Facility Tennis Spotlight – Paseo Club
There are many reasons why Southern California native Kim Perino was lured back to his home state and the Paseo Club in the Santa Clarita Valley 18 months ago following a stint as the general manager at a landmark tennis club on the east coast.
At the top of that list is the fact that Perino wants to put the Paseo Club on the map as one of the top clubs for junior tennis in Southern California.
“We’re fortunate that we are the only private club in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Perino, who served as General Manager at the Paseo Club for 10 months in 2011 before moving to Charlotte, N.C., and running the Olde Providence Racquet Club. “We want to be the heart and soul of tennis in this area. We want to reach out to this community. We are a private club, but we want to do our part to foster tennis in this area.”
With an expanded junior program run by current Director of Tennis Desi McBride and his wife Dina, the club is embracing the USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis and is currently offering daily lessons for youngsters ages 3 to 8 years old using the compression-less balls, smaller nets and courts. The lessons are open to the public.
“In the future we would like to showcase the club to the community in the form of a pro tournament or an exhibition or charity event to heighten the perception of tennis in the area,” said Perino, who was lured back to the club by its principal owner as a managing partner with an equity stake in the club.
Started in 2003, the Paseo Club has grown into one of Southern California’s top clubs and boasts a spectacular three-level fitness center with a full-day spa on the basement level.
The 15-court club takes part in various USTA leagues, including adult and junior, as well as internal member leagues.
Perino said the club will be just the second club in California to have two “smart courts” once PlaySight is installed in the coming months. The two courts will have six cameras on the court that give real-time and after-action review with complete debriefing solutions, stats, bio-mechanical analysis and 3D tactical game management.
Perino has in his own words, “finally come full circle” being back in California. He has had a distinguished career leading some of the best known clubs, including stints at the San Francisco Tennis Club, Harbor Bay Isle Club in Alameda, the Jack Kramer Club in Rolling Hills, the Riviera Country Club and brief stopovers in Houston and in Honolulu at the Ohau Club.
“With all the travels I’m happy to be back in Southern California,” Perino said.
There have been lots of memorable moments in tennis for Perino over the years, such as the time he was called into action to serve as a practice partner for the No. 4-ranked player in the world.
The year was 1979 and Peter Fleming was coming off a huge singles win over his doubles partner, No. 1 John McEnroe, the week before in the Pacific Southwest Tournament.
The next day, they flew to San Francisco for the Transamerica Tournament and would be practicing at the San Francisco Tennis Club where Perino was general manager.
“McEnroe would not talk to Fleming after the loss,” Perino said. “So Fleming comes to the front desk and says, ‘I don’t know how to say this, but I need someone to practice with. John won’t talk to me.’ I just happened to be behind the desk at the time, and said I’d be happy to hit with him and did so for seven days in a row. That was a thrill for me. Of course, McEnore beats Fleming in three sets, and now they’re best buddies. And they win the doubles.”
Also in 1979 at the San Francisco Tennis Club, Perino had the thrill of playing doubles with opera mega-star Luciano Pavarotti. “The club hosted the big charity fundraiser for the San Francisco Opera so I played in a celebrity doubles match with him as my doubles partner. He was a real tennis fan and all he wanted to do was charge the net. He didn’t want to hit groundstrokes. He just wanted to serve and volley.”
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger once paid a visit to the club before playing Candlestick Park. He and his bodyguard stopped in for a game of squash and spent time with Perino and another employee telling stories of life on tour.
But perhaps the biggest thrill Perino had on a tennis court was reuniting with Charlton Heston, who he had lived down the street from as a child in Beverly Hills.
“Every Saturday, he would get a lesson on his private court from Sam Match,” Perino recalled. “Well one day my dad was bold enough to go over there and say to Mr. Heston, ‘my 10-year-old wants to learn tennis. Would it be OK if he took an hour lesson with Sam Match after your lesson?’
“So I did for about a year. I had private lessons with Sam Match on Charlton Heston’s court. Well years later while I’m at the San Francisco Tennis Club, I happened to pick up the phone. The guy on the other line says, ‘Hi this is Charlton Heston and I just wrote my autobiography and I’m on a book tour. I know I’m not a member, but is there anyone who would play tennis with me.’
“I said, ‘Mr. Heston, I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m that stupid-looking kid that used to take lessons on your court.’ He said of course he remembered me and he brought a book over and signed it for me and we played for four days.”