The very name of clay court reminds you of French open, Italia Open and the god of clay court - Rafael Nadal. The concept of clay courts is highly variable in terms of materials and the methods of clay tennis court construction, so an in-depth know-how is an utmost requisite.
In many countries including France and United States the so called Clay Courts actually may not contain Clay at all. The reasons why they are called so are because they tend to behave very much similar to a clay court. Today the fast-dry type courts are very popular due to their building cost and low maintenance. These are known to be the “Synthetic Clay“ courts. When deciding among the Natural and Synthetic courts there are few points that need to be taken care of.
First thing to check is the availability of synthetic materials in your locality. For example if good quality clay is available then it might be cheaper to build a clay court than importing synthetic granules to build a court.
The climate also plays an important role. As natural clay tends to hold and capture moisture for a long it cause sever building damage if the place you are staying has far amount of precipitation.
Cost of maintenance, a clay court with surface level drainage system will definitely cost less than maintaining a below surface level irrigation for synthetic court. Not to be forgotten the availability of water source for natural clay court.
Following are the tips for constructions:
Firstly check with the authorities if a special permission will be required to build a tennis court. Usually if your backyard is the place then no permission is required.
A standard tennis court is 120ft by 60ft, but for general purpose court 110ft by 55ft will the do the job quite adequately. Not only this it can save a fortune which can be used in building a store house.
Fencing around the back of the tennis court can be visually less intrusive.
The thickness of the clay tennis court can impact the speed and bounce of the ball. A thicker court will mean the ball will speed away after hitting the ground. Similarly a softer court will slow down the speed but for the very same reason the ball bounces higher and a player gets more time to take his or her shot.
As discussed earlier drainage can take a severe toll on your budget if not planned properly. The elevation of the court if same as the surrounding area will assist a lot in surface level drainage system.
For a natural clay court, the basic rule goes like 8 inches of cinders, then 1.5 inches of gravel , 3 inches of clay and on top around 1 inch of surface mixture. Color of the surface is very important in reducing the glare of the sun.
The aesthetics of the court should be given extreme care. For a great range of color and textures there are varieties of materials available today. Not only texture, they also come in various grades from very fine to coarse materials. These can play important role to control from the amount of slide to the speed of play. The depth of granules over the surface can be cleverly adjusted to control the degree of slide on a synthetic clay court.
Dusting the tennis court with chloride of calcium helps to bind the surface material and make the courts wear better.
Even after every care been taken there can be chances that after first rain small depressions start to appear. These should be marked and gradually brought to grade by light top dressing of the clay surface mixing.
Finally, a court set open on the landscape can be somewhat of an eyesore. Plant some trees at a distance so that broken shadows dont fall on the court. Also borders of low shrubs around the court can harmonize the same with a natural look.
Visit Sport Surfaces for expert advice on Court Resurfacing and Court Construction.
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