Tennis Clay Court Maintenance Tips
Synthetic clay courts are becoming more common in the UK. Their popularity is down to a wonderful all weather play feeling. A surface that is gentle on a player’s joints as it allows slide into the ball.
Compared to real clay, synthetic clay surfaces are low maintenance but they are by no means maintenance free. Which maintenance do you need to carry out regularly? And what essential equipment do you need?
Synthetic clay court maintenance is important for four main reasons:
- safety – moss growth and infill overfill could make parts of the surface slippery
- appearance – a clean court is simply more of a joy to play on
- life expectancy – keep the infill level up evenly to protect the carpet pile from flattening and thus permanent damage
- performance – clogged up infill can compromise water drainage and puddles
Maintenance can be broken down into three parts: prevention, regular maintenance and cleaning.
Ask your members to always wear proper tennis shoes. Tennis specific shoes have a shallow profile sole. Other training shoes, especially the type for cross country running with deep profile soles, can move more infill around and damage the carpet pile
On a cold winter day you may be tempted to try and de-ice your court. Please remember, de-icing salts can easily damage the carpet pile.
Keep solvents such as petrol and oil away from your court as they can cause permanent damage to the surface. If you use petrol powered machinery such as a leaf blower, always refill these off-court to avoid spillage. And, don’t forget, cigarette buts can leave burn marks and chewing gum is a nuisance to clean.
Most maintenance focuses on bringing the infill back into the main play area. Always encourage players to use a drag mat after each game. The groundsman should also drag brush the court at least once a week to redistribute the infill more thoroughly and to monitor the surface.
Check each week if it is time to add a little extra infill to replace natural loss. It is better to add small quantities of infill frequently rather than wait for it to need a larger amount. After the court has been brushed or drag matted, you might need to give the lines a quick brush to make them fully visible again.
Keep your court surface clean of debris such as leaves and twigs. When organic matter starts to decompose, it will clogg up the surface and stop rain water from draining freely and contribute to moss and algae growth. If you see algae or moss starting to grow, tackle it immediately.
What equipment do you need?
We recommend that you have a drag mat and a line sweeper handy on each court. Ideally display them near the court entrance to remind players of their cleaning duties.
One drag brush for several courts may be sufficient as brushing will not be required daily.
Tennis Court Supplies sells all equipment including a very efficient moss killer. Click here to see all equipment in one place. Please drop us a line if you need more help in selecting the right equipment for your court surface.
Establish a routine of regular cleaning, drag matting, brushing and line sweeping. Taking synthetic clay court maintenance seriously will extend the lifespan of your court, reduce the need for costly professional overhauling and make play safer and more enjoyable.
You can purchase all the necessary equipment conveniently in one place, online from us here. And please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
Notes: The installer’s advice should always be sought when considering the use of any but the lightest equipment.
You may also be interested in our article “Drag Broom or Drag Mat” here.
Further reading: SAPCA – Code of Practice for Construction and Maintenance of Tennis Courts, October 2019.