Award acknowledges hard work in turning club around

Pirates Squash Club members Matt Morton (left) and Gareth van Coller at the award-winning club...
Pirates Squash Club members Matt Morton (left) and Gareth van Coller at the award-winning club yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Pirates Squash Club is the best in the country and it has the trophy to prove it.

It was named club of the year at the annual Squash New Zealand awards in Auckland earlier this month.

It got the nod ahead of Hawke’s Bay Squash Rackets club.

Club president Gareth van Coller said Pirates stood out because of its financial turnaround and impressive growth.

The facilities have also been given a lick of paint and upgraded.

"Since the start of 2017 we’ve turned it around from a $5500 loss to a $34,500 profit," van Coller said.

"We’ve had some grant funding in that as well but we have offered different membership structures and also introduced a new member programme."

Membership has grown from 80 in 2017 to 133.

"It is quite a significant number for a city like Dunedin," he said.

At a time when clubs are struggling for membership, the growth at Pirates Squash Club is commendable.

A key to that growth has been tailoring the membership packages to suit modern lifestyles, van Coller said.

"The big factor that we recognised which worked for us is having a target market.

"We targeted 20 to 40-year-olds and people that want to work on their fitness levels.

"We target that market the way the gyms do."

The club has also made improvements to the facilities and "tried to lift it out of the 1980s".

"We had a working bee to paint the whole club in January. And through grant money we replaced the carpet and replaced the rotten wooden windows."

Van Coller said the award was great recognition for all the hard work done by the club members and would, hopefully, help it when chasing grant money in the future.


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