NEW CLAY COURTS

As you have no doubt already spotted our new courts are now up and running with good initial member reaction. The new surface will improve further as they are played in over the next month as the infill settles.

There is of course a story around how we got there so here’s a bit more background for those interested.

We were aware that the hard court surface was starting to deteriorate over the last few years and that a decision had to be made soon and appropriate action taken. The original plan was to simply repaint them, as we had done recently on courts 1-4, but the conclusion of the survey we did at the start of this year was that we would need to do more then this to maintain a good playable surface.

We therefore started to look at options from relaying a new hard court surface to clay. Hard courts were the least expensive but had the shortest lifespan (these courts were resurfaced only 6 years ago!) .

Having engaged with a cross-section of the club membership, teams and coaching staff, clay came through strongly as the preferred replacement option and although at £60k the costs were near double that of hard courts, the decision was made to go with clay. The good news is that the lifespan is more than twice as long at 10-15 years!

We conducted a full tender exercise approaching half a dozen court contractors and after considerable too and throwing we decided to go with Trevor May,a Kent based firm,based on their track record and reputation.They are specialists in clay tennis courts having installed over 250 similar courts across the UK including local clubs to us such as Sevenoaks,Tonbridge School and Horsmonden. The works were carried out successfully over three weeks and the installation finished on time for an official opening on the morning of our finals day (17th July).

This is clay carpet as we have on courts 5-10 of course as opposed to real clay we see on TV at Roland Garros and doesn’t require watering or heavy maintenance. Our artificial clay was manufactured and imported from the Netherlands and arrived in a huge artic lorry within a few weeks of the order being placed. The carpet base came in 6m width rolls and we required 1800m in total.

Members will now benefit from more court availability going forward with our now nine quality clay courts all open for play which we hope you will enjoy.