It's All in the Details
“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” That phrase was coined in the early 1980s and it was the title of a popular book 25 years ago. I’d like to think that I try to adhere to that as best as I can, but the fact is, I often do tend to sweat the detail
In this industry, though, there are members of one group who are experts at sweating the small stuff . I’m talking about court builders and contractors—a group that doesn’t often get the credit they deserve. None of us would be working in this industry if this group didn’t sweat the details when it comes to building and renovating courts and facilities.
I’ve been honored these past 25 years to be working closely with this group of men and women (and yes, it’s predominantly male, but I’ve clearly seen that changing over the years). This group doesn’t seek the limelight, but we see first-hand the results of their tireless and dedicated work every time we watch tennis or racquet sports, or step onto a court.
I’ve also been fortunate to be involved in updating the massive Tennis Courts: Construction & Maintenance Manual for the last three editions, working with a volunteer joint editorial board (JEB) composed of members of the American Sports Builders Association and the USTA. We’re currently working on the 10th edition of the manual, which should be published this fall.
But what many people in this sport may not realize is the amount of detail, knowledge and just plain dedication these court builders have to getting it right and supplying everyone—from pro players down to beginners—with the best and safest courts possible.
The court manual’s joint editorial board has regular calls to update each chapter, and I’m continually blown away by the conversations and debates these experts have. It’s remarkable being able to hear their back and forth and their reasoning for why they feel something needs to be changed or updated in the next edition. I’m certainly no construction expert, but I’ve learned a ton from these individuals over the years, and I feel privileged to be in on these calls.
I also need to give a shout-out to the members of the JEB for this 2021 edition of the Tennis Courts book. Fred Kolkmann is a Certified Tennis Court Builder (CTCB) who owns Fred Kolkmann Tennis & Sports Surfaces in Wisconsin; David Moore, CTCB, is a senior vice president with Cape and Island Tennis & Track in Massachusetts; Randy Futty is a regional general manager for Laykold Sports Surfaces; and David LaSota, who chairs the JEB, is founder of The Tennis Design Studio and president of DW LaSota Engineering.
Like their many colleagues around the country, these four experts bring decades of experience and passion to the court and facility construction field. They’ve done projects of all types and sizes—from single residential courts to private clubs to large public facilities, including both the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and the USTA National Campus.
They truly do sweat the small stuff, and we’re all better for it.
Peter Francesconi is the editor of Racquet Sports Industry magazine.