Monday, April 15, 2024

Cassie’s Corner: Growing the game in Oz

Hats off to Todd Bowden for making Moorabbin such a busy squash base

toddbowdenIt is always frustrating when you read about squash clubs closing or seeing courts permanently used as aerobics studios for example. So it is nice for me to share a positive story from Australia.

Since I moved here I have coached and played at Moorabbin Squash Club. My first experience of the club was when after a few months my husband Matt and I decided we fancied a hit. A quick look on Google to find where our nearest courts were and off we went.

Upon walking up to the entrance we could hear the ferocious sound of squash balls being hit and there on court along with some local male players were Sarah Cardwell and World Champions Nicol David and Sarah Fitzgerald. Not really who I was expecting to see on a Saturday afternoon!

The club is in the south-east suburbs of Melbourne. It has 12 courts, of which 10 are glass backs, and also a gym area. Each year it hosts the Moorabbin Open which, alongside graded events, holds a Men’s and Women’s Open.

Past winners of the event are players such as Stewart Boswell, Cameron Pilley, Matthew Karwalski, Aaron Francomb, Vanessa Atkinson, Sarah Fitzgerald and, with a little luck, myself.

So on 1st January the lease was taken over by Todd Bowden. Todd played on the PSA circuit and was based in Belgium where he competed in various leagues. He then coached in USA for six years.

Back in Australia four years ago he started his company Blu Project Management which specialises in project management, court construction and renovation. He has grand plans for the club which is now known as Blu Health and Rackets Club.

“The club has fantastic facilities and I want to use all 12 courts to their maximum potential. We are looking to offer programs throughout the day focusing on schools, mothers groups and local businesses.

“At the minute we have five schools with 20-30 kids playing each time and we are looking to increase that. The gym area will be used by squash players and also cyclists, triathletes and golfers to try and get a different clientele through the door and then hopefully exposed to the game.

“For me it’s about creating an enjoyable atmosphere for the customers to play the game, purchase merchandise and sit and have a drink or coffee afterwards.”

It is great for me as a member to see Todd come in and make positive changes to the club. The new reception area looks good and the renovation of the three show courts looks great. Regarding the renovation and construction of courts, he says there are encouraging signs for the game.

“On a daily basis I am receiving phone calls about court construction and renovation and we currently have projects in Kalgoorlie, Canberra and Newcastle and I am looking at some new court builds in the future. A good indication that hopefully squash is back on the rise.”

As we all love the game it is great to hear of courts being renovated and constructed, and hopefully this is the case around the world and not just in Australia.

This is just one positive story for squash where I live. There are 20 million people in 175 countries playing the game and I am sure there are many many more positives stories to be heard. So come on people, let,s hear them!

Blu Project Management:

Pictures from Todd Bowden and the Squash Mad archive 

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