When the Town of Oro Valley purchased the El Conquistador Country Club and its golf and tennis facilities, we all felt the storm of mixed emotions that naturally results whenever people are faced with change and transition. But when a change occurs, we have two choices: 1. Deny and resist, or 2. Be a productive part of the prospect for improvement.
The ability to blend the vibrant tradition and reputation already established and successful practices with a new outlook and resources is key to success, and that is exactly what we did. Now everyone has a chance to become part of the history and create history. Make new discoveries, meet new friends, try new things, or just continue doing the things you already love.
My name is Jennifer Fuchs and I am the El Conquistador Director of Tennis. I work for Troon and manage the Tennis department and all Tennis programs at both the Oro Valley Community Center and Pusch Ridge sites, now owned by the Town of Oro Valley (formerly the El Conquistador Country Club).
I grew up on Long Island, NY, and trained at the world-renowned Port Washington Tennis Academy. After a fairly successful career becoming the number one ranked Junior in the nation, receiving a full scholarship to UCLA, turning professional and competing in all of the most prestigious professional tournaments including all of the Grand Slams, I had to give up on my dream. I was hit by a car as a pedestrian while on tour in Italy. After my fifth surgery, it was “painfully” obvious I needed to reevaluate my career path.
Ironically, while staying at the El Conquistador Resort where UCLA was playing in a University of Arizona college tennis invitational while I was on the team, my mother decided to leave New York and retire after visiting Tucson/Oro Valley with our family.
On November 8, 1993 I began my new career at the El Conquistador and, although there were challenges transitioning into my new role, I am proud of the program I have helped build. I admit I am not a big fan of change, but I am smart enough to know this can often be counterproductive. Things will inevitably change. So we adjust. We stand up for what is right. We never give up. And in the end, our programs and our community offerings are sometimes better than we could have hoped.
What was once an exclusive country club is now the inclusive Oro Valley Community Center, but with the same outstanding El Conquistador Tennis programming and amenities that have built our brand over the decades. We have 31 lighted Tennis courts, four pickleball courts, a large clubhouse with many offerings and the stunning backdrop of the Santa Catalina Mountains at Pusch Ridge. Most importantly, El Conquistador Tennis continues to provide a knowledgeable, dedicated and truly caring team to help with all of your Tennis needs. Chip Tidd, Carlos Bermudez, the entire Tennis department and I are committed to maintaining a top-notch program as well as welcoming and knowing all of the players, both old and new, at the Oro Valley Community Center. This is not easy with an ever-growing membership, but we are determined to be flexible and create a sense of community on the courts. The quality of instruction is some of the finest in the Southwest.
El Conquistador Tennis has classes for all levels and ages including a free program for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) individuals. There are numerous drop-in games and leagues to help you get started and meet new people. We have United States Tennis Association (USTA) league play where teams compete against other facilities. In the last 23 years, we have had more than 60 teams win the Southern Arizona Championships and move on to compete for the Sectional and/or National Championships.
We have twice been named by the USTA, the governing body of Tennis, as Outstanding Facility of the Year—a very rare distinction. On top of our programs, we are one of the most reputable tournament organizers in the country. Tournament Directors Ruth Fuchs and Linda Helixon are unrivaled in their ability to provide a first-class experience for the participants. These large-scale tournaments have helped us build a well-earned reputation as well as contribute to the economic health of our community.
A great example of that economic impact is the upcoming Tennis Congress, October 6-10, 2016, with 250 participants and 85 faculty members featuring former top world ranked professionals and Grand Slam Champions. This single event has an estimated economic impact of more than $218,000 in just four days!
So… why should YOU play tennis? I see tennis as an outlet to express yourself, challenge yourself, and simply be yourself. Seldom do you see two players that look like each other, play alike, and/or compete in the same mode. We all have our own personal signature and manner, and tennis allows us to articulate that and create our own style. One of the best things about this is the process is ongoing—it is constantly evolving. You do not have to know exactly what you want from tennis, and you are allowed to change your path as you go. Let the game take you along and see where you want to go.
Come to the Oro Valley Community Center where you will meet the kindest, most supportive, loyal and fun tennis members and instructors. Find your place with us. Make new discoveries and begin your next journey in Oro Valley.