Tennis Industry magazine


Private Practice

These exclusive residential tennis hideaways show court construction at its best.

By Peter Francesconi

Each year, the residential winners of the Racquet Sports Industry/American Sports Builders Association Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards continue to amaze. The projects are outstanding examples of court craftsmanship, and they often involve the most creative solutions to problems, not to mention having to satisfy a generally very picky owner.

The five winners for 2008, all new construction, all fill the bill nicely. Two of the projects are hard courts, three are soft, but one of the soft court projects involved building a “mini sports complex” with two subsurface-irrigated tennis courts. The project, in Las Vegas, also included a subsurface-irrigated bocce court and horseshoe pits. One of the major difficulties was the hard rock found under the surface, which required a 10,000-lb. jackhammer attachment and an extra couple of weeks to drill holes for light- and fence-pole footers. The owner, however, was very satisfied with the result and now hosts tournament for friends and for boys’ and girls’ clubs.

The private cushioned hard court in Boca Raton is right on the water, but that also meant limited work areas. In fact, to gain access to the site, a wall had to be partially demolished, then reconstructed after the project was completed.

Access also was difficult for the private soft court in Napa, Calif. The site was cut into a hillside vineyard with just a narrow dirt road for access. The completed project has walls on three sides and sub-drainage at four sides, designed to divert storm water around and away from the subgrade and court surface.

A vineyard was the setting for another soft court in California in the town of Calistoga. The owner was also the architect and engineer, and the court contractor worked with him to budget and design the court. The owner, who also built the walls and fence, wanted the court to match the natural terraced surroundings and be symmetric and in-line with the vineyard rows, which required both ground survey and aerial confirmation. To maintain a visual low profile, equipment storage was placed in the wall.

The private hard court in Magnolia, Texas, was the first in that particular area and the owner had to overcome objections from the homeowners’ association. Placed on a post-tension concrete base, the slab perimeter beam rests on in-ground piers of concrete reinforced with steel. Concrete had to be pumped over the house to minimize impact to the natural terrain. Because the house was being constructed at the same time, the schedule was continuously adjusted, and the court contractor had to coordinate in detail with both the architect and homeowner.

But collaboration is the name of the game, and with these projects, it produced some true award-winners.

Las Vegas

(Nominated by Fast-Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.)

Architect/Engineer: Fast-Dry Courts

Contractor: Fast-Dry Courts

Number of Courts: 2

Surface: Lee Tennis American Red

Subsurface Irrigation: Lee Tennis

Line Tapes: Lee Tennis

Net Posts: J.A. Cissel

Fencing: Fast-Dry Courts

Windscreens: M. Putterman

Lighting: RLS TE 2000

Nets: Superior Court Supplies

Boca Raton

Boca Raton, Fla.

(Nominated by Fast-Dry Courts, Pompano Beach, Fla.)

Architect/Engineer: Fast-Dry Courts

Contractor: Fast-Dry Courts

Surface: Lee Tennis HydroBlend

Color Material/Line Paint: Nova Sports

Base and Cushion Material: DecoTurf

Net Posts: J.A. Cissel

Fencing: Fast-Dry Courts

Windscreens: M. Putterman

Lighting: RLS TE 1000EC

Net: Superior Court Supplies


Calistoga, Calif.

(Nominated by Vintage Contractors Inc., San Francisco)

Architect/Engineer: Fred Constant

Contractor: Vintage Contractors

Surface: Lee Tennis Har-Tru

Net Posts: Douglas Industries

Fencing: Fred Constant

Magnolia, Texas

(Nominated by Patriot Court Systems Inc., Houston)

Engineer: Benjamin Brooks, P.E.

Specialty Contractor: Patriot Court Systems Inc.

Surface: Plexipave System

Lighting: Techlight

Net, Posts: Edwards


Napa, Calif.

(Nominated by Vintage Contractors Inc., San Francisco)

Architect/Engineer: Jonathan Plant & Assoc.

General Contractor: John S. Mitchell Construction

Specialty Contractor: Vintage Contractors

Surface: NGI Sports Aussie Clay/Sand-Filled Synthetic Turf

Fencing: Vintage Contractors

Net Posts: Douglas Industries

For details on the 2009 Distinguished Facility-of-the-Year Awards, contact the ASBA at 866-501-ASBA or

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.



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