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A Bit of Olivers' Red Clay Tennis History
by Steve Oliver

After playing tennis for many years, starting in the early 1960's, my father, Jim Oliver, decided to build two red clay tennis courts of his own. He just happened to own a very level piece of land that was adjacent to Route 6 - the main artery of Cape Cod in Wellfleet (the quiet end of the peninsula).

This piece of land had been carved out of a small hillside and levelled-off to serve as a clay and sand "pit" for the Highway Department. I spent many hours with my siblings playing amongst the scrub pine in the "Sand Pit". The Pit was where Courts 1 and 2 are today. Originally Court 2 was called Court 1, as it was the first to be built. When Courts 3 and 4 were added two years later in 1971, the numbers were switched on the first two courts to lessen confusion.

As the tennis boom of the seventies continued so did the expansion of Olivers Tennis. In 1975, Courts 5 and 6 were added and finally in 1977, Courts 7 and 8 completed the picture. Olivers' Tennis consisted of 7 red clay tennis courts and 1 hard court. View Court Images

Concerning my father's creation of the tennis courts, there are three elements which stand out the most. First, he wanted the courts to always be in impeccable condition and well maintained. One of the main ways he achieved this goal was by insisting the courts be swept every time there was a change-over. We did this for 28 straight years! That's a lot of sweeping - good thing I have a lot of siblings.

Second, my father made a decision to stagger the starting times on the courts. This was done primarily to allow us to sweep the courts after each change-over. As it turns out, it is also an amazing example of how effective Queue Theory can be, especially in regards to handling customers and the parking lot.

Third, is how my father set up the layout of the tennis courts. Courts 1 and 2 are side-by-side. On a lower level are Courts 3 and 4, side-by-side. Courts 5 and 6 are on a still lower level, side-by-side. Lastly, Court 7 is by itself and Court 8 is by itself. This arrangement lends itself to a very intimate setting and sense of privacy when playing.    Court Images

Though I don't sweep the courts at every changeover anymore, the courts are still in great shape. Hopefully, you will come and check them out. Tennis doesn't get better then tennis on very well maintained red clay tennis courts.

 

      
  Jim Oliver (second from right)
  and buddies, circa 1991. Note
  the champagne bottle!

            
  Jim Oliver relaxes with his friend
  Ralph Johnson, circa 1987. An
  hour of singles was only $8.00!


    
    The shack with Mom's wonderful
    flowers.