Just prior to Christmas, Jane and I made our first visit on a trek to out-of-town bridge clubs, researching what works and what doesn't. We played an open game on Christmas Eve at the In Tempo Bridge Club in Scottsdale, AZ.
For those of us accustomed to smaller clubs, this one seems enormous! With very comfortable spacing between the tables, this former gymnasium was set up for a full sixty tables. It reminds me of the size of the InBetween club in Sarasota, FL, and I'm sure many of the other large Florida clubs are at least this size. Our game was a lightly-attended holiday game of sixteen tables.
The club is beautifully appointed. The tables are sturdy folding square tables with resin tops, each one covered by a felt stretch cover in black, green, or dark blue. The excellent table surfaces make for perfect card handling and excellent visual contrast. With no foam under the felt, I was able to write comfortably on a private score card without punching through the sheet.
The most striking visual elements are the large graphic art pieces on the walls of the hall. As a fan of large face clocks, I really enjoyed the enormous clock on one wall.
In a hall this size, I would be concerned about the acoustics. The room was once a gymnasium, so the vaulted ceiling could make for an echo chamber. With a carpeted floor, and some other sound absorbing features, the room was comfortably quiet. It's a little hard to imagine how it would be with forty or so tables in play. The director had a P.A. system that was reasonably effective, but suffered a bit from "train station" echo distortion.
The club operators make great use of computer displays with four large monitors of at least 50-inches in size mounted on either side of the playing area. During the game, these displays ran a slideshow of information and news related to the club.
And rather than use a "Bridge Timer" program on the computer displays, they use two of the classic "InTempo" bridge tournament timers mounted on either side of the room.
Card fees were $13 per player.