Lighthouse Resort Tennis Club

• Resort guests pay less to use the courts;

• Members get unlimited visits and discounts on lessons;

• Punch cards: 12 visits for $100;

• Pro shop sells, rents, tunes, grips and restrings rackets;

• Tennis shoes required;

• Court surface is asphalt coated with Plexipave, basically the same surface used at the U.S. Open;

• Youth tennis camps offered;

• Call (360) 642-3622 for more information.

LONG BEACH — Long Beach is known for its go carts, shops and miles of boardwalk; now the Lighthouse Oceanfront Resort would like to add tennis to the reputation.

The facility’s entrance can be deceptive, general manager Tressa Kortlever said. There’s an entire resort beyond the line of original white motel rooms just off Pacific Way. Drive a short way and you find contemporary buildings featuring 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units with ocean views, beach access, a short walk to the indoor salt-water pool and hot tub, and, oh, yes, the indoor tennis club with two courts and a pro shop.

The resort is owned by Richard and Jan Grambo.

“Dick grew up playing tennis,” Kortlever said. “It’s been his lifelong dream to open a tennis facility. His vision is to make Long Beach a tennis community.”

He still plays even though he’s in his 70s, she added.

Kortlever met Grambo when she was living in Mexico. She told him she’d work for him if he completed the indoor tennis court, which helps boost the resort’s occupancy rates.

The indoor tennis courts opened in September 2011 and, the club is attracting members from Astoria, Warrenton and Seaside.

“We’re tapping into the Seattle and Portland tennis clubs,” Kortlever said. “(Tennis pro Steve Alley) has been up there marketing, and we’ve gotten groups coming in with their pros that stay at the resort and do clinics.”

A Family Racket

The resort hired Alley in March 2012 to help make Grambo’s vision a reality. He’s been in the business for 31 years and is certified by the United States Professional Tennis Association.

Despite having a father who played tennis, Alley wasn’t pushed into the sport.

“I used to go and watch my dad and his buddies play because they’d stop at the A&W and get root beer floats after,” he said. “I was playing on a really terrible Little League team and got kind of fed up with losing, and I just said, ‘Dad, can I play? I’d like to play.’ ’cause he never told me I had to get out there like some terrible parents. I remember the look on his face the first time I took a swing — I won a tournament six weeks later. I was almost 14, which is considered late.

“That’s why I don’t necessarily think you have to start (young); you have to make the most of it when you do start. It’s nice if they want to start, but if the kids don’t want to do it let them come back to it.”

Kortlever came late to the sport and encourages others to give it a try.

“I didn’t start till about four years ago, and I’m completely hooked,” she said. “I ran into a tennis pro in Mexico and it sounded fun, so I signed up for lessons. I play three to four times a week, whenever I can.”

Youth Camps

The youth camps are gaining popularity, Kortlever said.

The club is conducting them as affordably as possible, but Alley recognizes that some people are struggling. For those kids, there are limited sponsorships offered by members.

“We’ve got rackets for the kids to use; they don’t have to purchase anything to come and play,” he said.

Science of Tennis

For those of use who are a little (or a lot) out of shape, Alley says there’s not a lot of running in the beginners’ class.

“We do way more technical work until you are more consistent with hitting the ball and understanding the strokes before you start moving a lot … and it naturally eases you in to getting in to better shape,” Alley said. “Just an hour and 50 minutes on the court walking around picking up balls is better than what you were doing before.”

The science of tennis has changed in the past few decades, Alley said. You now have video studies of tennis swings just like baseball pros study their swings. He also teaches strategy.

“One of the reasons we selected Steve is he’s a doubles expert, and most of our club members play doubles,” Kortlever said. “Most people, in think, play doubles when they get older. And the camaraderie is fun too, because you have more people on the court. The strategy is different, and he knows how to teach that.”

Alley added: “A good doubles game — it doesn’t get any better than that. Everybody loves it. They start to play better in terms of they get out of their old comfort zone of standing in the back court and hitting ground strokes and they start coming in and saying, ‘Wow! This is fun!’ All four players, bam-bam-bam-bam point — over. ‘Let’s try to do that again!’”

Wii Will Rock You

If you’ve played WII Tennis, Alley said it’s a good introduction to the mindset of playing tennis. It teaches scoring and the back-and-forth nature of the game.

“It’s actually been discussed in industry magazines,” he said.

Kortlever added, “I actually got (tennis elbow) playing WII, but not playing tennis.”

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