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Cindysphinx
02-08-2010, 04:03 PM
In our recent snowstorm, both bubbles at one of the private clubs collapsed. A few years back, the same thing happened at that same club. I assume no one was inside so no one was hurt.

I have to say, I don't understand this. There are a lot of different bubbles around here, and this one club is the only I have ever heard to have collapsed. I called (my son takes clinics there), and they said they would be closed for at least two weeks and they are waiting for a part that must arrive from Canada.

Does anyone know anything about these bubbles? I have started to wonder whether this bubbles (or other bubbles) are safe. We do have matches at facilities during snow storms (league matches are often not canceled in inclement wather). Has anyone ever heard of such a thing before?

Cindy -- who loves tennis but who doesn't love it enough to risk being buried alive

OrangePower
02-08-2010, 04:18 PM
Bubbles?!? One of the advantages of living in CA is that the only bubbles on the tennis court are when my friend brings his little kids along and they blow soap bubbles :-)

raiden031
02-08-2010, 04:24 PM
I heard that the bubble in Columbia was taken down pre-emptively for the December storm and this weekend's storm. Of course it still takes them several days to clear the snow off before they can resume operations again.

equinox
02-08-2010, 04:50 PM
what's a bubble?

Cindysphinx
02-08-2010, 05:00 PM
They are huge plastic domes for tennis courts. Most facilities that use bubbles install them in the fall and remove them in the spring. Other facilities leave the bubble up year-round. They look inflatable.

I was once inside the Bullis bubble when the power went out. The bubble slowly started to deflate. The pros told us that we had one hour to get out before it came all the way to the ground. We kept playing, and it re-inflated when the power came back on after about 15 minutes.

I don't know if the facility that had the collapse takes their bubble down in advance of a big storm. The pro at Manor Country Club told me it costs a lot of money to take down a bubble, and they reserve the date for this work well in advance.

Cindy -- surprised that some of these bubbles don't blow away in high winds and who is spooked when the light fixtures start swinging around because of the wind

jrod
02-08-2010, 05:57 PM
^^^ We lost several bubbles at a club in New England in last year's ice storm. The club had to relocate to nearby facilities that were warehouse based. The repair took something like 5 weeks. I do know that they try and raise the heat to keep the snow/ice from sticking, but nothing is guaranteed. Bubbles are a pain. The only advantage they offer is the option of outdoor courts in the summer months.

10ispro
02-08-2010, 07:18 PM
Bubbles are generally safe but came come down for several reasons. having a large amount of additional weight placed upon it, like this past weekends snow is one way. puncture from ice or other debris causing a leak is another common one.

another is electrical failure. large storms can play havoc with electric lines. power disruption will cause it to deflate as well. Most have a back up system, but under extreme conditions, sometimes the back up circuit fails as well (happened at my old Club)

At my last club which had a bubble it cost approx $7500 to put the bubble up and take it down. included all the lights etc....We budgeted approx $15,000 each season but kept an additional $7000 for emergency expenses.


When a bubble collapses its usually at least $5000 to re inflate, plus the cost of any damaged lights etc...

CallOfBooty
02-08-2010, 07:51 PM
They are huge plastic domes for tennis courts. Most facilities that use bubbles install them in the fall and remove them in the spring. Other facilities leave the bubble up year-round. They look inflatable.

I was once inside the Bullis bubble when the power went out. The bubble slowly started to deflate. The pros told us that we had one hour to get out before it came all the way to the ground. We kept playing, and it re-inflated when the power came back on after about 15 minutes.

I don't know if the facility that had the collapse takes their bubble down in advance of a big storm. The pro at Manor Country Club told me it costs a lot of money to take down a bubble, and they reserve the date for this work well in advance.

Cindy -- surprised that some of these bubbles don't blow away in high winds and who is spooked when the light fixtures start swinging around because of the wind

You live near Bullis? The snow here in Maryland is crazy. Tomorrow 10-20 inches are expected.

Ripper014
02-08-2010, 07:52 PM
Bubbles come down from time to time... as mentioned from by other polsters... here I have seen them go down at three locations locally. I doesn't happen often, maybe 4 times over 20 years that I have been aware of. But even if the bubble was coming down... you have plenty of time to get out...

jswinf
02-09-2010, 11:45 AM
I was once inside the Bullis bubble when the power went out. The bubble slowly started to deflate. The pros told us that we had one hour to get out before it came all the way to the ground. We kept playing, and it re-inflated when the power came back on after about 15 minutes.



Now I've got a mental image of crazed competitors slugging it out while the roof drops lower...lower...can't lob anymore, now forced to crouch, now crawling after the ball as the dome settles onto the net posts.

Seriously, these things hopefully wouldn't collapse suddenly so people would have a chance to get out, but I believe the Dallas Cowboys had a similar structure over a practice field that collapsed during a bad storm and I think there were some casualties.

r2473
02-09-2010, 11:54 AM
Bubbles suck. The temperature is usually just above ambient, the lighting is awful, and the echo makes it impossible to hear what anyone is saying. On top of that, they are usually really expensive.

I talked to the manager of the tennis facility at the park. They have a bubble covering 4 courts in the winter. He said that it is a PITA. They don't make any money on it, there is a neighbor that sues them every year to get it removed (the neighbor is a lawyer and thinks it is an eyesore), and they are constantly handling customers complaining about everything (mostly the price, lighting, and cost).

Luckily the University has 8 great courts. If i play with a student, I pay $8 / hr. for the court (so $4 / hr. for singles and $2 / hr. for doubles). Staff rate is $10 / hr.

crystal_clear
02-09-2010, 01:08 PM
Our bubble (5 courts) leaked a few times. The bubble was closed for a week once because the roof partially collapsed due to a snowstorm.

crystal_clear
02-09-2010, 01:13 PM
Now I've got a mental image of crazed competitors slugging it out while the roof drops lower...lower...can't lob anymore, now forced to crouch, now crawling after the ball as the dome settles onto the net posts.




LOL~

10 char

Ripper014
02-09-2010, 01:14 PM
Bubbles suck. The temperature is usually just above ambient, the lighting is awful, and the echo makes it impossible to hear what anyone is saying. On top of that, they are usually really expensive.

I talked to the manager of the tennis facility at the park. They have a bubble covering 4 courts in the winter. He said that it is a PITA. They don't make any money on it, there is a neighbor that sues them every year to get it removed (the neighbor is a lawyer and thinks it is an eyesore), and they are constantly handling customers complaining about everything (mostly the price, lighting, and cost).

Luckily the University has 8 great courts. If i play with a student, I pay $8 / hr. for the court (so $4 / hr. for singles and $2 / hr. for doubles). Staff rate is $10 / hr.


I used to get the opportunity to play in both structures and bubbles during the winters... I have been members of both. And yes bubbles suck... they can be dark, they can be cold if they are not heated... and yes they are definitely loud if you are near the compressor. Would I choose it over a structure... nope... but would I rather be playing tennis than not, absolutely!

Topaz
02-09-2010, 01:35 PM
Cindy, one of the NOVA bubbles collapsed a few years ago from high winds during bad thunderstorms.

The only bubble I sometimes in was preemptively taken down for this storm, but it withstood the December storm.

My club is an actual structure, so no worries there...except, you know, *getting* there.

Cindysphinx
02-09-2010, 01:45 PM
You live near Bullis? The snow here in Maryland is crazy. Tomorrow 10-20 inches are expected.

Nah, I don't live near Bullis. I have played in pretty much every club in the metro area, though. Which is a lot of clubs.

Jswinf: :) :) :)

Cindysphinx
02-10-2010, 07:16 AM
A Bubble Update (is that a "BubbleDate"?:

Every bubble in our county is down or damaged. The one where I take lessons has survived the best so far. It has a "dimple" and so must be deflated and then re-inflated. As we are having blizzard conditions at the moment, I figure this won't be happening anytime soon.

No word on how the hard-shell facilities are doing. We have a match on Saturday night at one of the hard-shell facilities. I hope it gets canceled because it is a 45-minute drive in good weather, and I worry my players may bail if they try to hold the match.

The league coordinators sent out a message to captains saying that 160 matches (as of this coming Friday) had to be canceled. With all these bubbles down, trying to reschedule matches is going to be a nightmare. They have said that they are going to give priority to mixed matches because their post-season comes first. Combo and seniors must wait.

This means that some other leagues that also have post-season play may have to complete their seasons in the spring or summer, even though the winter season is supposed to end in April.

I really, really hope that they don't revert back to 90-minute timed matches and instead stick with the two hours.

Grover Sparkman
02-10-2010, 08:20 AM
I presume the upfront costs of a bubble are less, but it seems with the maintenance and effort required to maintain one, it would be cheaper to just build a structure around it. Having said that, why would anyone in a snowy climate build a bubble?

sureshs
02-10-2010, 08:26 AM
The collapse of the bubble is very concerning. It is true that such structures are build to withstand only some maximum load, due to both portability requirements and cost. But the club should have taken down the bubble in heavy snow. I assume no worker showed up and luckily no player did either. But the club should be more cautious.

Cindysphinx
02-10-2010, 08:33 AM
Having said that, why would anyone in a snowy climate build a bubble?

Because this is not a snowy climate.

Also, the reason clubs go with bubbles could be the issue of summer heat. Most hard shell facilities lack AC, and they are ridiculously hot and humid in the summers. Being able to remove the bubble means the courts can be used in summer.

And of course if one club spends money to build a permanent structure and another club goes with a bubble, the first club will have much higher court fees to pay for it. Which means people like me will go play at the cheaper bubble facilities instead.

JavierLW
02-10-2010, 08:48 AM
I presume the upfront costs of a bubble are less, but it seems with the maintenance and effort required to maintain one, it would be cheaper to just build a structure around it. Having said that, why would anyone in a snowy climate build a bubble?

In the Mid_West, the southern most states (Indiana, Illinois, Ohio) have them as well.

I think they are ideal for places that typically only have a mild winter, and have a longer summer. Nobody wants to get stuck playing indoors in the summer, especially if there is no A/C and heat and humidity are a concern.

In the Northern states where getting a foot of snow is a normal occurance in the winter, I dont know of anyone who has a bubble.

Id be pretty surprised. Some winters even cause issues for perm standing buildings when they leave over a foot of snow on their roof and it begins to thaw which can cause roof damage and leaks.

It pretty much snowed almost everywhere in the US so far this year, so it's just one of those odd years...

cak
02-10-2010, 08:54 AM
Our club pro occasionally (during a week of rain) talks about asking to bubble three of our courts for the winter. The plus side would be he wouldn't have to cancel lessons, which are his primary source of income. The down side would be the courts would be bubbled all winter, which means people would have to play in the bubble all winter, even on the sunny days. For the social player, we show up, if the courts are wet we go for coffee. For him, he needs to cancel lessons far enough in advance so people don't show up to see wet courts. For us, we are willing to play if rain is threatening right up until the lines get slippery. For him, people don't like taking lessons in even spotty rain, so though we might play, he is still out lessons. Not to mention we can keep three balls out of puddles on the back of the court, but it would be impossible to do that in a lesson. I feel for him, but apparently he hasn't convinced the board bubbling courts is a good idea.

Cindysphinx
02-10-2010, 09:08 AM
Our club pro occasionally (during a week of rain) talks about asking to bubble three of our courts for the winter. The plus side would be he wouldn't have to cancel lessons, which are his primary source of income. The down side would be the courts would be bubbled all winter, which means people would have to play in the bubble all winter, even on the sunny days. For the social player, we show up, if the courts are wet we go for coffee. For him, he needs to cancel lessons far enough in advance so people don't show up to see wet courts. For us, we are willing to play if rain is threatening right up until the lines get slippery. For him, people don't like taking lessons in even spotty rain, so though we might play, he is still out lessons. Not to mention we can keep three balls out of puddles on the back of the court, but it would be impossible to do that in a lesson. I feel for him, but apparently he hasn't convinced the board bubbling courts is a good idea.

That's really interesting, CAK.

You don't say where this is, but does it get cold in the winter? Even an unheated bubble is more pleasant in cold weather than playing outside.

Also, does your club get revenue from league play or tournaments? If so, then it might make sense to have a bubble. If not, then I think your pro is straight out of luck, for the reasons you mention.

My own pro is probably freaking out right now. He hasn't been able to teach since Friday, and it could be a week or more before the bubble is up. And then there will be fierce competition for court time, with all the pros wanting to make up lessons and the members wanting spot time. If he doesn't teach, he doesn't get paid so I feel for him.

Nellie
02-10-2010, 09:13 AM
Funny- I was in a bubble in DC (at East Potomac) when a car drove off an overpass, landed on the bubble and stayed on the bubble, hardly causing a dent. That was the luckiest driver ever to fall 50 feet to land in a pocket of cushioned air. Sadly, I lost my court so the bubble could be deflated to get the car/driver down.

I guess a few million pounds of snow will do some damage to a bubble.

Topaz
02-10-2010, 10:02 AM
Funny- I was in a bubble in DC (at East Potomac) when a car drove off an overpass, landed on the bubble and stayed on the bubble, hardly causing a dent. That was the luckiest driver ever to fall 50 feet to land in a pocket of cushioned air. Sadly, I lost my court so the bubble could be deflated to get the car/driver down.

I guess a few million pounds of snow will do some damage to a bubble.

Hey, I know which bubble you are talking about! :) And, the overpass as well! LOL That was one lucky driver indeed!

cak
02-10-2010, 10:40 AM
You don't say where this is, but does it get cold in the winter? Even an unheated bubble is more pleasant in cold weather than playing outside.


Cold is, of course, relative. Mornings in the winter can be as low as the high 40s (F) at 8:30, when most play starts, though it is usually in the 50s and it is not unheard of for warm snaps of 60s or even 70s in Feb. Which, from what I understand of bubbles, means we would need airconditioning or the bubbles would be useless in the occasional warm weather. The colder weather does keep the super seniors off the courts, but it doesn't bother most folks, even for night play.


Also, does your club get revenue from league play or tournaments? If so, then it might make sense to have a bubble. If not, then I think your pro is straight out of luck, for the reasons you mention.

There's a good question. We do have USTA teams made up of mostly club members. Non members pay $30 a season to be on the team. There are no court fees at the club, so the club doesn't get that revenue, but you do have to buy refreshments from the club, so they do get whatever profit from the food and drinks ordered for the matches. I'm thinking they don't make much. And, right now, rainouts are rescheduled, so rain just defers the revenue.

equinox
02-10-2010, 03:37 PM
The collapse of the bubble is very concerning. It is true that such structures are build to withstand only some maximum load, due to both portability requirements and cost. But the club should have taken down the bubble in heavy snow. I assume no worker showed up and luckily no player did either. But the club should be more cautious.

agreed, i remember when seinfeld shot the milosh! tennis episode in which krammer got repeatedly pegged by the ball machine, the bubble was collapsing under heavy conditions. The cast were all scared of dying inside the thing.

Topaz
02-11-2010, 03:48 PM
I just received a forwarded email from our local coordinator. We lost 2 bubbles in the storms, and matches are being canceled in order to get mixed matches in (because the have to soonest post season)...our 'fun' league understandably will take a back seat.

She also described the process the facilities have to go through to get the bubbles back up...and I have a feeling we won't see them again for a long time. Too bad they weren't taken down ahead of time...could have saved damage to the bubble itself as well as the courts and lighting.

10ispro
02-11-2010, 07:22 PM
Hardest part of putting the bubble up is usually getting ahold of the guy or company that does it...and/or them finding time to come do it before their pre-scheduled date.

Aside from that, aside from possible light fixture damage or actual bubble damage. it is not a hard process.

What I found find interesting is to know if any of the bubbles in the Midatlantic area came down during the storm and then had several feet of snow piled up them. I cannot think of a safe way to dig out a bubble without serious risk of puncture

Topaz
02-11-2010, 07:26 PM
It sounded from the email that they both came down in the storm(s). So yes, they also would have had snow on top of them as well, after the collapse. Thus, massive rearranging and cancellation of many matches.

Z-Man
02-11-2010, 07:53 PM
How much does a 2-court bubble cost?

Cindysphinx
02-12-2010, 03:24 AM
I just received a forwarded email from our local coordinator. We lost 2 bubbles in the storms, and matches are being canceled in order to get mixed matches in (because the have to soonest post season)...our 'fun' league understandably will take a back seat.

She also described the process the facilities have to go through to get the bubbles back up...and I have a feeling we won't see them again for a long time. Too bad they weren't taken down ahead of time...could have saved damage to the bubble itself as well as the courts and lighting.

What's the process, Topaz?

I have a lesson scheduled on Monday at one of the bubble facilites -- the one with the "dimple" in it. I think they'll be up and running by then. I love that particular facility!

DNShade
02-12-2010, 03:43 AM
agreed, i remember when seinfeld shot the milosh! tennis episode in which krammer got repeatedly pegged by the ball machine, the bubble was collapsing under heavy conditions. The cast were all scared of dying inside the thing.

Where did they shoot that? Since Seinfeld shot in LA I never really thought about where they shot the indoor tennis stuff at but we don't have any here.

Blade0324
02-12-2010, 06:37 AM
I'm in Denver and we frequently have snow in the winter as you can imagine. One of the primary clubs I play at in the winter has a bubble. However this is really pretty much a perminant structure. I has a somewhat hard shell on the outside and then the softer "bubble inside that. This structure is heated and A/C and is up year round and has been for years. A couple years ago we got a very large storm in March (about 4ft. in two days). One of the maintenance guys from the facility spent the better part of those 2 days up on the bubble pushing snow off to keep the weight down. Of course they increase the temp inside as well to assist and also increase the pressure to help too. It's not that unusual for us to get 10-12 inches in a storm and they don't even worry about it, the structure stays up with no issues at all. This is also about the best lighting for an indoor facility around, including perminant structures. So for those that say bubbles suck, you have not seen a good one.

raiden031
02-12-2010, 09:22 AM
What I found find interesting is to know if any of the bubbles in the Midatlantic area came down during the storm and then had several feet of snow piled up them. I cannot think of a safe way to dig out a bubble without serious risk of puncture

I was told that a bubble in Maryland went down and it could be as long as a month til its back up and operational.

Cindysphinx
02-12-2010, 09:49 AM
Someone at Potomac Tennis Club in MD said their bubble was down and they were awaiting a part that had been ordered and must ship from Canada. Estimate was two weeks, but that was being viewed as woefully inadequate. So maybe that is the one you're thinking of, Raiden.

raiden031
02-12-2010, 10:02 AM
Someone at Potomac Tennis Club in MD said their bubble was down and they were awaiting a part that had been ordered and must ship from Canada. Estimate was two weeks, but that was being viewed as woefully inadequate. So maybe that is the one you're thinking of, Raiden.

No, the one I'm thinking of is Fairland. I have a weekly doubles block there, which means even less tennis for me, now from 1-2 times a week to 0-1 time a week. :(

sureshs
02-12-2010, 10:59 AM
agreed, i remember when seinfeld shot the milosh! tennis episode in which krammer got repeatedly pegged by the ball machine, the bubble was collapsing under heavy conditions. The cast were all scared of dying inside the thing.

How do you know such things? It was not in the episode. Was it reported somewhere?

Bud
02-12-2010, 11:09 AM
In our recent snowstorm, both bubbles at one of the private clubs collapsed. A few years back, the same thing happened at that same club. I assume no one was inside so no one was hurt.

I have to say, I don't understand this. There are a lot of different bubbles around here, and this one club is the only I have ever heard to have collapsed. I called (my son takes clinics there), and they said they would be closed for at least two weeks and they are waiting for a part that must arrive from Canada.

Does anyone know anything about these bubbles? I have started to wonder whether this bubbles (or other bubbles) are safe. We do have matches at facilities during snow storms (league matches are often not canceled in inclement wather). Has anyone ever heard of such a thing before?

Cindy -- who loves tennis but who doesn't love it enough to risk being buried alive

Pics... or it didn't happen! :twisted:

equinox
02-12-2010, 06:32 PM
How do you know such things? It was not in the episode. Was it reported somewhere?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Comeback_(Seinfeld)#Production_Details

In the making of seinfeld they discussed the episode and dangers.

"Another game for MILOSH!!!"

all3ofus
02-12-2010, 07:26 PM
Bubbles?!? One of the advantages of living in CA is that the only bubbles on the tennis court are when my friend brings his little kids along and they blow soap bubbles :-)

very funny!!

86golf
02-13-2010, 05:48 AM
How much does a 2-court bubble cost?

It's not cheap, but the real cost is the energy cost to keep inflated, lights going and climate controlled.

Cindysphinx
02-16-2010, 11:22 AM
I asked my pro how the six-court bubble managed to stay up without significant damage. He said there was a big crew during the storm working on it. First, they heated the interior as much as they could so the snow wouldn't stick. Then they put a big rope all the way across the inside, and by pulling on the rope and shaking it they could keep the snow from building up on top.

Seems pretty smart and cost-effective to me. I wonder whether the other clubs did this also and failed or whether they just didn't bother.

tournaking
02-17-2010, 02:13 PM
Bubbles over courts in the winter? Wow. In the north east of england we have no such luxury. If the weathers bad there's only one place with indoor courts, let alone a bubble and it's 25 per hour.

Ironwood
03-02-2010, 09:53 AM
There essentially three types of tennis bubbles or domes. The typical airbag, the hoopcable air bag and the top of the line steel bias harness structure. The harness structure can withstand heavy snow and strong winter gales. Our club bubbles four courts in winter under an older hoopcable airbag structure held up by a generator pumping air continuously. Heavy snow or strong winds can cause it to sag a little....and I've been on court a couple of times in past years, when I wondered whether I should make a dash for it. But it has never come fully down. These are the only covered courts in this community, and if you wish to play tennis in winter...this is it!

Xisbum
03-02-2010, 10:19 AM
^^^I've played in one of those heavy-duty bubbles in Toronto, and have seen another one in Minneapolis. They are almost like regular buildings, and the people in those areas are accustomed to handling copious amounts of snow. We southern U.S. wimps just aren't cut out to battle as much snow as we've seen this winter. :-)