View Full Version : Grasscourt tennis

10-11-2004, 12:34 PM
I played several times on grass last weekend. It was a blast. The courts we played on were not as hard as some, they really were pretty soft, but playing on grass is an experience like none other. The ball does come off the court at a pretty good clip, and you're well done to get to net, or to half court, or to anywhere close to where the ball might bounce.

I talked to a guy who played at Texas A&M and grew up in Houston playing at the West Side Tennis Club. He said that grass was the best surface to play on, but you pretty much had to play on nothing but grass. From what I've seen, he's 100% right. Grass is a whole lot less taxing on you physically than even clay courts, and given the unpredictability of the bounce, there are a lot more smiles on it.

I played a singles match and two doubles matches. With the singles, you definetly see more balls, but the doubles was more enjoyable simply because you had half the court to worry about and the level of play increased because of that. I will say this, someone with a passable volley can do very well playing on grass because a short, soft volley (ala Borg) will turn into a winner every time. Likewise a semi-good drop shot. I also noticed that underspun backhands don't come up. When I say don't come up, I mean they turn into "worm burners" like in golf.

Should you ever get the chance to play on grass, take it. I know I'm hooked to the point of thinking of building one in the back yard. Of course, I have to talk the girls out of a pool, but maybe...

Brian Purdie
10-11-2004, 05:17 PM
It's definately fun, as we have one in Hilton head and Jacksonville at the ATP ctr. Both are okay. The last time I played on the HH courts they were the best they've ever played (of the seven times I've been there). That was probably in part because I had finally become accustomed to it. It is extremely hard for me to make the transition and feel settled down out there. Routine is non-routine b/c you can't bounce the ball before each point as you might regularly do (i bounce it off my strings up to myself to mimic this ritual). once you become used to it, realize the court plays horrible. The best grass court plays like a the worse asphalt court, IMO. I've heard Newport has better courts, and I would bet Saddlebrook courts are maintained well. Anyone ever play these?

10-11-2004, 09:22 PM
I've never had the opportunity to play on grass courts. It's something I'll do before I expire, for certain.

Hey, wait a minute...

Ok - it's settled then - everyone (well, almost everyone) meet at Rabbit's place on Aug. 13th & 14th, 2005 for some lovely back yard grass court tennis.

You've got a year to work on the volley, guys...

Can't wait...

10-11-2004, 11:51 PM
I play on grass 3or 4 times a year.I learnt my tennis in the 70s on grass and for me it is like a breath of fresh air with my traditional grips and S&V.The best players to play are the modern western forehand DBH backhand types who make tennis such purgatory for me on hard courts.They have a tendency to completely lose it playing old fogeys like me.BY the time theyve done their big loop on the groundies my slice has whipped past them at ankle height .Standing on the baseline results in bad bounces to hit and opponents short volleys that dont bounce are devastating (esp if you have a western FH).A kick second serve bounces perfectly into my hitting zone.Such fun!

10-12-2004, 06:31 AM
aye rabbit..i agree,,grass is a great experience. i think one reason you guys that played on the grass at HHI and the ATP at Jax had a different experience is that they must use southern strains of grass there and those make for different grass courts than the grass they use at Newport or Wimby, or other northern locales. fun to play on all 3 surfaces in one day at the Hilton Head facility....talk about trying to adapt :) agree w. Lanky....western forhand grippers would get embarrassed alot on traditional grass altho they sure have the balls bounding higher to accomodate the baseliners at Wimby. try playing on grass w. woodies sometime for a real treat:) that really separates the good ball strikers from the unwashed masses.

chad shaver
10-12-2004, 06:39 AM
No fair, we don't have grass courts near me, I don't think. I've always wondered how it would be, especially since I use an eastern grip and hit pretty flat.

For now, I'll go back to the hard courts that brutalize my knees and try to handle all those infernal topspin groundies bouncing at head height on my backhand side. I'm not knocking those topspinners, though. If I could do that consistently, I would do it, too.

10-12-2004, 09:19 AM
I always play on them during the summer here in England, every club worth going to have them.

I find it very hard as I do have very extreme grips and a 2 handed bh. It does make you improve your volleys and it's great to imitate Federer or Sampras or as I personally do, Henman :wink:

There is nothing better than a good old traditional Country Club in England and grass courts in the summer months.


10-12-2004, 10:26 AM
Deuce-ok....if I get the court built, we'll have the 1st Annual Rabbit Invitational.

The amazing thing about playing on grass was I found myself trying to hit balls that would bounce like regular courts to my opponents, to see if I could. Rather than trying to hit something that would have a bad bounce, I was trying to get the court to "act right". I did this more than a few times and then questioned my intelligence after repeating it. A few times I'd try to hit something that would not bounce (pretty much anything easy and short over the net).

I also hit more balls in "no man's" land than ever in my life. The whole deal was trying to remind myself to, in the immortal words of Billie Jean, "MOVE FORWARD". I also found myself tentative on volleys because you basically had to make them. You had no other choice. And what would normally be an easy volley all of a sudden turned into a hard one because I knew if I just got it over, 99% of the time I'd win the point. It was additional pressure.

Again, if you ever get the chance, DO IT. In my case, my legs felt fresh, and unlike baseball where I can drop two hamstrings in one run to 1st base, grass court tennis won't cause you to pull anything like I was afraid it would. Looks like I'm going to have to go to Rhode Island or Hilton Head next summer, or possibly back to LaCosta to give try a little better court. And, I did bring a wood racket with me, just didn't think about getting it out of the bag to play on wood. That would have been cool.

10-12-2004, 11:07 AM
Rabbit, if you are able to build and maintain a grass court, my hat's off to you. Isn't it $50,000 a year to maintain?

10-12-2004, 11:42 AM
I don't think it's nearly that much to maintain. There's a guy here in town who built one in his backyard. He has a septic tank in his backyard and he uses the effluent to water the court.

10-12-2004, 07:51 PM
From what I understand, it's not that hard in tropical climates since we have a growing season of basically 11 months anyway. The most expensive item is the reel mower, and that's why God made Sears.

10-14-2004, 11:45 AM
How do you get the ground so nice and flat? Don't you have to "roll" it in some way constantly to keep it perfectly flat?