Douglas County looks south to pick Zephyr Cove tennis pro |

Douglas County looks south to pick Zephyr Cove tennis pro

Douglas County recreation officials reached to the desert to ensure enthusiasm for tennis never dries out at the Zephyr Cove Tennis Complex.

The county has selected Michael McFarlane, the director of the Desert Tennis Academy – the teaching division of Shadow Mountain Resort in Palm Desert, Calif. – to operate the Zephyr Cove Tennis Complex during the summer and fall. McFarlane, one of Tennis Magazine’s top five teaching pros, has been teaching tennis and running club and resort programs for the past 15 years.

“Our real emphasis in year, No. 1, is to build the member programs and the junior programs,” said McFarlane, who will move to the Tahoe Basin this spring and is set to manage the facility starting May 1 – or whenever the weather is ready to allow tennis.

“Once snow breaks, we’re ready to go,” McFarlane said.

Zephyr Cove started looking for a pro last year, and started the search in November. McFarlane emerged as the No. 1 candidate, and the department started talking with the pro. The board of commissioners approved the selection at the end of February, and McFarlane recently signed a five-year contract – renewable at the end of every year – to come to Zephyr Cove and run the tennis program during the summer.

“No. 1, he’s incredibly talented as an instructor and a court operator, and we’re really looking for both,” said Scott Morgan, community services director for the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department.

Over the coming years, McFarlane has targeted improving the quality of programs for Zephyr Cove Tennis members, adding elements like a men’s day and a women’s day, expanding the days juniors play to three or four per week. He also has targeted improving the social atmosphere around the club so members don’t just play and leave.

“What I’d like to do is to get more people coming to the lake specifically to play tennis,” McFarlane said.

But court management and the desire to build the program wasn’t the only factor in McFarlane’s selection. Part of the process for picking a new pro was an on-court demonstration clinic. McFarlane clearly impressed on the court.

“I think most people will be impressed with his ability on the court,” Morgan said.

McFarlane will bring a pro from the Desert Tennis Academy to help him get the Zephyr Cove program started. But he won’t have to give up Palm Desert because he will stay in the basin only through the summer.

“We can’t wait to get up there,” McFarlane said. “I can’t believe it’s only a month and a half away.”

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