The idea of establishing a new club, both in design and concept was conceived in the mid 1970’s, at a time when the game was starting to grow rapidly.
Chris and Jean Grainger, newly married and both sports enthusiasts, envisioned a unique squash club which would be run on commercial lines, but with the emphasis on organised club squash events for players of all standards, and in particular social level players.
Once the site had been acquired, with the help and co-operation of the Parkview Golf Club management committee, Chris, a civil engineer, designed and supervised the building of the new club with help from his father Geoff. The initial design comprised 6 glass-back walled squash courts, a central reception area and office, a lounge and small kitchen and a novel mechanical ventilation system. The club opened in July 1980.
From the outset, a Friday social club evening was held which proved hugely popular. In addition, Jean, a former British International squash player, set about organising and running regular club squash events which allowed social level players to participate with better players in organised events. These events together with a popular Ladies Morning are still going strong today.
Allowance had been made in the initial design for future extensions should the need arise and this happened sooner rather than later. Thus it was that in 1982 the first extensions were undertaken. These included the addition of two more squash courts (courts 4 and 8), the extension of the kitchen and lounge, extra storerooms, some staff accommodation and the parking area being extended.
In 1982, Parkview for the first time entered three teams in both the men’s and ladies’ Transvaal (Gauteng) Leagues to cater for the growing number of competitive players in the club. The number of teams entered continued to grow thereafter as the top teams advanced into higher leagues. 1983 saw the first club championships being held.
In 1983 the second stage of extensions was undertaken, this time with the addition of a further three courts (courts 9, 10, 11) and the building of an aerobics gym, all of which opened in 1984.
From 1984 until 2000 the club infrastructure remained much the same. However, the number of organised activities and events increased, with a bigger focus on juniors, who were encouraged to participate in club events and leagues. Junior tournaments which attracted participants from all over Southern Africa were held, the Eriksen Ford team tournament was started in 1985 and continues today as the Hi-Tec; several Grand Prix tournaments were started and most continue to this day.
Around 1999 Chris and Jean decided it was time to hand over to someone younger and it was very fortunate that Craig van der Wath and Angie Clifton-Parks, both highly respected in South African squash, were looking for a club to take over and run. Thus it was that Craig and Angie started running Parkview during the latter part of 2000.
With Craig and Angie at the helm the club continued much as before. However, in 2005 a dark cloud loomed over the future of the club as the Parkview Golf Club had sold the land the club occupied, plus the surrounding land, to a property developer. Chris and Jean, though still passionate about the club, did want to sell the club, and in the absence of any other buyers despite a long term lease on the land, were forced to sell to the developer. The developer soon thereafter made known his intention to demolish the club and build residential houses on the land. This would have been disastrous for squash in Gauteng but luckily was averted when Des Sacco, the Chairman of mining company Assore Ltd and an enthusiastic sportsman and member of the club, approached the developer and arranged the purchase of the club and the land on which it stands through Assore Ltd. Thanks to this amazing gesture the squash club was saved and its future safeguarded. Craig continued to stay on and remains as manager of the club to this day.
In 2006 the club underwent a major refurbishment and with the support of Assore Ltd, remains the best club in South Africa. Angie, after a few years working as an events manager for a large national bank, became more involved with the running of the club, giving Craig valuable back-up assistance.
The Parkview staff must also be acknowledged. Their loyal long-term service has greatly contributed to the ‘family’ atmosphere of the Club. Pat Philip, morning receptionist/administrator started in January 1981 and is still there. Dennis Tlale was part of the building team who constructed the original club and apart from a short break, has been there since July 1980; Jabulani Mdlalose joined the staff in 1983 and is also still there.
Parkview remains an important part of the Gauteng and South African squash scene. Numerous junior, open and masters tournaments have been hosted at the club as well as more recently PSA/WSA tournaments. The club currently boasts 3 teams in men’s 1st league and 2 teams in ladies 1st league, and is the main venue for the Gauteng Masters league, hosting 1st and 4th league. The gym remains active, offering aerobics and yoga classes. All in all, the club exudes a friendly, family atmosphere where everyone of whatever standard is welcomed.