Get your facility and courts in shape
If you’re a facility manager or owner, there’s a good chance you have some time on your hands, as most tennis facilities were forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as parts of the country look to open up, you want to make sure your courts are in order.
Inspect and repair what you can to the best of your ability (be sure to follow all state and local mandates). Admittedly, these are not ideal circumstances, but by working on any aspects of the facility you can control, you can better position yourself to meet players’ needs when the doors do reopen.
Often, simple improvements can go a long way to making your courts look brighter and newer.
* Net posts: Remove net posts and touch them up with a rustproof paint.
* Nets: Replace any nets that have holes or tears. Also, spend some time adjusting the tension so that all nets present an even, attractive overall look.
* Center straps and anchors: Inspect these to make sure they’re secure and in good order. Replace if needed.
* Windscreens: Check and see how they look. Are they fastened evenly and securely? Are there any areas that are torn or worn or otherwise in need of repair or replacement? Make a list and check with your windscreen company if you need to place any orders, since this may take time.
* Fencing: Examine all fences and repair sagging rails or gates that don’t swing cleanly. Make sure all fence posts and top finials are in place.
* Divider curtains: If you have divider curtains, pull them into place. Does the overhead cable sag? It may need to be tightened. Check the directions or consult with the manufacturer or with your tennis court contractor for information on the proper attachment point for the cable. Curtains should slide easily and freely. Make sure all hooks are in place and operating cleanly. Repair minor snags or holes in curtains, or if a curtain is in poor shape overall, order a new one.
Hard Court Surfaces
A new color coating might be on your wish list, and if it makes sense financially, go for it while activity at your facility is halted or limited. But if you can’t swing a new surface at this time, concentrate on giving the court a good cleaning. Power-washing (either by the court contractor or in accordance with a contractor’s directions) can make a surface look clean and bright. Check in advance as this may not be suitable for all surfaces.
If your cleaning abilities are limited only to addressing a few stains here and there, a variety of products are available, designed specifically for tennis court use. In all cases, though, consult with your court contractor first, since different stains may require different treatments. Check with a contractor before using any soap, cleaner or method, no matter how mild.
If your court surface is generally free of stains, get rid of anything that may cause staining or problems, such as leaves, pine needles, pollen and dirt, by using a leaf blower or a soft push broom. Make sure mats or shoe cleaners are located at the entrance to each court so players don’t track in anything.
Make sure squeegees, rollers or anything else that will be needed once courts open and play resumes are available and conveniently located.
Soft Court Surfaces
On soft courts, a pre-season reconditioning, top dressing and new line tapes will be required before opening for the year. In some areas, this has already been performed; however, if the courts have been closed in the interim, they will need extra care to bring them back to playing condition. Consult your court contractor for advice.
Make sure each court has maintenance equipment, such as drag brooms, line sweepers and shoe cleaners. If you’re short on equipment or if anything is broken, now is the time to order what you need.
Accessories and Amenities
Inspect all light fixtures and make any repairs. Court lighting needs to adhere to specific standards, so take the time to do light meter readings in specified locations on the courts. Contact your lighting consultant for assistance.
Inspect courtside benches, tables and other furniture and make certain they sit firmly and do not rock. If tables or benches have umbrellas, make sure they’re in good working order. Make sure there are plenty of courtside waste baskets as well as trash cans in viewing areas.
Inspect equipment, such as ball carts, hoppers, ball machines, pop-up nets, drill equipment and anything else that is regularly used when courts are open. If anything needs to be repaired or replaced, now is the time.
If you’ve been meaning to hang signs that list court rules (anything from reservation policies, to rules regarding court-specific shoes, to new social-distancing policies), this is the time to order them and place them.
This is a challenging time for all of us, but you can turn this down time into an opportunity to make your facility shine for your players when they finally get back on court.
Peter Francesconi is the editor of Racquet Sports Industry magazine.
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