Joe Whalen was born in 1916 in Millinocket, MA. His father owned three pharmacies and then moved the family to Coral Gables, FL.
Coral Gables is where Joe Whalen started playing tennis and eventually became the Florida Boys champion at the young at of 13 and the National Professional Champion at the young age of 19. Joe then toured the country playing exhibitions and tournaments with the likes of Fred Perry, Don Budge and Bill Tilden until the onset of WWII. Joe enlisted in WWII and was discharged after serving his tour of duty with a purple heart.
Upon returning home Joe played many tournaments and exhibitions until ultimately he was named head pro at some of the finest tennis facilities in the country: Westchester Country Club, New Canan Country Club, The Ponte Verdra Club and Bolles School in Jacksonville, FL. During his teaching pro period Joe also organized tennis exhibitions with players such as Bobby Riggs, Pancho Gonzalez and Poncho Segura as well as starting and writing a national tennis magazine.
Ultimately it was during the organization of his tennis exhibitions that he was put into a situation of needing a tennis court surfaced prior to the beginning of an exhibition. Being unable to find someone that could do the work well and to his standards he decided to repair and resurface the court himself. That event led to the eventual tennis court construction business that he started and ran from 1957 to 1978. The original name was The Whalen Surfacing Company which soon became The Whalen Tennis Co in Jacksonville, FL.
Upon selling the company to his son Gary Whalen in 1978, Joe retired and traveled until his ultimate passing in 1993. Joe Whalen believed in one very simple and basic principal his entire life. Whatever you do, you do it to your best and you do it to be the best.
Gary Whalen has owned The Whalen Company since 1978. Growing up in a Florida tennis family he has played tennis his entire life. Gary played the Florida Junior tournament circuit as well as high school tennis and college tennis at Jacksonville University. After leaving Jacksonville University in 1976 he started working again for The Whalen Company and helped build The Whalen Tennis Center in the summer of 1976. However, his first experience at building tennis courts was much earlier. At the age of 12 Gary helped build the Whalen family court at their home in 1966.
The Whalen Tennis Center was a 7 court HarTru club in Jacksonville, Fl that he owned and operated for 12 years while running and being president of The Whalen Company. The Whalen Tennis Center was a great opportunity for The Whalen Company to test all of the court maintenance products and learn how to deal with all of the maintenance issues that all tennis pros and tennis directors have to deal with. The Whalen Tennis Center was open seven days a week from 8:00 am to 10:00pm. Dealing with the Florida summers, constant play, lighted courts and weather conditions of Florida enabled Gary to fully and comprehensively understand the trials that every pro and court owner goes through. Maintaining courts in these conditions is difficult, so any products (line tapes, windscreens, nets, rollers, etc.) were put through very trying situations and judged to be excellent or failures.
One thing Gary has learned, being on the other side of the fence, is how difficult it is to run a successful tennis facility. The hours, dedication and hard work that pro’s, managers, directors and maintenance staff put in, on a week by week basis, is extraordinary. There is not enough time in a day to take care of all of their issues, much less to constantly be dealing with maintenance problems. Because of this Gary either fully endorses every court supply product The Whalen Company sells or we don’t sell it.
With over 50 years of personal experience, from both the construction end and the user end, Gary totally understands how to build and maintain tennis courts and clubs for the joy and profitability of the facility/court owner.