By following these procedures, your clay tennis court will play and look great. Long term quality control involves specific daily responsibilities; morning, mid-day and evening.
- Inspect and repair any surface damage. If baseline areas require divot repair, lute and re-dress as necessary.
- Remove any weed growth problems or foreign debris from the surface.
- Inspect tapes and nails for lifting or shifting.
- Groom the surface with either an Aussie Clean Sweep or a Drag Brush. Make wide turns with the drag brush to avoid accumulation of clay material. The Aussie Clean Sweep serves a dual purpose; as a smoothing/leveling tool (with the teeth in the up position) and a debris remover (with the teeth in the down position).
- Sweep the line tapes. Ensure that the line tape area beneath the net line has been swept. The Line Scrub may be required to remove any surface material that adheres to the line tape.
- Roll the surface if necessary. Avoid twisting and turning motions that cause surface damage. As the frequency of rolling is increased, the following results are achieved to a greater extent up to a point of diminishing return:
- Moisture is retained in the surface profile for a longer period of time.
- The surface becomes firmer and faster.
- The rate at which “dead material” accumulates decreases.
- The potential for surface erosion decreases.
- Sweep the line tapes after the surface has been rolled for a cleaner looking line (optional).
- Ensure that the net and center strap are set correctly.
- Clean off benches, coolers, cooler stands, etc. that are on or near the tennis court. If these items are kept on the court during the season, move them and groom the surface below on a regular basis.
- Wash out the Two-Step on daily basis if possible.
- Inspect windscreens.
- Ensure that the Line Sweeper, Aussie Clean Sweep and Drag Brush are stored properly and do not pose a hazard to players.
The main objective of mid-day maintenance is to ensure the tennis courts look and play as well in the late afternoon as they do in the morning. How this objective is accomplished depends on the following factors:
- The time available for completion.
- The existing and forecast weather conditions; temperature, cloud cover and relative humidity.
- The amount of moisture in the surface profile.
- The existing court conditions given the amount of play that morning.
- The forecast reservation hours for the remainder of the day.
Those with experience understand how tennis playing conditions could be adversely affected if the requirements for quality control are not met during a maintenance period on a hot afternoon. Always forecast and schedule (in advance) adequate time for proper maintenance given existing conditions.
The ideal situation would be for maintenance time to be such that the courts could be brushed, the lines swept and the surface watered properly, leaving time available for any surface water to drain before the courts re-open for play. The moisture level in the court profile should remain adequate until the next maintenance period.
The main objectives of evening maintenance are adequate brushing and thorough watering to ensure quality playing conditions for the following day.
- Brush in alternate directions if possible, particularly around the baseline area, to smooth the surface prior to watering. Alternate the direction of brushing on a nightly basis.
- Water the court in a cycling method to accomplish a uniform and thorough watering during the course of an evening with as little run-off of water as possible. The proper timing of watering cycles is best determined by observation. The ideal situation would be for the court profile to retain adequate moisture until the next maintenance period.
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