Clay Court Drag Mat or Drag Broom?
Tennis clay court drag mat and drag broom maintenance advice. Your questions answered.
Synthetic clay courts have become extremely popular in the UK in recent years. Their advantages are easy to see. The soft surface is gentle on player’s joints and allows for ‘sliding into the ball’. This court surface is praised for its wonderful playing experience and for its low maintenance. However, there is a danger of courts not being maintained enough.
Synthetic clay courts need regular maintenance with a clay court drag mat and with a drag broom. But how much dragging and brushing is actually necessary? Do you need either a drag mat or a drag broom or both? And how should each be used?
Danger of permanent damage?
There are many different types of synthetic clay courts. In most cases the court consists of a hard surface, covered by a short pile carpet. This is filled in with sand, mineral sand or even with terracotta brick dust.
During play the infill will move around and ‘displace’ unevenly as some areas of the court are more played on than others, exposing the carpet pile. If you play on the exposed carpet pile, it may flatten or wear off irregularly, resulting in greater unevenness and possibly irreversible damage.
You need to redistribute the infill regularly after play. The infill may also wash away after heavy rain which will then require a top up. The drag broom and the clay court drag mat help redistribute infill after play and to layer-in any infill top up.
Clay court drag broom
Drag brooms come with a range of bristles types. Make sure you select a drag broom designed for synthetic clay courts, not real clay. Maintain a sand dressed synthetic clay court with a broom that features a stronger bristle type. The broom head should be heavy, or weighted, for more efficient results.
The drag broom is a powerful tool to shift larger amounts of infill. Use a drag broom when distributing new top-up infill. Also use the broom if the surface was not maintained well during the day and carpet pile needs to be rejuvenated.
A drag broom should ideally be operated by experienced staff. Use the drag broom once every other day and store it off court. Your court installer should demonstrate the correct use of the drag broom.
Clay court drag mat
Drag mats come in a large range of options which can make the purchase decision confusing.
Drag mats are offered in different net lengths, with 115cm and 150cm being the most popular lengths. The net comes in single layer or double layer options. You can also choose between wooden and aluminium rod options.
Wooden rods are easier to take apart if you need to replace the mat net when it has worn out. They are heavier than aluminium and therefore more effective. The downside of wooden rods is that they can become distorted if not looked after correctly. If you hang your wooden drag mat up after use, and do not leave it lying in wet puddles, it will last for many years.
Heavier drag mats are more efficient but may be more difficult to use for juniors or older people. Consider a medium weight if you have a mixed range of players.
A longer mat can be more cumbersome to use than the shorter version. As a result, players may be more willing to drag the court after play with a shorter drag mat.
If you only recently had synthetic clay courts installed and are not sure which mat to get, we recommend a 115cm mat length with a good quality wooden rod in either single or double layered net.
Is a drag mat all you need?
Drag mats are more gentle on the court surface than brooms. They are easy to use even for kids and inexperienced club members. However, you can only even out the top layer of the infill. A drag mat is not sufficient a tool if deeper infill replacement is required.
Please encourage your players to use a drag mat after each play or coaching session. Have one drag mat hung up on each court, preferably close to the court door. Keeping the drag mat in sight helps remind players of the quick 5 minute court maintenance routine.
Purchasing drag brooms and mats
Good quality drag brooms and drag mats can easily be taken apart and fitted with replacement brushes or nets when the original parts wear out.
The price for a good drag mat may range from around £120 to £200. We currently offer our bestselling RED PINE WOOD (36230) drag mat as an excellent high quality mid-range solution, competitively priced from £119 inc VAT. Follow this link for details.
Teamgeist Ltd supply a wide range of drag brooms and drag mats with only a small selection shown online. Please drop us an email if you would like more choice.
We supply tennis clubs and wholesale customers. Contact us for our latest trade price list if you are a trade account interested in stocking our range of high quality tennis court supplies.
Regular maintenance of synthetic tennis clay court surfaces is very important and ofter overlooked. The carpet pile will suffer permanent damage if the infill is not constantly kept evenly distributed and topped up regularly.
Have an experienced coach or club member drag brush the surface once a day or once every other day and check if infill top-ups are needed.
Equip each court with one drag mat and encourage players to level the infill after each play.
Follow these simple rules and your synthetic clay court should be a joy to play on for many years. A well maintained court surfaces will increase club membership and encourage more play.
Invest in a good quality drag mat and drag broom to make it easy and enjoyable for staff and players to use them. Online purchase from Tennis Court Supplies is available through this link.
You may also be interested in our related article Looking for a Drag Mat or Drag Brush?
Get out and play tennis!
Note: prices correct at time of writing.