SPA-tlight: Jonas Laursen

Jonas Laursen, Madison Squash Workshop Head Professional

Where did you grow up?
In a small town called Herlev, just outside Copenhagen, Denmark.

Where did you learn to play squash? We had a rec center that was just a five minute bike ride from our house with tennis, badminton, and squash. I started playing badminton and got to a pretty high level for my age. Before going to badminton practice I’d often run up to the squash courts and play around with the kids there. One day I remember beating one of the older kids—he was fifteen, and I was ten—and then I was hooked. I played on the national junior team and won two national titles in U12 and U19. I then played on the PSA tour for four years before turning to coaching full time.

Who was your first teacher? Jeppe Kaltoft, an amazing guy who was an excellent squash coach and, more importantly, a wonderful human being who taught me squash as well as great life lessons. On court, I still use stuff I learned from Jeppe almost every day.

Where else have you worked? I started teaching at my local club in Herlev before moving to the States. My first job in America was at Charleston Squash Club. After a few amazing years in Charleston, I moved to Chicago and worked at The University Club of Chicago, Life Time Fitness-Vernon Hills, and Onwentsia Country Club. During this time I also coached the Northwestern University squash team.

What’s your favorite part about living and working in Wisconsin? The people are extremely relaxed and friendly. It must be because of the Scandinavians in this part of the country! Outside of work I enjoy golfing and nature activities—it’s a perfect place for this. It’s also a great place for my family with lots of activities for us to do.

Describe the club and the squash scene there, both on the junior and adult sides. Damon Bourne, my boss, built one of nicest, coziest clubs that I’ve ever seen, and the members are a great bunch of down to earth people. On top of teaching lessons, I run weekly team leagues, box leagues, clinics, and tournaments. I’m most proud of our growing junior program with kids as young as three years old playing. Since the club opened in 2009, we’ve had six professional tournaments and plan on growing the event every year. So, lots of fun stuff going on here in the squash hinterlands!

What has been your experience so far with Club Locker? We just moved over to Club Locker in the last few weeks. After a few bumps, everything is going well. Most of our members are not (yet!) US Squash members so having all of their matches count towards a national ranking is a good step towards getting them more involved. We are starting to get more interest in traveling to tournaments, so I think this will move us in a positive direction.