The Woodbrooke Hills Swim and Tennis Club, located in Farmington Hills, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary.

The Woodbrooke Hills Swim and Tennis Club, located in Farmington Hills, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Local swim and tennis club celebrates 60th anniversary

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published July 27, 2022


FARMINGTON HILLS — Woodbrooke Hills Swim and Tennis Club Manager Kelly Salter recently described the club as a “staple in the community.”

Salter is not likely to get an argument from some local residents.

The outdoor club, which is located at 32050 W. 13 Mile Road in Farmington Hills, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary, and has been a summer destination for generations of families.

Farmington Hills resident April Tini said that her parents, Haig and Suzanne Arabian, joined the club in 1967.

As a child she was on their membership, before eventually choosing to become a member herself as an adult.

“I was a member as a child, and am still a member as an adult,” Tini said. “My parents raised my sister and I at the swim club. It was our summer camp. It was a beautiful environment for families.”

Tini is now helping to carry on the family tradition that her parents started more than 50 years ago.

“My husband and I have raised our daughter there,” she said.

Haig died last year. However, approximately three years prior to that, he got to experience the appreciation Woodbrooke has for him and Suzanne.

In 2017, a bench was erected with a plaque recognizing the couple for “five decades of loyal club membership.”

Woodbrooke has played a “very special” role in Tini’s life, and she shared some of the reasons for it.

“The history of Woodbrooke, the traditions of Woodbrooke, the memories I have, the friendships I’ve made; the fact that I can think about what it was like when I was 8 years old, and then again at 18, and then again at 30 years old — and even through all the decades raising my own daughter there,” she said. “It’s full of the most precious memories — positive and fun. There’s nothing like it. I recommend the swim club for everybody, if it’s a possibility.”

Salter also discussed the multigenerational appeal of the club.

“Some of these families have been members for years, so we’ve watched kids grow up at the pool, and now they have kids,” she said. “A lot of people have been part of the Woodbrooke family for a lot of years, and now have kids bringing their kids here.”

Woodbrooke is a member-owned club.

Salter provided details of how the process works.

“When you become a member, you actually become an owner in the club,” she said. “So, you buy a bond, then you (have) ownership in the club. Our bylaws state we can have 316 bonds, and so 316 families can be members at the club.”

There is currently a waiting list for individuals who want to become members, according to Salter.

“We have, like, a 20- to 30-family waiting list,” she said. “We don’t have bonds available now.”

Salter thinks that the COVID-19 pandemic has helped to increase the club’s popularity.

“Since then we’ve built a longer waiting list and had more people interested in joining,” she said. “Much like they said with golf courses and different things, I think the pandemic, in some ways, drew people to the club (because) it was outside, in a safer environment to be in.”

In a press release, Woodbrooke was described as a “tranquil,” family-oriented swim and tennis club with health and fitness options for people of all ages and abilities.

The club features a six-lane lap pool with diving, four tennis courts, a basketball court, a volleyball court, a gaga ball pit, a children’s pirate ship play structure and a kiddie pool.

There is also a dining pavilion for parties and special events.

Woodbrooke offers adult lap swim programs, tennis lessons for all ages, youth swim lessons and annual lifeguard training.

There are also competitive swim and tennis teams at the club.

According to Salter, nonmembers can take tennis and swim lessons at the club and be a part of the tennis team.

However, the swim league the club is associated with requires membership.

Salter said that Woodbrooke’s impact in the community has been “quite profound.”

She discussed the club’s goals.

“Continue to be a safe, fun recreation spot for the families in our community so we can continue to get people here, connect them face-to-face, build relationships, and give them a safe, family-fun environment,” Salter said.

From Tini’s perspective, the staff and board of directors at Woodbrooke have “held the club together.”

She said that she has the “loveliest of memories” of the club.

“It’s been, for me, a multigenerational place to enjoy my summers, have beautiful memories of my childhood, and raise my own family there,” Tini said. “It’s precious to me. It’s a lovely, lovely place.”

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