The History of the Salt Lake Tennis & Health Club
The Salt Lake Tennis Club was founded in 1912 and for 105 years our club has been the home for tennis in Utah. It has a storied past not only relating to Utah tennis history but to our nation. Did you know that the Salt Lake Tennis Club hosted the US National Clay Court championships in the 1940’s? Did you know that such tennis legends as Tony Trabert, Andre Agassi, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, and Jim Osbourne competed at the Club. With the building of the indoor courts, the club became the home to the Western Collegiate Hardcourt Championships in the 1960’s.
The Tennis Club’s first location was at the Victory Park courts on 10th East and in the 1930’s it moved to 9th East, adjacent to the Forest Dale Golf Course. In 1963 it moved to its current location on 17th East near Sugar House Park and was re-named the Salt Lake Swimming and Tennis Club.
During the club’s first 101 years the club was owned by the members. As times changed, the club began experiencing financial difficulties and by 2013 it faced the possibility that it would be taken over by the bank and sold for an alternate use.
After extended conversations with the club’s board and membership, in the fall of 2013 Laury Hammel purchased the club in order to keep this important community institution alive and well. Laury has a long history with the Salt Lake Swimming and Tennis club. His father, Lee, managed the club in the 1950’s and 1960’s and during his tenure the membership grew and the first pool at the club was built. Laury and his siblings grew up at the club where they enjoyed summers and learned how to play and compete in the great sport of tennis. When the club moved to its new location on 1700 East, Laury was its first janitor and worked at the club until he graduated from the U in 1971.
Laury loves to teach and coach tennis and he continues to teach nationally ranked players. In 2000 the Lee and Ruby Hammel family was selected as the USTA National Tennis Family of the Year. Laury is a member of the New England Tennis Hall of Fame and he has coached more New England #1 players than any coach in New England. He is thrilled with the quality of the Club’s tennis professionals, the excellence of its programs, and the extraordinary success of our young junior athletes!
Laury has joined forces with a team of tennis professionals who share his values and enthusiasm for the sport of tennis. The new managers of the club include Mike Trabert and Karen Sato-both have stellar reputations as inspiring tennis leaders. The long history of success at Laury Hammel’s Tennis Camps is being enhanced and customized for our community in our Salt Lake Tennis Camps.
Since Laury purchased the club in the fall of 2013, he has invested significant capital in upgrading the facility, building a team of highly-skilled professionals, and developing extraordinary tennis programs. Our team teaches tennis using a system that is fun and ensures our students will improve their tennis game. The positive improvements and upgrades that Laury and his team made happen include:
- Hired a team of highly accomplished tennis professionals and trained the tennis staff so that the Salt Lake Tennis & Health Club once again offers the premier tennis programs in Utah.
- Resurfaced the indoor courts 1-5, 14-18 and leveled the root damage on courts #17 and #18.
- Purchased a court sweeper that works and ensures the courts are cleaner than they have ever been.
- Re-lighted all the indoor courts with state-of-the-art LED lights that provide a much more enjoyable tennis experience and feature lights that will last for twenty years or more.
- Installed the PlaySight system which is an incredible new technology that gives a player invaluable information about the speed and spin of their shots as well as important statistics. All of this can be viewed on your smart phone or at home on your computer.
- Under the guidance of Matt Hayes the Swim Team and swim lesson programs have become exceptional and we have a plethora of happy swimmers every summer.
- Installed a new software and check-in system that makes everything easier for everyone
- With the leadership of Matt Hayes the club is more organized and cleaner than it has been since I was cleaning it back in the sixties and seventies.
Beginning in 2014 Laury began planning the creation of a new addition to the club- a full-service health club. After over a year of planning the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the new club was held on May 6, 2016 and featured Jackie Biskupski, the Mayor of Salt Lake City, Ben McAdams, the Mayor of Salt Lake County, Craig Zwick, the chairman of Zwick Construction the general contractor, and Ruby Hammel, Laury’s mother.
Like his father, Laury continued his family’s legacy of keeping the Salt Lake Tennis Club the center of tennis in the state of Utah. He has now transformed the club into a full-service health club and on January 1, 2017 the club’s name was changed to the Salt Lake Tennis and Health Club.
The Management Team worked on finding a new name for many months and chose this name because we wanted to keep the 105 Year-Old name in place-Salt Lake Tennis Club. We also wanted to introduce the concept of `Health’ because it includes all the various activities and benefits available at our club and it describes the essence of our mission as a business.