OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Treasure Oak Country Club in Ocean Springs is hoping an open house to celebrate its 50th anniversary will give a much needed boost to the membership rolls. Treasure Oak is well known for developing some of the best tennis players in the state. However, officials said in these tough economic times, they're having to find innovative ways to court new members.
On the Treasure Oak courts could be the young girl or boy who goes on to become the next Serena Williams or Roger Federer. The junior tennis program at Treasure Oaks Country club starts children at age 4 and develops their skills all they way to up age 18.
"I've been playing for four years seriously, and my stroke has improved and my game has improved a lot," said Abby Chapman.
Tyler Maher, another junior player, said, "Anybody can do it if they put the dedication to it. Some people are better at it because they have the natural talent to play tennis. But anybody can do it if they put a lot of dedication and hard work. "
Treasure Oak currently has 60 ranked junior tennis players. There is a long history here of producing quality players who've signed college scholarships.
Steven Pennington is the Manager and Tennis Director and said making it to 50 years is special.
"It's really cool here because what happens is we have adult members who were little kids years ago. I've been here 24 years. I remember when they were little kids and now their kids' kids are coming in and playing and doing really well," Pennington said. "I think that's one of the strengths is all that history here."
With all the tennis success, Treasure Oak is also looking to enhance other aspects of the country club. Members said they are planning to build a kayak storage facility and make other improvements to attract new members of various interests.
"Like any club, right now with the economic times where they are you've got to go out there and you've got to show people a reason to join a club. We've got a great pool. We have a lighted pier, boat launch, a fitness room," said Pennington.
Treasure Oak officials said by keep their overall membership numbers strong they can guide young people with dreams of playing pro tennis reach their goals.
Young Tyler Maher has his future all mapped out.
"Might be a lot of hard work, but in today's economy everything is about money," said Tyler. "In tennis, you can make a lot of money. I would like to play college tennis and make a living at it so I don't have to go work somewhere else for like $7.25 an hour."
Treasure Oak also held a Kids Fishing Rodeo and an open house over the weekend to showcase the pool and other amenities.