View Full Version : Synthetic Grass Tennis Courts

12-31-2004, 05:26 PM
Has anyone played on a synthetic grass tennis court? How do they play? Any info would be appreciated.

Craig Sheppard
12-31-2004, 10:02 PM
Yes I've played a few matches on an artificial grass court. Very fast court, ball kept very low and skidded easily. I liked it a lot actually, since I like that type of game. The ones I played on had sand on the courts too, presumably to give a little more traction and slow up the court a little (I'm not sure though). I can't really compare it to indoor carpet since I've never played on that. It definitely was the fastest court I've ever played on, but I've never played on real grass. Was very slippery to move around on, and very quiet. Easy on the body it seemed.


01-01-2005, 09:23 AM
i've played on this stuff...it's called Omnicourt if it is the astroturf type synthetic carpet/grass with sand in it. plays alot like grass in that the ball stays lows and skids and you get erratic bounces..but you can slide on the stuff like clay..it's a strange surface imo and requires maintenance that often isnt done enough..if the sand is distributed unevenly, you get parts of the court where you stick too much and other parts where it feels slippery.

01-01-2005, 12:41 PM
If it is indoor, it doesn't need sand, and it is wonderfull if you like fast courts, bonces skid and stay lows, and no erratic bounces, very comfortable, and looks very nice, you can slightly slide on the court when needed.

If it is outdoor, then it becomes a nightmare, sand is supposed to provide better traction when the court is wet and make it playable even if it rains slightly by absorbing some of the water, but it is pure crap, it makes you lose all stabilty in your movements, you slide even when you don't want to, and it is almost impossible to run decently, which is a big problem on a so fast court, and anyway who wants to play when it rains and receive in the face a ton of water each times the ball is hitted (those who played under rain will understand what I mean), and it will have tons of erratic bounces like Nobadmojo said, due to the sand and also to the fact that some parts of the carpets will have troubles to adhere to the ground (only if it is installed outdoor), making parts of the courts having some sort of blisters, resulting in crazy unpredictable bounces.

Synthetic grass indoor = Wonderfull
Synthetic grass outdoor = Nightmare

01-01-2005, 03:32 PM
I've played on it outdoors. Not the best surfast matchplaying-wise but very soft on the joint and looks nice.

01-01-2005, 10:50 PM
Unfortunately, here in Australia, almost everywhere you turn there's a synthetic grass court. That means every other club you play at you're on the stuff, especially in Melbourne (looking for something that could handle the year-round rain). What I've found is pretty much what NBMJ mentioned as a problem. The courts aren't properly maintained (they're advertised as something that requires little to no maintenance) and the distribution of sand is pretty hap-hazard. In some parts you can slide, in some parts you cant. Sometimes you start to slide then your foot just grips because you've run out of sand.

The biggest problem Ive noticed is how it affects the quality of your tennis. With a bit of rain the ball stays low, with a bit more it skids through even more. That encourages you to chop and hack at the ball rather than taking a proper swing. When you get back to a hard or dirt court you find your shots are out of whack and you're poking at the ball instead of hitting it.

Interestingly, Todd Woodbridge in a recent Australian Tennis Magazine article said that he felt synth grass courts were ruining the standard of tennis in Australia. He went on to say that, if he had his way, he'd rip them all out and replace them with clay courts.

I know at the moment they're talking up something called Nu-Clay. Anyone played on that?

01-02-2005, 05:14 AM
aye andrew. that's what the problem w. that stuff is. people say it is easy on your body, but it actually isnt because of the sticking too much or sliding unpredictably can cause you to pull muscles and strain tendons..it is also hard on your back because you have to really bend more because of the low skidding bounce.also you find yourself doing lots of sudden lunging to try and reflex adust to the bad bounces. never heard of nuclay andrew, but do they have har-tru down under? it's all we have around here, and it's a really nice surface, and truly is alot easier on your body than hard courts, and you can ppay on it even in a drizzle. har tru is the generic name for synthetc clay, but is the name of HarTru corporation. Lee Fast Dry is another company who makes that type of granulated clay type product. It's a bit faster than the natural red clay.

01-02-2005, 06:29 AM
Thanks so much for all the valuable info. I live in Virginia, and I don't know of any outdoor artificial grass courts in the state that we could play on to try it out.

I knew that you added clay to these courts, and I was wondering what happened to the clay when it rains. We were considering the artificial grass for some outdoor community center courts, but I think we'll ditch that idea. We had heard the courts were low maintenance, but doesn't sound like that's the case.

01-02-2005, 01:03 PM
NU Clay is a pure crap, it is supposed to emulate natural red clay but the final result is far from the initial goal, it is made of a red carpet, where several tons of red silicium powder are putted on, the result is a very slow court where it is almost impossible to run on, or to change the direction of your course, or to brake efficiently, the players constantly slide on it because they can't find any grip, on that type of courts, the game only consist to wrong foot your opponant, the court is very slow with a slow bounce that slightly and slowly skids if you slice or hit flat, it kills the topspin effect, you try to put as much heavy topspin as you can and the result is almost the same bounce as a flat stroke on a hard court but slower, it plays exactly the opposite of a natural red clay court indeed, only flat strokes and slice are effective on Nu clay. Very comfortable to the joints, but finally very dangerous, player will have tons of muscle and tendons injuries, because it slides too much so it puts too much stress on the muscles of the players who will desperately try to control the sliding (too long muscular supports while the sliding) and to find some balance without any chance of success, I'dd add that being constantly off balance and wrong footed forces the players to use poor mechanics leading to poor tennis + every imaginables injuries, being wrong footed can cause many back injuries, because while you try to turn your higher body in the direction where you want to go and hit the ball, your foots continue to slide in the wrong direction. Play 2 hours of competive tennis against an opponant of your force on NU Clay, then say goodbye to tennis for 1 month.

It also requires a lot of maintenance which is rarely well done in the majority of the clubs, the silicium tends to be putted off the parts of the courts where the players play the most (baseline, and center of the court around the net rushers path like at wimbledon), the result is too uch silicium powder on each side off the courts making you slide even worst than usually when you have too reach a ball far on the sides of the court, and then the capets will suffer from heavy erosion where the silicium powder lacks, and the more the carpet will show erosion, the less the silicium will stay on the used parts, so it constantly go worst and worst...

Unfortunately, Nu clay has very agressive commercial methods, and they lie by saying that it does almost perfectly emulate natural red clay, and doesn't need much maintenance (totally false), and is playable in wet conditions (who plays when it rains?), and many clubs in my country start to get abused and buy that horrible stuff, the trick is that when you don't play competitive tennis and don't try too move your opponant around the court, it feels very comfortable on the joints and older players love it at first when they try it just by hitting some friendly strokes with their opponant and feed balls in each one hitting zone, so they say OK, NU clay is great, green lights to install it in our club, then once the new court is installed they play a real match, and they cry, but it is too late, the damage is already done.

01-02-2005, 01:23 PM
I've played on it outdoors also. It's a bit similar to a clay court in the way that the ball stays low, there is erratic bounces and you can skid to get to a ball, but it's a very fast court. Like others have noted, it is a very slippery court but very comfortable to move on. The courts that I played on had fringes and bumps in it, which produced too many erratic bounces for me. The sand was also distributed very unevenly throughout the court. When I played, it didn't take long for the inside of my shoes to be filled with sand.

Brian Purdie
01-03-2005, 07:35 AM
They are disappearing in the US after people realized how no one wants to put one indoors and no one wants to play on one outdoors. I suspect Australia will follow suit. The last ones in existence in GA/SC/NC area were at Palmetto Dunes on Hilton Head. Last time I revisited, they had been ripped up and replaced so long ago that none of the 20 yo's running the shop knew they were once there.

01-03-2005, 12:00 PM
I've played on it outdoors also. It's a bit similar to a clay court in the way that the ball stays low, there is erratic bounces and you can skid to get to a ball, but it's a very fast court.
Clay bounces a lot higher than outdoors synthetic grass courts.

01-03-2005, 12:09 PM
Clay bounces a lot higher than outdoors synthetic grass courts.

JoostT, I don't really remember specifically how different the bounces are. I used to play on clay a lot maybe two years ago but then I stopped and started to play on synthetic grass courts and hard courts. Once I started playing on the synthetic stuff, it felt very similar to clay but I am probably wrong :neutral: about the way the ball bounces. My favorite court is clay and I can't wait until I get another chance to play on the stuff. Too bad I don't know of any close clay courts around here :mad:. I also haven't played on synthetic grass since sometime around May,June :( . I only have hard courts to play on here, but they're great too.

01-04-2005, 03:11 AM
NoBadMojo, is har tru what they call 'green clay' ? Do remember reading about a few tournaments in the States played on what I guess would have been the har tru. I think Connors had quite a run in one of them, possibly South Carolina but most likely wrong about that one.

Very interesting Spinbalz. I dont know what the future holds for Nu clay but, going on your summary, hopefully it's not a good one lol. I think Woodbridge was pushing for traditional European clay and I know that a few of the state centres have already got them installed. Of course the bigger concern is what the local clubs have. That's where kids begin to learn the game so you dont want them disadvantaged from the start.

Perhaps we could go with something a bit different. Remember Paraguay playing on wood surfaced courts in the 80's (Pecci and Gonzalez) and India used to play some Davis Cup ties on cow dung (so you can truly complain about sh***ty bounces LOL)

Russell Finch
01-07-2005, 04:21 AM
I used to quite enjoy playing on fake grass - most of the fake grass courts I played on played like acrylic in pace and bounce but recently I came across a wet and cold fake grass court and it was appalling. The fibres seemed to really fluff up the balls which combined with the rain water made them incredibly slow and heavy. The bounce was absurdly slow and low and the match ended up in a silly slicing farce. For me they're OK dry but unplayable if at all wet.

01-07-2005, 07:32 AM
Andrew many years ago there was a whole summer clay court season here in the US..a televised by PBS tourney every week and it was played on the harTru (green clay). I think Vilas had the record for most consecutve wins back then..some outrageous number like 60some wins in a row. someone else will have more perfect memory than I on this. the HarTru is a bit faster than the red clay of Europe, but otherwise plays like regular clay. it's a great surface and very kind to your body. It used to be good for players like me who were old school serve'voleyers on both serves because it forced you to be more patient and to improve from the backcourt..now it seems the opposite has happened and people dont come to net much anymore. dont they have any HarTur or clay downunder?

01-07-2005, 08:37 AM
dont they have any HarTur or clay downunder

The primary surface in Melbourne Australia is en-tout-cas.

Most of our competition pennant tennis is played on en-tout-cas. A red porous material.

Court maintenance is high and as these courts deteriorate with age they're being replaced with modgrass.

Below is picture of a Flooded en-tout-Cas court. A common occurance with melbournes fickle weather patterns.


01-07-2005, 08:39 AM
We have a number of facilities here in town with Har-Tru or Green Clay. That surface needs pletnty of upkeep such as water and grooming. I love the stuff because it's easier on the body. NoBad is right, it's pretty hard to S/V on so the baseline game becomes the standard.

01-07-2005, 09:45 AM
equinox that stuff you have looks like the red clay (terra batu) of europe....

01-07-2005, 10:41 AM
En-tout-cas may look similar to clay at first glance.

But get down to surface level and you'll feel and see the large crushed brick granules.

But it is not clay. Believe me.

Tennis Australia is slowly installing REAL clay courts in selected tennis centers to catch up with the Europeans.