By Bob James
At Edinburgh Sports Club 16 private clubs were hosted in the morning session with 24 representatives present, while the afternoon sitting saw 16 of Scotland’s 32 Local Authorities represented by 27 attendees from Glasgow to Kingussie, with Tennis Scotland’s CEO Blane Dodds describing our contribution as “invaluable” to proceedings in the capital.
Coming at the end of a year that was the official launch of padel in the UK by the LTA and in which Scotland is on schedule to double its padel playing offering to 32 courts, with Padel Tech collaborating with ‘TS’ to help produce their flagship Aberdeen Padel Tennis Centre at Westburn Park in June, we have been at the forefront of the game’s growth in Alba.
Thus, reflecting on a gathering of the great and the good at which he produced the keynote presentation, Andy was delighted at the solidification of our relationship with padel’s governing body in Scotland and the chance to enlighten local authorities and private clubs alike on how they can make the most of our services.
Andy said: “It was great to talk to clubs and Local Authorities from all over Scotland from Inverness to Elie and from Kingussie to Glasgow and help them understand the services Padel Tech offer.
“But it is also just really nice to meet people from all over the country who are passionate about padel and want to introduce it to their venue or improve the offering they already have there.
“Also nice that they are so keen to find out what Padel Tech stands for and what we can offer and how we can help them on their journey with padel at their venues as each one of these journeys will be unique.
“Of course we were at ESC to support Tennis Scotland as they are pivotal to how the clubs will survive and thrive with padel coming in there, so assisting Tennis Scotland in looking at their development plan in terms of their Regional Centre and National Centre is important.
“Looking at the Westburn Park Centre up at Aberdeen, the integration of their funding into the centre was just phenomenal and hopefully it will bleed down to other clubs who will get the benefit from it.”
Tennis Scotland CEO Blane Dodds was delighted with Padel Tech’s contribution and also keen to cite host venue ESC, whose club manager JJ Tait hosted proceedings, as a shining example of our work and the success padel can bring to venues across our green and sometimes sodden land.
Blane shared: “It has been invaluable to have Padel Tech along in terms of providing intel with regard to a route to market, planning, construction, costs but also revealing the pitfalls they have seen with regard to planning and construction.
“So that detail has been really useful. They have put in a huge number of courts across Britain and now Europe and they are incredibly experienced regarding padel court installation.
“Of course it is up to the venues who they choose to bring in when it comes to procurement but this was about getting as much information as we can out there for those who are interested in developing their own padel facilities.
“Also informing our delegates about the market needs in terms of supply and demand which we have been told off today reflects the massive demand out there for padel courts but the lack of supply.
“So we are right at the start of this growth curve in padel and it’s a massive opportunity for our venues to bring another racket sport to their facility which will help them bring more members, customers, and potentially investment to their venues which will also help their sustainability and development.
“We now have 24 courts in Scotland and are on target for 32 by year end with a number of other projects in the pipeline for next year so there is massive growth for padel in Scotland ahead of us.”
Tennis Scotland’s CEO added: “I was also delighted that Edinburgh Sports Club hosted us here as they have a real success story in terms of having installed padel, (with a little help from Padel Tech), as have many other clubs who have introduced the sport.
“So, this has been about bringing together venues who are interested in developing padel facilities whether that is a tennis or sports club, a local authority, leisure trust operators or universities.”
Conference host JJ Tait was also passionate in his praise of Padel Tech’s services which he described as “transformative” to ESC’s fortunes in recent years.
JJ revealed: “Padel Tech built our courts and they are the experts in the UK. They have built the highest number of courts and they have built them at the market leading venues and they are a Scottish company which is brilliant. So it has been very worthwhile having them here for sure.
“Really padel has been transformative, we can now afford to do things we could not do before. With the pandemic kicking squash in the teeth, padel has given us that extra impetus to make sure that ESC can go for another 86 years.”
JJ also had no doubt about the value of the conference and he said: “It is absolutely vital and it’s terrific for Tennis Scotland to hold this at ESC just from the simple fact that people don’t know enough about padel in Scotland.”
Also in attendance in the capital and representing Bridge of Allan Sports Club was the Stirlingshire venue’s tennis and padel convener Malcolm Dickson who was delighted at the information he garnered from the event.
Malcolm said: “The conference was very useful as we are looking to extend our offering of padel at Bridge of Allan Sports Club and it’s good to hear how other people see the growth of the sport and the potential there is for expansion of padel in Scotland at their venues.
“As one of the first clubs to install a padel court we really need to be joining that group of people who see that potential.”