Har Tru vs Red Clay: What are the differences?

pabletion

Hall of Fame
It surprised me to discover that the courts at Roland Garros aren really CLAY, but mostly white limestone, with various layers of rock underneath, as a draining system..... When you think of red clay courts you would imagine a very thick layer of red clay, but in reality, it composes a thin layer of about 1-2 mm! This is the list of all of the layers that make up the French Open surface:

  • 1- Red brick dust: 1 - 2 mm
  • 2- Crushed white limestone: 6 - 7 cm
  • 3- Clinker (coal residue): 7 - 8 cm
  • 4- Crushed gravel: at least 30 cm
  • 5- Drain

All of this info is available at the Roland Garros website.

I've been looking for similar information about HAR TRU surfacing, but its not as handy as the red clay info, so I'm wondering, specifically regarding the surfacing and layering, if the composition is basically the same, for the sub-surface layers, or if its completely different. Anyone know about this?
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
The differences are less important than the differences in the kind of care the courts receive. HarTru can be rolled to be hard and nearly fast, or left loose and relatively slow. Likewise red clay. How much lime is added to the HarTru affects how much moisture it holds, and thus the playing characteristics. So blanket statements about playing characteristics are less critical than grooming practices.
 

pabletion

Hall of Fame
Courts at both my indoor and outdoor clubs are HarTru, they similarly have a base layer of rock for drainage and have crushed limestone mixed in.

So the only difference basically is the top layer of either red clay or har tru?

I saw a video though, that says har-tru material should be about 1 inch in thickness (I think this method has no limestone layer below though)
 

stringertom

Bionic Poster
It surprised me to discover that the courts at Roland Garros aren really CLAY, but mostly white limestone, with various layers of rock underneath, as a draining system..... When you think of red clay courts you would imagine a very thick layer of red clay, but in reality, it composes a thin layer of about 1-2 mm! This is the list of all of the layers that make up the French Open surface:

  • 1- Red brick dust: 1 - 2 mm
  • 2- Crushed white limestone: 6 - 7 cm
  • 3- Clinker (coal residue): 7 - 8 cm
  • 4- Crushed gravel: at least 30 cm
  • 5- Drain

All of this info is available at the Roland Garros website.

I've been looking for similar information about HAR TRU surfacing, but its not as handy as the red clay info, so I'm wondering, specifically regarding the surfacing and layering, if the composition is basically the same, for the sub-surface layers, or if its completely different. Anyone know about this?
The French don’t even call it clay. It’s terre battue there, meaning beaten ground.

HarTru is a brand. They are a company here in the USA, providing materials and installing them to create a granular surface tennis court. IIRC it’s primarily limestone inside those big bags of material necessary to create the very thin top surface.

Because it is granular, the misnomer “clay” is slapped on it to mesh with what Europeans and South Americans have been playing on for more than a century.

Even within the HarTru subcategory, there is a court system called Hydrocourt that provides the necessary irrigation to keep the surface integrity from UNDERNEATH the surface. No more sprinklers! However, some geographic areas (seaside) are not suitable for Hydrocourt because they need firm ground deeper to install the intricate design of pipes and base layer.

There is a new player in the American market and they call themselves RedClayUSA. While new here, the same company has been installing courts in their native Germany for at least two decades. They manufacture their granular surface court material in innovative ways to make their courts less labor intensive to maintain and more resilient to return to a playable condition after adverse weather. It also gets very high marks for being really close in play to the more natural European red clay.

If you want to get a full description of all the “clay” surface characteristics, both HarTru and RedClayUSA have very thorough websites and may even be willing to help you understand all the intricacies of their court designs. The folks at FastDry, who install both brands of courts here in FL, are also a good source of information. Somewhere between these three sources you will get authoritative answers to your inquiries.
 

pabletion

Hall of Fame
No idea in South America. Are they so popular in the US and Europe?

Theyre popular in the US since the material is mined there; apparently there is no decent source of good red clay that is proper for clay courts, so someone doscovered this type of rock and started experimenting w it. It does work, but since red clay is abundant elsewhere, it doesnt make sense to import from the US.

We have the ONLY har tru courts in all of Central America in a club in my country (wonder why?????? Cause its stupid to buy and import green clay when red clay is available)
 

pabletion

Hall of Fame
The French don’t even call it clay. It’s terre battue there, meaning beaten ground.

HarTru is a brand. They are a company here in the USA, providing materials and installing them to create a granular surface tennis court. IIRC it’s primarily limestone inside those big bags of material necessary to create the very thin top surface.

Because it is granular, the misnomer “clay” is slapped on it to mesh with what Europeans and South Americans have been playing on for more than a century.

Even within the HarTru subcategory, there is a court system called Hydrocourt that provides the necessary irrigation to keep the surface integrity from UNDERNEATH the surface. No more sprinklers! However, some geographic areas (seaside) are not suitable for Hydrocourt because they need firm ground deeper to install the intricate design of pipes and base layer.

There is a new player in the American market and they call themselves RedClayUSA. While new here, the same company has been installing courts in their native Germany for at least two decades. They manufacture their granular surface court material in innovative ways to make their courts less labor intensive to maintain and more resilient to return to a playable condition after adverse weather. It also gets very high marks for being really close in play to the more natural European red clay.

If you want to get a full description of all the “clay” surface characteristics, both HarTru and RedClayUSA have very thorough websites and may even be willing to help you understand all the intricacies of their court designs. The folks at FastDry, who install both brands of courts here in FL, are also a good source of information. Somewhere between these three sources you will get authoritative answers to your inquiries.

Thanks!
 

chrischris

G.O.A.T.
Have played on Terre Battue and other varients of red clay and Hartru.
IMO T. B. is the nicest to play on cause the bad bounces and the ability to handle rain is better than the others.
Also its easier on the legs as slides and traction are slightly friendlier and more predictable.
 

stringertom

Bionic Poster
Have played on Terre Battue and other varients of red clay and Hartru.
IMO T. B. is the nicest to play on cause the bad bounces and the ability to handle rain is better than the others.
Also its easier on the legs as slides and traction are slightly friendlier and more predictable.
All the advantages you cite are properties that RedCkayUSA claim to have mastered. Have you played on one of their courts?

The WTA have been using their offering at their Stuttgart tournament for most of the last decade.
 
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