Construction with a Soft Touch
Look at the list of soft-court winners of the Racquet Sports Industry/U.S. Tennis Court & Track Builders Association 2003 Facility-of-the-Year Awards and a few things immediately jump out at you. First, seven of the eight winners are in the state of Florida — that haven (some may say, “heaven”) for clay-court players. And second, five of the winning facilities were built by Welch Tennis Courts of Sun City, Fla.
Welch built the facilities at KIWI Tennis Club, the Club at Seven Oaks, the Club at Mediterra, Cap Ferratt and Skyview at Terra Vista of Citrus Hills. The projects ranged from 13 courts at KIWI at Indian Harbour Beach (nine of them Har-Tru, three acrylic and one cushioned) to two rooftop Har-Tru courts at a high-rise condominium complex at Cap Ferratt in Naples (where equipment and materials had to be lifted by crane).
The largest project in this group of outdoor winners was the 15-court Mirasol Country Club facility in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., built by Fast Dry Courts of Pompano Beach, Fla. Included in the project was one red-clay court. Some projects, such as the three-court Phipps Ocean Park Tennis Club in Palm Beach, Fla., built by Global Sports & Tennis Design Group of Fair Haven, N.J., also included future plans for more court construction.
But there are some other significant similarities among these winners. All of the seven Florida locations were built using subsurface irrigation systems, which help to reduce water use and, ultimately, saves the facility money in the long run. The lone non-Florida winner, the five-court Tennis Facility at Black Rock Country Club in Hingham, Mass., was built by the Boston Tennis Court Construction Co. using conventional irrigation.
Also, in a continuing trend, all eight winners used laser-grading to get the surfaces just right, quickly and accurately. And there seems to be a conscious effort on the part of facility management, whether of a private or community facility, to give players and spectators amenities that make the on-court and off-court experiences pleasant ones, including viewing areas, player seating areas, food service and restrooms. All of the seven Florida facilities recognized the need to provide respite from the sun by offering players shaded areas near or between the courts.
When it comes to building soft-court facilities, the term “Southern comfort” has a special meaning, for players and spectators alike.
The Best Softies
The eight soft-court Facility-of-the-Year winners are:
- Black Rock Country Club Tennis Facility, Hingham, MA, built by Boston Tennis Court Construction Co. Inc., Hanover, Mass.
- Cap Ferratt, Naples, FL, built by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.
- Club at Mediterra, Naples, FL, built by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.
- Club at Seven Oaks Tennis Facility, Wesley Chapel, FL, built by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.
- KIWI Tennis Club, Indian Harbour Beach, FL, built by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.
- Mirasol Country Club Tennis Facility, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, built by Fast Dry Courts Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla.
- Phipps Ocean Park Tennis Center, Palm Beach, FL, built by Global Sports & Tennis Design Group LLC, Fair Haven, N.J. (shown below)
- Skyview at Terra Vista of Citrus Hills Tennis Center, Hernando, FL, built by Welch Tennis Courts Inc., Sun City, Fla.
|Black Rock Country Club|
|Club at Mediterra|
|Club at Seven Oaks|
|KIWI Tennis Club|
|Mirasol Country Club|
|Phipps Ocean Park|
For details on the Outstanding Tennis Facility Awards, contact the USTC&TBA at 410-418-4875 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.