When Scott Farr signed on to be the La Jolla Tennis Club manager, he agreed to do it on a temporary basis. But after managing its summer tournament and finding donors and a way to keep membership dues down, he decided to stay on. Now, after 15 years, Farr will be leaving the club after turning down a pay cut. His last day is April 30.
Farr said he got into playing tennis more than two decades ago, “just for fun as a recreational player.” But as time progressed, he got more involved in the inner workings of the La Jolla club. He joined the board of directors in 1995 and later became manager.
However, a new board was sworn in this year and decided to offer Farr a renewed contract “at a severe cut,” which he declined.
“It wasn’t my decision, but it’s set in stone,” Farr said. “It’s a new board and they can do what they want.”
Board President Ralph Temple said Farr “ran the club well” and “oversaw some of our larger tennis tournaments.” LJTC hosts the annual La Jolla Tennis Championships as well as a two-week summer clinic that is free for children ages 6-12.
Temple didn’t comment about Farr’s contract. He said a job listing for manager will be posted and made available to the public.
Farr said “tennis is a great sport and I love supporting public tennis facilities. My focus as manager was to keep membership dues down. And now we have some of the lowest fees in San Diego. I’m proud … that we could keep good facilities but costs down. It’s important to make the club look good because it’s an old facility, so I’m glad we were able to do that.”
Farr teaches online classes and offers private lessons for another game he loves — bridge. “It’s great to have that vocation as well,” he said.
“Hopefully the board brings in someone to fill my shoes and continue the traditions. We have quite the history, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
The club traces its origins to 1915 with a donation of three courts by Ellen Browning Scripps, with lights on wooden poles. The club was officially established in 1917. Six more courts were added between the 1920s and 1960s. The club purchased land on which it sits from the adjacent Bishop’s School and donated it to the city in 1938.
LJTC maintains the nine city-owned courts as a public facility. The club provides the nets, lights, wind screens, resurfacing, maintenance, cleaning and landscaping.
Farr’s departure is one of a few changes the club is experiencing.
The board is in the process of replacing the lights that illuminate the courts after complaints from neighbors that the lights were too bright and were disrupting their view of the night sky.
“The board has approved replacing the lights with proper tennis lights that are dark-sky-certified and will eliminate the problems,” Temple said. “The lights that were there were not proper. The light isn’t on the court; it spills out all over the place. Light shining into their houses does no one any good. It will be expensive, but we are going to use the same types of lights that many other clubs use.”
The club has allocated $30,000 of its funds to buy the lights and will launch a public campaign to raise the rest.
“We want to solve the problem; it’s in everyone’s best interest,” Temple said. “If we cannot get the new lights, we will shut off the lights we have.”
In addition, the club is no longer accepting new members.
“We have 500 members for nine courts … court usage is up by quite a lot due the pandemic, [with] tennis being outdoors and a socially distant sport. It’s getting difficult to get court time,” Temple said.
However, membership is not required to play; guests can get day passes for a fee. “Because of the nature of our club, it is city property, so it is open to play for anyone in the public,” Temple said.
Board meetings are held online, usually the second Tuesday of every other month. For more information about meetings, visit ljtc.org/about-us.
To reserve a court time, call (858) 454-4434. ◆