new investments coming in technology, [and] we’re redesigning our group cycling studio [to] include virtual rides and heart-rate technology,” said Jeff Linn, the club’s executive director.

Other plans include a redesign of the fitness space to make room for more equipment and group training, he said.

Rachid Lavibi in works out with free weights in the gym section of The Weymouth Club, which hosted the US Tennis Association National Indoor Championships for Girls 18 and under this November, a high-profile event for the club billed as a family-friendly fitness, wellness, and recreation facility on the South Shore. . Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe (SoWk, seltzj)
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
Rachid Lavibi working out with free weights in the gym section of the Weymouth Club.
Mike Zhang, 13, of Dallas, TX, shoots hoops at The Weymouth Club, which hosted the US Tennis Association National Indoor Championships for Girls 18 and under this November, a high-profile event for the club billed as a family-friendly fitness, wellness, and recreation facility on the South Shore. . Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe (SoWk, seltzj)
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
Mike Zhang, 13, visiting from Dallas, shooting hoops at the Weymouth Club.
Tanner Evriviades, 3, of Hingham, plays in the children's water-park features of an indoor-outdoor pool at The Weymouth Club, which hosted the US Tennis Association National Indoor Championships for Girls 18 and under this November, a high-profile event for the club billed as a family-friendly fitness, wellness, and recreation facility on the South Shore. . Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe (SoWk, seltzj)
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
Tanner Evriviades, 3, of Hingham, enjoying the children's water-park features of a pool at the club.

But the heart of the club remains the tennis program, which has 15 instructors and about 1,000 participants, Hodge said. That includes upward of 200 youths playing recreationally and about 100 others in the “high performance” program — one of whom, Maria Mateas of Braintree, is ranked professionally.

“Tennis is a sport that teaches discipline, honesty, and integrity; it’s also a sport that players can play for a lifetime,” he said. “And that’s one of the things at the club that we are most proud of, that students have all the tools to be successful in life.”

On the club’s Web page, the Goldmans summed up the philosophy: “Weymouth Club is a place where family members of all fitness levels and ages — from babies to seniors — can move, learn and grow in the spirit of good health.”

Andrea Cerdan competes in the US Tennis Association National Indoor Championships for Girls 18 and under at The Weymouth Club, a high-profile event for the club billed as a family-friendly fitness, wellness, and recreation facility on the South Shore. . Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe (SoWk, seltzj)
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe
Andrea Cerdan during her match in the USTA National Indoor Championships for Girls 18 and under held recently in Weymouth.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com