History of the Winchester Tennis Association – WTA
Since 1929 (Yes, for 87 years!), the non-profit Winchester Tennis Association (WTA) has been promoting tennis on Winchester’s public clay courts, which grew from an initial 8 courts, to 11, and finally in 1967 to the present 15 courts. In 1991 the WTA hired the Forest Hills clay court expert to evaluate these courts. He recommended an in-ground pond-fed sprinkler system to serve all the courts with minimal labor and no demand on the public water supply. He also recommended a higher quality commercial topping for the courts. The WTA raised $12,000 and much volunteer labor to cover most of the sprinkler system installation, and the Town agreed to up-grade to Har Tru, the brand name of the specialized topping best suited to our courts. With these WTA inspired changes and the devoted daily care of the late Don Ellis, the Packer-Ellis tennis courts became known as one of New England’s finest public courts facility. In 2014, the WTA also held a fund raiser for the acquisition and installation of a new “hitting wall!” The committee raised $28,000 for this endeavor!
With Don’s passing several years ago, court quality slowly slipped. The courts were in transition. We studied DVD’s on court maintenance, talked to folks at other clay court clubs…public and private… and hired a consultant to help us arrive at improvement priorities. We wrote the Town Selectmen and worked with Winchester Recreation Department Director, Chris Nelson to implement these recommendations. As a result, town employee Glen Doyle was put in charge of court maintenance and ultimately became the Court Supervisor succeeding the beloved Vinnie Palumbo. Summer trees were trimmed, more topping was added, sprinkler system adjustments made. The WTA and Rec. Dept. jointly funded Glen to a 2-day course on court maintenance sponsored by Har-Tru. Glen is working extremely hard to improve the courts, and the results over the past several years are spectacular! The WTA also received 25 sponsors for new benches and the Town worked with us to install new concrete platforms for the benches on the upgraded and landscaped hillside park complete with picnic bench!
We understand the facility is so important but after all we can’t forget the “TENNIS!!” We now offer 3 major tournaments, 2 tournament parties and our very popular weekly Friday night Mixed/Social Round Robins, Saturday morning Women’s and Men’s Doubles, and Sunday morning Mixed Doubles. What makes the Packer-Ellis Courts a slice of “tennis heaven” facility are the 15 Har-Tru clay courts and an enthusiastic tennis community of over 450 folks who love to play and connect. It’s a very rare combination. Just drive by on a nice weekend morning!
All the facility stuff is so important but after all we can’t forget the “TENNIS!!” We now offer 3 major tournaments, 2 tournament parties and our very popular weekly Friday night Mixed/Social Round Robins. What makes the Packer-Ellis Courts a slice of “tennis heaven” facility are the 15 Har-Tru clay courts and an enthusiastic tennis community of over 450 folks who love to play and connect. It’s a very rare combination. Just drive by on a nice weekend morning!