The 1970's

In the mid 1970’s the club moved to the Rochester Turner’s club on Clinton Ave., which featured a gym floor, high ceiling and good lighting (provided by the GVTTC). When used for tournaments, the club would set up 12 tables, but for league play would use 8 tables.

Rising costs forced us to move again in the early 1980’s and we found the Polish Falcon Hall (Nest 52A, on Weyl St., just off Hudson Ave. near Norton St.). The club was open Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings from September through May. The club had 6 new, high quality tables, a gym floor, high ceiling and excellent lighting (provided by the GVTTC). Leagues played on Monday and Wednesday (Classic League) and Friday was reserved for open play. Club membership grew to over 100, and featured a challenge ladder and a practice “robot”. Most of the tournaments were played at the Falcon Hall, and Irondequoit High School was the location for our yearly Giant Round Robin tournament.

As the club changed venues, the game shifted also. New technology brought about new rubber surfaces and improved blades, designed to fit the styles of certain players. The caliber of play (perhaps driven by the perception of very aggressive attack) is much higher than the old days, with the use of loop drives (from forehand and backhand) and high toss serves as tricks of the trade. Playing conditions in Rochester took a turn for the better, driven in part by Chuck Knowland, who also brought about the rebirth of the Classic League, featuring almost all of the club’s top players. Defensive play also improved again with use of “anti-spin”, “feint” and “phantom” rubbers that are not affected by the heavy spins of the players. In fact, the emergence of “anti-spin” rubbers, mixed with inverted rubber “combination” paddles of the same rubber color, forced rule changes geared to produce longer rallies!

Special mention should be made of longtime club member Sager Barton. Sager gave selflessly of his time and money to many of our junior members, also. Most notable of his charges was the talented and modest Joe Billups, who rose to #1 in the club before hitching up with the Marines, where he continued to play in exotic locales like Okinawa, the Philippines and Germany.

The club’s driving forces in those years were Bob Brickell, Carolyn Bush, Horace Byfield, Dan Costanza, Don Clawson, Howard Kashtan, Ray Mack and Don Young.

The best players of that era were Jim Shoots, Emile Short, Ray Mack, Joe Billups, Manfred Werner (a German national who worked here for a year in the 1980’s) and Craig Bensch.