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On the roof, the pro is giving a slim blonde girl in tennis clothes a lesson. Diane is not around. Gart takes his visitor to the Castle parapets, from where Pike's Peak and Long's Peak are visible in the distance. When the girl is through with her lesson, she introduces herself to Gart as a stewardess who had served him on a Continental Airlines flight into Denver. Gart says he remembers. "I never forget a pretty face," he says.
As the girl exits down the ramp, Gart looks her up and down. "See those shoes?" he says. "New. Probably bought them here. And the dress. That's one of ours. I didn't get a look at the racket, but she probably got that here, too. On that ramp they can see what's on every floor. It's no accident the tennis is up here. On the way down, they're liable to buy a racket, some skis, a fishhook, something."
Gart remounts and turns the cart to go back down. "As a businessman, I'm tickled to death about tennis," he says. "As a father, I'm taking my lumps. Next to skiing my three boys love tennis best. I can't keep my 16-year-old on the job, he's always off playing. I'll have a court in my yard pretty soon. We're a democratic family. My children voted for a court this year, and I put in a swimming pool. I didn't get away with it."
He has stopped the cart again. "See this? Our conference room. See all this space? We filled it for Jack Kramer—more than 300 people in here to hear him talk. I don't know how much they bought on the way out, but I know it was worth it."
Two years ago there was a total of nine indoor tennis courts in all of Denver: two in a clapboard building at the Denver Country Club, two under a plastic bubble at Rolling Hills, one in a converted ice rink at the Mountain Shadows Swim Club and four at the six-year-old Colorado Racquet Club, the original indoor facility.
Today, Denver has five tennis clubs, with two more in construction that will bring the total to 45 indoor courts, not including the bubble that Marvin Davis, millionaire oilman, blows up behind his mansion every winter to satisfy his wife's appetite for the game, and to provide the likes of John Newcombe a quiet place to hit a ball or two.
These indoor clubs are no longer a slab of hard ground, a net and covering but are what Cliff Buchholz calls "the tennis country club"—gleaming, velvety, seductive tennis nests, elegantly appointed, elaborately stocked, and expensive.
Buchholz' company has built five around the country, one of them in Denver. It is called Tennis World, a $2-million concession to tennis hedonists on prime business property in affluent southeast Denver.
Denver, says Buchholz, achieved this advanced station (Tennis World) by vaulting past the usual evolutionary process: from the bubbles and big barns of the East, which were no more than weather cheaters, to the prestressed concrete buildings in an industrial area—where, if the tennis fizzled, a warehouse could salvage the investment—to the indoor facility that was only an adjunct of a health club.
Tennis World was two years in the making, including a year to secure the financing. The making includes twin radial-arch buildings, strikingly veneered; a pro shop and lounge with windows overlooking the eight Har-Tru courts; a health club and outdoor swimming pool; noise-muffling acoustics, shadowless lighting from vapor lights cast toward the ceiling; two video cameras for taping the students of the four working pros; and a staff of 15.