HAYDEN - Officially, the grand opening of Peak Health and Wellness' new Tennis Center in Hayden is Thursday.
A social starts at 4 p.m. at the 45,000-square-foot Tennis Center at 95 W. Centa Drive, and the first 100 curious guests get a free can of tennis balls. The center includes a large lounge and lobby area, juice bar and full locker rooms, among other highlights.
The grand opening, though, is far from the first serve.
Tennis director Bill Graves has the distinction of being the first person to hit the new bright blue courts, swinging a racket at the bouncing neon green spheres. That was late January.
On Tuesday, Graves was giving a lesson on court No. 5.
"You've got to have your hips and shoulders all working together," he encouraged a student.
"We're always keeping everything in front of us," he added.
As he took a breather during the lesson, Graves recalled for a guest the morning of Jan. 25, when he and a friend broke the place in.
"We ended up serving, because our kick-serves really grab this gritty surface and jump," Graves said. "We were laughing at each other's kick-serves because they're hard to hit, hard to return."
The new tennis courts have a slower speed. The club chose medium-slow speed surfaces, slowing the game down for recreational and club players.
"The courts we were coming off of were greased-lightning fast," he said.
He and his partner that first morning were way out in front of the balls.
"Once you get used to it, it's really fun," he said. "Because the ball sits there like a pumpkin and you can wale on it."
Center regular Skip Lincoln, 69, has the distinction of scoring the first point under the bright lights on the courts.
"I always serve out wide from the deuce court," Lincoln recalled of the 7:30 a.m. match on Monday, Feb. 3. "I didn't make any exceptions on that one." His opponent failed to return the serve.
The center was far from complete back then.
"They were short a few things," he said Tuesday, when reached by phone. "We didn't care. It was wonderful to be in there. The lighting was great."
He hits the courts Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. He has been playing the sport for 50 years.
"I haven't gotten any better in all that time," Lincoln joked.
• Tennis social with snacks and beverages from 4 to 8 p.m.
• Free public tennis clinic from 5 to 6 p.m.
• Speed serve contest from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• Racket demos and Peak men's 4.0 doubles play