Stu Cassell Speaks: My group, the St. Louis Shuffleboard Club, has visited a new bar/restaurant in St. Louis called the Westport Social Club on two occasions.

 

Stu and Mary Rose Cassell

My group, the St. Louis Shuffleboard Club, has visited a new bar/restaurant in St. Louis called the Westport Social Club on two occasions. Normally, we play at a local park in good weather, then move indoors to the Gateway Salvation Army Community Center during the winter or when it rains.  Click on pic to expand.  MANY THANKS STU FOR UPDATING US!!!  Stan

The Westport Social Club opened last year and has two floor shuffleboard courts, and a variety of other games such as bocce ball, darts, foosball, table shuffleboard, air hockey, pool, basketball booths, ping pong, and even an area for Karaoke on the 2nd floor. The walls are lined with large screen televisions, and there’s a rectangular bar in the middle of the main room and another bar at the main entrance.

We thought this might be a great alternative for shuffleboard play when the Gateway Salvation Army Community Center wasn’t available to us during inclement weather. While this is a wonderful entertainment center for 20 or 30 year olds with it’s wide array of fun things to do, for shuffleboard purists it has major drawbacks. I think the main problem was whoever designed the two shuffleboard courts didn’t know a lot about shuffleboard.

The courts are beautiful to look at, but here’s what’s wrong with them and what gave us difficulty: For starters they’re slower than molasses. The management seems unaware of shuffleboard beads or wax. The courts are narrow with only a foot and a half on each side so there’s no way you could put beads down and not end up walking on them, which might pose a liability issue in the case of someone slipping and falling. The two times we played there we brought our own wax to apply to their disks, and while it helped a little you still had to shove the disks as hard as you could just to get them down to the other end. Forget about any precision to your shots.

The manager told club President Glen VanMatre that they have to replace the disks monthly. That’s because they have nothing to absorb the impact of the disks against the ends of the courts which are concrete. While we were playing there a week ago, one of their staff thought he was doing us a favor by bringing out a new set of disks, which were bright blue. We waxed them but they were actually even slower than the beat up disks he removed. In fact, we had so much trouble just getting the disks past the lag line, that we ended up turning them over to increase the speed. That made them wobble as they traveled down the court. Whoever ended up with the blue disks lost their match because of this handicap.

Now lets move on to their giant score boards. They’re very pretty, but again, who ever decided on their design didn’t know how shuffleboard is played or scored. There is no way to indicate a minus score less than zero when you put someone in the kitchen. Their scoreboards only have positive numbers. Fortunately for us we brought our clipboards and score sheets.

For me, it was an exercise in futility and frustration. I loved the fact that Westport Social Club is only 10 minutes from my house. Normally, it takes me a half hour to get to the south St. Louis area where the Gateway Salvation Army Community Center is located. But what’s the good of a close location if you have to struggle to play the game?

Lastly, they have two pairs of basketball booths at end of the shuffleboard courts. While we were playing basketballs that hit the rims of the basket bounced into the shuffleboard courts in the middle of our games. Lights were flashing, loud music was playing, and there were large screen televisions just above the playing area. How’d you like to have all that going on while you play?

We will probably not return to the Westport Social Club to play shuffleboard. It’s a shame, it’s a beautiful bar and restaurant – it just doesn’t fit with our demographic.

Stu Cassell – St. Louis Shuffleboard Club

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