The Morin Family has seen and done plenty during the many inceptions of owning their business. They started out as a small endeavor in neighboring Massachusetts. Then, they built a foundation and reputation that has become an institution throughout Northern Rhode Island. They continue thriving, despite the ever-changing landscape of people’s attitudes toward how groups and individuals interact with one another
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Fore Court Racquet and Fitness Club.
The company began modestly in Bellingham and touted another location in Lincoln before finding a permanent home on 44 Cray Street in Cumberland.
Fore Court started out as a venue to play tennis. Over the years, it has since expanded to include Weight Training. Nautilus, Group Fitness Training, and Pickleball. Cumberland was the second location after Bellingham, followed by the Lincoln facility that was built and then sold in 1987, with racquetball being added in 1978.
Fore Court is also home to the Bryant University Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams.
Fore Court general manager, Dave Morin, said that the transition from being a tennis-only facility, to offering more diverse offerings, evolved over time. It came from the resulting changes in how people want to remain active. Once racquetball’s popularity began to wane in the 1980s, they replaced those courts with other options.
Morin said that it was one way to stay in step with what the community sought for entertainment.
“We started with eight tennis courts in 1973,” said Morin, whose father, Maurice (Moe) started the business as a career change from construction. “At the height of tennis and racquetball popularity, we had eight tennis courts and 10 racquetball courts. When the 1980s came and the sport’s popularity started eroding, we took two racquetball courts out and put in exercise bikes and 16 Nautilus machines. Several years later, we took out two more racquetball courts and added weights, a group fitness room, and other amenities. Although we still have a couple of racquetball courts available, it just isn’t as popular as it once was.”
Tennis continues being the mainstay of Fore Court.
Fore Court originally started in Bellingham, MA. Moe previously worked in construction, with a couple of partners. However, the time came when he wanted to switch gears. He worked for another facility as a general manager/accountant. After several years, Moe got the drive to start his own tennis club.
Morin said that his father wasn’t initially a fan of tennis. He actually loved playing volleyball! However, as Moe learned more about the sport, he fell in love with it. Once the 1970s rolled around, tennis became ‘all the rage.’ With that, he built the business that has been a fixture in Cumberland, ever since.
As the years progressed, Fore Court continued evolving. They host courses for kids, teens, adults, and seniors. They can learn tennis, Pickleball, or racquetball. Their numerous classes are typically all filled up, and the senior groups are also well-attended.
That became a feature during the recent Covid-19 pandemic.
“Parents wanted to get their kids out of the house,” Morin said. “This became a great place for them to learn something new, while interacting safely within the protocols set by authorities.”
The recent surge of Pickleball has spurred leagues, tournaments, and other such events. Morin credits the increase in players to the game being easy to learn, easy to play, and fun, although he added how scoring can be tricky. Morin also said that he was pleasantly surprised by the number of players who participate. He noted that Pickleball is the number one fastest growing game in the country.
They currently have more than 250 kids involved in tennis programs, with ages ranging from three-year-olds to age 18.
Fifty years in town has created a lot of memories and relationships. Morin said that seeing people go through and forming teams and other friendships made it worthwhile.
To celebrate their upcoming Golden anniversary, Fore Court Racquet and Fitness Club will be hosting an event, later this fall. More details will follow, but they expect a good crowd to pay homage to the building that has been home to thousands of members.
Fore Court has been owned and operated by the Morin family since 1973, and is the place in Rhode Island for all of your fitness and racquet sport needs. Morin, along with his brother Brian, continue to strive in offering up the best in Racquet sports in Northern Rhode Island.
Further details about the facility, including hours, courses, and upcoming events can be found by visiting their website at www.forecourtri.com, or by calling Dave Morin at 401-333-4480.