House Call: Flexibility Found at the Tartan Curling Club

One word to describe the Tartan Curling Club in Regina would be flexible. At this time, in the business of curling, flexibility is paramount. A changing demographic is forcing curling clubs to get creative with their programming, and create an environment where people want to get started in curling and stick with the sport for life.

Everyone benefits from flexible programming for adults who want to learn to curl (Photo J. Mills)

The Tartan Club offers flexible programs for adults who want to get started in curling. This willingness to adapt to the changing curling economy will see them through hard times and into prosperous times to come. A 10-week class called The Adult Learn to Curl Program is offered before and after Christmas. At first this program sounds pretty standard. Most clubs are now offering some form of beginner league with on ice instruction. The flexibility of this program is what makes it unique, innovative, and outstanding! According to Annette Hovin, Secretary for the Tartan Curling Club, curlers can sign up for just the first four weeks of the program which focuses on instruction or they can sign up for the whole ten weeks which involves instruction during game play. By offering this kind of flexibility the Tartan Club has made it easier for curlers to take instruction and get right into the leagues or they can take the game instruction and have a home in the Adult Lean to Curl League for a season if they wish. Hovin explains that a lot of individuals move into the club’s leagues from the Learn to Curl League either as spares or as part of regular teams. “If you do sub, that’s a great way to meet people and find a team.” Aside from offering stellar Learn to Curl programming the Tartan Club is also flexible within its leagues. New teams are encouraged to join all the time. In fact, the club accepts new teams every time a new square starts. The more the merrier is their philosophy and it’s working for them. In order to get the word out about these programs, the Tartan Club takes out advertisements in community association newsletters. They also advertise along with other Regina clubs every fall in the daily newspapers. Curlers between the ages of 18 – 29 can be hard to find but not at the Tartan Curling Club. They’ve found a way to tap into the young adult market. By offering a Young Adult League on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. they’ve created a safe space for this new generation of recreational curlers to get started. According to Hovin, by offering programs such as this, the hope is that “it will keep the sport going.” She said the league started as a group of University students and recent grads who, “just wanted a night out.” The club’s proximity to the university helps buoy the leagues’ popularity. The Tartan Club has also created programming to attract the corporate crowd. Glow Curling is offered every Saturday. Participants sign up ahead, then come out and enjoy curling under black lights. This is a perfect place to have birthday or Christmas parties or to hold a corporate team-building events. In order to capture new curlers in our ever-evolving world we all need to take initiative with innovative new programming. We also need to share what’s out there with each other and pass along what’s working and what’s not. If your club is in need of new ideas take a tip or two from the Tartan and make flexibility a priority.