Tennis Industry magazine

 

The Soft Market

These seven outdoor winners are excellent examples of clay-court construction.

By Peter Francesconi

Once again, Florida dominates in the outdoor soft-court category of the Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports Builders Association 2008 Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards. The Sunshine State is home to five of the seven winners.

Each winning facility makes use of seating and shade to make the tennis experience comfortable for players. Six of the seven winners use subsurface irrigation, thereby reducing or eliminating court down time and conserving water. The seventh winner, the Pilara Tenis Club in Argentina, prefers to hand-water the beautiful red clay courts, rather than use a traditional sprinkler system.

Pilara was designed to be a first-class club and training facility and, in addition to the 10 clay courts, also has four hard courts (including two indoors). At Pilara, engineers had to solve various drainage problems, build a sewage treatment plant just for the club and, in an inventive solution, put the reinforced concrete tank for irrigation and drinking water between the practice walls, making it invisible to members and allowing for much larger backboards.

The four subsurface-irrigated, lighted courts at Turnberry Isle in Florida were built on a tight schedule. The owner was renovating the resort and needed the courts completed in six weeks, so the property could open before Christmas.

The Yarbrough Tennis Center at Auburn University/City of Auburn is new construction, with a total of 34 courts (16 outdoor clay, 12 outdoor hard and six indoor hard). The clay courts are in three-court batteries, with one stadium court. Construction was hampered by wet, muddy and freezing conditions.

Brian Piccolo Park’s 12 courts technically were an upgrade to an existing facility, but extensive work and demolition was needed for the site. The conventional clay courts were converted to subsurface irrigation, the slope was corrected so the courts drain better, walkways were widened and the overall facility was made safer and more playable.

Drainage was a problem with the eight-court Islandwalk facility, a new tennis facility in an upscale housing development. Yard drains had been installed too close to the lightpole footings, so they had to be shifted. The courts are laid out in two-court batteries, with shade between.

Two-court batteries with shade between also are used at two municipal facilities — the 10-court Palm Coast center and the six-court Paseo-Fort Myers facility. At Palm Coast, eight acres of pines had to be cleared, then three retention ponds had to be installed to handle storm-water runoff. Fencing also had to able to withstand hurricane-force winds.

While designing and building in hurricane-prone areas of Florida may prove challenging, the state’s excellent tennis facilities will simply blow you away.

Brian Piccolo Park Brian Piccolo Park

Cooper City, Fla.
(Nominated by Fast-Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.)
Number of Courts: 12
Architect/Engineer: Recreational Design & Construction Inc.
General Contractor: Recreational Design & Construction Inc.
Specialty Contractor: Fast-Dry Courts
Surface: Lee Tennis HydroBlend
Subsurface Irrigation: Lee Tennis
Line Tapes: Lee Tennis
Net Posts, Windscreens: J.A. Cissel
Nets: Superior Court Supplies

Pilara Tenis Club Pilara Tenis Club

Pilar, Argentina
(Nominated by Global Sports & Tennis Design Group)
Number of Courts: 14 (10 clay, 4 hard)
Architect/Engineer: Global Sports & Tennis Design Group
Nets: Toalson
Court Accessories: Lee Tennis

Turnberry Isle Turnberry Isle

Aventura, Fla.
(Nominated by Fast-Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.)
Number of Courts: 4
Architect/Engineer: Fast-Dry Courts
General/Specialty Contractor: Fast-Dry Courts
Surface: Lee Tennis HydroBlend
Subsurface Irrigation: Lee Tennis
Line Tapes: Lee Tennis
Net Posts: J.A. Cissel
Windscreens: M. Putterman
Lighting: RLS TE 2000
Nets: Superior Court Supplies

Palm Coast Tennis Center Palm Coast Tennis Center

Palm Coast, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts, Sun City, Fla.)
Number of Courts: 10
Architect/Engineer: Sheldon Westervelt, Global Sports & Tennis Design Group
General Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts
Specialty Contractor: Tomoka Contractors
Surface: Lee Tennis HydroBlend
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis Courts HydroGrid
Fencing: U.S. Wholesale
Water Coolers: Halsey Taylor
Windscreens: J.A. Cissel
Cabanas: Sun Trends
Accessories: Welch Tennis Courts

Yarbrough Tennis Center Yarbrough Tennis Center

Auburn, Ala.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts, Sun City, Fla.)
Number of Courts: 34 (16 clay, 12 hard outdoor, 6 hard indoor)
Specialty Contractors: Welch Tennis Courts (clay courts); Lower Brothers (hard courts)
Clay Surface: Lee Tennis HydroBlend
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis Courts HydroGrid
Lighting: LSI Lighting
Windscreens: J.A. Cissel
Court Supplies and Accessories: Welch Tennis Courts
Fencing: U.S. Wholesale

Paseo-Fort Myers Tennis Facility Paseo-Fort Myers Tennis Facility

Fort Myers, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts, Sun City, Fla.)
Number of Courts: 6
General Contractor: Stock Development
Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts
Surface: Lee Tennis HydroBlend
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis Courts HydroGrid
Fencing: U.S. Wholesale
Water Coolers: Halsey Taylor
Windscreens: J.A. Cissel
Awnings: Creighton Awning
Accessories: Welch Tennis Courts

Islandwalk at the West Villages Islandwalk at the West Villages

Northport, Fla.
(Nominated by Welch Tennis Courts, Sun City, Fla.)
Number of Courts: 8
Specialty Contractor: Welch Tennis Courts
Surface: Lee Tennis HydroBlend
Subsurface Irrigation: Welch Tennis Courts HydroGrid
Fencing: U.S. Wholesale
Water Coolers: Halsey Taylor
Windscreens: J.A. Cissel
Awnings: Creighton Awning
Accessories: Welch Tennis Courts

For details on the 2009 Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards, contact the ASBA at 866-501-ASBA or info@sportsbuilders.org.

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.

 

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