Judie charges $12 an hour for private instruction (as compared to, say, Irwin Hoffman's $18); for a series of six half-hour lessons, she gets $30. "Most people take the package," she says. "If two students double up, it's $8 a half-hour. Come on, I want you to see my court."
She is up again, moving. "When it's finished, I'm going to rent court time to another pro for $2 an hour. She has 15 or 20 pupils and has a hard time finding places, too." She leads the way through the pine trees and onto the ground that has been opened and leveled.
"I've built it myself," she says with a short nervous laugh. "Subcontracted everything. People thought I was nuts. But I was in a hurry. A builder quoted me $12,750 to do the whole thing, which was in line, but he said he was 15 courts behind and no telling when he'd get to it. Who knows what the price would be then? Lakold has gone up at least 27% since last year. That's the surface everybody uses. One contractor told me they could charge whatever they want and get it.
"I was two weeks on the phone before I had the first subcontractor out here. 'What do you recommend?' "What kind of fencing?' 'What about the water rights?' The water rights are a big thing in Colorado. I had to put in 240 feet of pipe to protect my neighbor.
"You'd be surprised how much I learned. About drains. Soil. Tension wires. Zoning. Oh, my, the zoning is unreal. But I had the time to do it, and I learned to bargain."
If she has figured right, Judie Heppenstall says, she will pay $5,200 for grading and paving, another $2,000 for the Lakold surface, $4,200 for fencing. With curbs, drains and landscaping "it'll come to about $13,500 without nets and screens."
She puts her hands on her hips and, half-smiling, surveys her creation, as though it were artwork.
"So far, I love it. I really do. They say I'm nuts. I hope not."
Don Carleton of Wilson estimates the demand for tennis equipment in Denver has gone up 10 times since 1968. "I used to be a salesman, but I haven't had to sell a ball for two years," he says. "I just write orders. I have become a helluva order writer."
The Wilson " Jack Kramer" racket, the most popular in America, sold for $16 when Carleton began peddling in the Rockies in 1967. It now sells for up to $30. To string it, the price has gone from $9 to $15-$25. College students are working their way through school stringing rackets. The Colorado School for the Blind has 10 stringing machines going 24 hours a day.