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Meet Guy Chadwick of Arizona Badminton Center

Today we’d like to introduce you to Guy Chadwick.

Guy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I discovered indoor tournament badminton as a student at ASU in the spring of 1977. At the time ASU had a national collegiate men’s and women’s championship badminton team with scholarships. I had been a varsity high school baseball and tennis player at Scottsdale Chaparral High School and played on a top regional soccer team. So with athletic ability, I walked onto the badminton team as a junior at ASU. As frustrating as it can be to learn a new sport, the coaches and players let me train hard with them, and I loved it. I made the team, played three years, including a 5th collegiate year on a badminton scholarship.

After graduating in 1980, I moved to California to train full time at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club. I trained there for the next 8 years, while becoming partners in a small badminton company based there (which I continue to this day). I quickly moved up the national rankings as a player, including representing the US in international competitions through the 1980s. All the while, I was also coaching younger players and continually giving clinics especially at high schools in Arizona and California as part of my job.

I met my wife, Teri, in Manhattan Beach, and we decided to move back to Arizona to raise our family in 1988. As soon as we moved to Arizona, the ASU badminton team offered me the head coaching position where I coached the ASU men’s and women’s team from 1988-1993, until the athletic department decided to eliminate badminton, archery and men’s gymnastics due to budget cuts. During those 5 years, our ASU men’s and women’s badminton teams were undefeated, collecting 15 national men’s, women’s and mixed team titles, the most in collegiate badminton history. We had a decided advantage: I was coaching half of the first USA Olympic Badminton team who were also members of the ASU team! Badminton became a full medal sport at the 1992 Olympics and continues to this day as one of the first sports to sell out at each Olympiad.

After ASU, I continued to serve the general Arizona badminton community by giving clinics for high school players and coaches, helping open high school gyms and community centers for recreational badminton play, running local and regional tournaments each year, and other administrative duties by starting the Arizona Badminton Commission in 1988. All along, I was looking for a place we could convert into a full-time badminton-dedicated facility. In 1993, we had a sub-rental space with a church in Scottsdale. We built 4 true badminton-only courts in a wing of their warehouse-like building, but that closed down when the church lost that building. It was another 20 years before I finally found our current location in 2012 with our very own badminton-dedicated location at the 101 Broadway Commerce Park at Broadway & Dobson in Mesa.

We are literally the center of Arizona badminton at the Arizona Badminton Center. State-wide, because we frequently have badminton players travel from Tucson, Flagstaff and other Arizona cities, as well as visitors from other states and countries! Along with about 150 regular members, we have more than 2,000 visitors a year! Open now for more than 5 years, it has proven to exceed our dreams as a place for families and friends from all over the world to meet, play, compete, train and get great exercise. On any given day (we are open 7 days a week), you will see players of all ages, abilities and nationalities playing together on our courts! It is a true life-time sport.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Overall, it took 25 years to find a permanent building space that would accommodate our badminton facility properly. Many times, it seemed like a pipe dream. Most commercial brokers wouldn’t take me seriously– indoor badminton? We could not find a building space with the right features or a cost within range. Inadequate ceiling clearance and wrong floor dimensions immediately eliminated 95% of the spaces available. But in the fall of 2011, I found a broker, Cooper Fratt of CBRE, who helped me survey ALL the available warehouse space in the Valley. After eliminating hundreds of buildings all over the Valley, we physically looked at dozens of possible sites until finally finding our current location at Broadway & Dobson in Mesa. The ceiling height was actually miss-marked as too low for our needs (we need 27’+), but we discovered differently, and all the other dimensions work near-perfectly. Now we have more than 5 years of success under our belt, and we are frequently asked when we are going to expand. That is the next great challenge.

Please tell us about Arizona Badminton Center.
When I found this location I was able to put together enough family money to pay for all the improvements to create the Arizona Badminton Center, transforming a previously unused concrete slab, tilt-up warehouse space into our “badminton wonderland.” We have badminton-specific lighting, custom net standards and padded wood flooring, bright green walls and backdrops, and a comfortable lobby and complete Pro Shop. It is actually one of the best places to play badminton in the US.

I have been a fixture of the Arizona badminton community, as a coach, player, official and administrator now for 40 years, but it has always been a team effort with dozens of people that volunteer in a myriad of ways that make our sport better every year. Now at the AZBC, several people help coach, open and close the club to give me time off each week and for vacations, and help run tournaments and clinics. The badminton community is a family atmosphere welcoming new people all the time, and working together without the ego problems other sports often seem to have.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Keep dreaming and work for your dream! It is immensely satisfying to see the dream of our ever-growing badminton community of friends having so much fun every day at the Arizona Badminton Center!

As badminton continues to grow in popularity around the world and gain respect as a genuine sport in the US, we will continue to grow here locally. There has been an explosion of new badminton facilities in the US, especially along the coastal regions where the Asian and European demographics are high. This trend will continue due to the increasing recognition that badminton is a great life-time sport for the whole family. We are seeing more facilities, more players, more competitions, more TV coverage– every year. In the Phoenix area we also serve 65 AIA high school girls’ badminton teams. This, too, is growing! At the AZBC, we are able to help these high school coaches and players get better each year! Badminton is absolutely one of the best sports for exercise, social interaction, sportsmanship and sheer fun, and fantastic for all ages and levels of ability. Many of our members play 3-5 days a week, and it gets better the more you play!

None of this would have been possible or worth it without my beautiful wife and 3 kids, and all my extended family for being a part of my dream!

Pricing:

  • Visitor day rates are $10 per person

Contact Info:

  • Address: Arizona Badminton Center (AZBC)
    2150 W. Broadway Road, #107
    Mesa, AZ 85202
  • Website: AZBadmintonCenter.com
  • Phone: 480-699-2760
  • Email: GCoachGC5@cox.net


Image Credit:
Mike Hilliard
Doug Towne
Guy Chadwick

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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