Red clay courts in America

ClarkC

Hall of Fame
Just saw this article with a listing. I wonder if anyone here is familiar with these courts, and how expensive it is to play on the red clay.
 

andfor

Legend
Just saw this article with a listing. I wonder if anyone here is familiar with these courts, and how expensive it is to play on the red clay.
Good question. My question about the article you found is at those American Red Clay Court clubs is red clay (crushed brick) real or red colored Har-Tru?

At my club play on the outdoor hard and Har-Tru are not extra. Dues and indoor fees are another story.
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
Good question. My question about the article you found is at those American Red Clay Court clubs is red clay (crushed brick) real or red colored Har-Tru?

At my club play on the outdoor hard and Har-Tru are not extra. Dues and indoor fees are another story.
Good questions to ask as red Har-Tru and red brick clay play differently. Red clay also clumps more and can be harder to maintain, which might mean higher costs to play (just speculating).

If you're looking for more of a red clay experience in the US, try to find Har-Tru that is irrigated. Our club has two HT courts with underground irrigation, which keeps them moist all of the time. Also, the amount of, or depth of material makes a difference. These courts have a good thick layer of material on the surface, and coupled with the irrigation, play soft and slow, closer to red clay. Dry Har-Tru with less surface material will play harder and faster (and kick up more dust).
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
Good questions to ask as red Har-Tru and red brick clay play differently. Red clay also clumps more and can be harder to maintain, which might mean higher costs to play (just speculating).

If you're looking for more of a red clay experience in the US, try to find Har-Tru that is irrigated. Our club has two HT courts with underground irrigation, which keeps them moist all of the time. Also, the amount of, or depth of material makes a difference. These courts have a good thick layer of material on the surface, and coupled with the irrigation, play soft and slow, closer to red clay. Dry Har-Tru with less surface material will play harder and faster (and kick up more dust).
Very good points. Often, American Har-Tru (at least from what I've seen) is rarely as well-maintained as the courts at your club and is often relatively dry and a relatively thin surface.

I still think you get some good clay court experience under those conditions -- it's still slippery and it helps to slide, there are still erratic bounces, the ball still kicks up on many shots more so than on hardcourts, and it is generally slower than even today's slow hardcourts.

But, I do believe courts such as those at your club or red clay would be a better, more genuine clay experience.
 
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The Coral Springs place use to be all red clay. The public complained it stained their socks and shoes so they took out all but one of them.

There are 2 red clay courts at Lakewood Ranch Tennis Center outside of Sarasota. When we lived there we could play on them anytime we wanted. Everyone else played on the Har Trus, same deal, they said they stained their footwear too much!

Very true about the Har Trus. Most of them are very thin coatings and dry. They don't play anything like red clay.
 
All courts listed in this article are on the east coast, as I have previously indicated, clay courts in CA are few and far between, and this is basically true for the rest of the country...this is a reason why US players do not do well on clay--har-tru or red :confused:
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
All courts listed in this article are on the east coast, as I have previously indicated, clay courts in CA are few and far between, and this is basically true for the rest of the country...this is a reason why US players do not do well on clay--har-tru or red :confused:
True. I lived in CA for 10 years and don't think I ever saw a Har-Tru court. Here in the east they seem to be everywhere. In fact, the nice courts I talk about above are not even at a high-end country club, but a regular suburban swim and racket club. I can think of at least 10 others that I have been to within a 30 minute drive. The kicker is, tennis is really an afterthought at our club (swim team is huge), so these courts feel like "private" courts because they are always available.
 

max

Legend
We need more clay; it's a great surface for tennis. It really is. . . despite what "park board" type people tell us.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
We need more clay; it's a great surface for tennis. It really is. . . despite what "park board" type people tell us.
I don't think "park board" types would deny it's a great surface. The issue is usually with cost, actual or perceived, of the courts and the cost of maintenance.
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
I don't think "park board" types would deny it's a great surface. The issue is usually with cost, actual or perceived, of the courts and the cost of maintenance.
From what I've learned at our club, the initial cost of installation is higher for Har-Tru, but ongoing costs are actually lower with proper maintenance, which really isn't hard. As I said, many of the community swim and racket clubs here in the east have them and membership fees to these places are not high - no rich country club folks here, but middle-class suburbanites.

For a public park, hard courts are just more convenient - lower upfront costs and resurface and replace nets every few years as needed (or when they literally fall apart as we've all seen). No regular maintenance needed. I don't think I've seen "public" Har-Tru courts.
 

mikeler

Moderator
From what I've learned at our club, the initial cost of installation is higher for Har-Tru, but ongoing costs are actually lower with proper maintenance, which really isn't hard. As I said, many of the community swim and racket clubs here in the east have them and membership fees to these places are not high - no rich country club folks here, but middle-class suburbanites.

For a public park, hard courts are just more convenient - lower upfront costs and resurface and replace nets every few years as needed (or when they literally fall apart as we've all seen). No regular maintenance needed. I don't think I've seen "public" Har-Tru courts.

I play at a public facility that has 12 Har-Tru courts and 5 hard courts. The hard courts barely get used though. There is another public facility about 3 miles away from my club that has 8 Har-Tru courts and 6 hard courts.
 
From what I've learned at our club, the initial cost of installation is higher for Har-Tru, but ongoing costs are actually lower with proper maintenance, which really isn't hard. As I said, many of the community swim and racket clubs here in the east have them and membership fees to these places are not high - no rich country club folks here, but middle-class suburbanites.

For a public park, hard courts are just more convenient - lower upfront costs and resurface and replace nets every few years as needed (or when they literally fall apart as we've all seen). No regular maintenance needed. I don't think I've seen "public" Har-Tru courts.
The only public Har Tru courts I have seen outside of FL. were at the Delaware Tennis Center.

http://www.destateparks.com/park/bellevue/delaware-tennis-center.asp

We were there several years ago but I notice that the link to the website is inactive so maybe they closed it.

They had a bunch of very nice Har Tru courts surrounded by big trees and historic buildings, very cool place.
 

Carolina Racquet

Professional
Good question. My question about the article you found is at those American Red Clay Court clubs is red clay (crushed brick) real or red colored Har-Tru?

At my club play on the outdoor hard and Har-Tru are not extra. Dues and indoor fees are another story.
I believe over 90% of the 'red clay' courts in the US are essentially very similar to the normal green Har-Tru court surface manufactured by Lee Tennis out of Charlottesville, VA.

The difference between their 'clay' surface and the European red clay surface is significant. Har-Tru and their 'red clay' surface is actually a crushed limestone material found in the Allegany mountains. European red clay is more of a crushed brick material found in France. Har-Tru plays harder and faster than European red clay.

I believe there are some European red clay courts in the US but found primarily in some very exclusive resorts, clubs and private courts. They import all of the material which is pretty pricey!

Concerning more clay-like surfaces in the US, the biggest issue of maintaining Har-Tru in the Western US is the low humidity requiring a lot more water. The 'answer' to this issue is a newer Claytech surface which is actually a revised version of FieldTurf top-dressed with the Har-Tru material. Claytech requires very little watering and maintenance but is more expensive to install. I believe you'll see more Claytech surfaces popping up in the West and actually works great indoors if you can deal with the mess of it in the non-playing areas.

"Clay court" tennis is great. Once you get used to it, playing on hard courts feels harsh. Long live clay.
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
I play at a public facility that has 12 Har-Tru courts and 5 hard courts. The hard courts barely get used though. There is another public facility about 3 miles away from my club that has 8 Har-Tru courts and 6 hard courts.
Cool! Maybe they will become more common.

The only public Har Tru courts I have seen outside of FL. were at the Delaware Tennis Center.

http://www.destateparks.com/park/bellevue/delaware-tennis-center.asp

We were there several years ago but I notice that the link to the website is inactive so maybe they closed it.

They had a bunch of very nice Har Tru courts surrounded by big trees and historic buildings, very cool place.
It's still there but is privately owned now. I've played in tournaments there and my wife has played league games there. Nice place.
 
Cool! Maybe they will become more common.



It's still there but is privately owned now. I've played in tournaments there and my wife has played league games there. Nice place.
Funny story about that place when it was Delaware Tennis Center. My girl had just turned 5 and we wanted to hit on Har Tru while visiting up there. The head pro was this tall skinny guy and he took a look at my kid and said, "don't waste your money hitting with her on these courts, just take her to the high school up the street".

I paid the fee, told him off a little, then he watched out his window while she smacked balls harder than 90% of the folks hitting there.

I guess in DE he hadn't seen what tennis kids can do down here at young ages.
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
Funny story about that place when it was Delaware Tennis Center. My girl had just turned 5 and we wanted to hit on Har Tru while visiting up there. The head pro was this tall skinny guy and he took a look at my kid and said, "don't waste your money hitting with her on these courts, just take her to the high school up the street".

I paid the fee, told him off a little, then he watched out his window while she smacked balls harder than 90% of the folks hitting there.

I guess in DE he hadn't seen what tennis kids can do down here at young ages.
Yeah, I think that was the old Tennis Director. It's now run by a nice couple and their daughter, who played college tennis, runs the junior camps. Seems to be an older crowd as far as membership.
 
Yeah, I think that was the old Tennis Director. It's now run by a nice couple and their daughter, who played college tennis, runs the junior camps. Seems to be an older crowd as far as membership.
Yes, he said he was the tennis director, I looked him up, old school USPTA pro. It was an older crowd when we went, he was sitting in the pro shop talking with a few old timers when we got there.
 

db10s

Hall of Fame
The Coral Springs place use to be all red clay. The public complained it stained their socks and shoes so they took out all but one of them.

There are 2 red clay courts at Lakewood Ranch Tennis Center outside of Sarasota. When we lived there we could play on them anytime we wanted. Everyone else played on the Har Trus, same deal, they said they stained their footwear too much!

Very true about the Har Trus. Most of them are very thin coatings and dry. They don't play anything like red clay.
I played a tournament there (Coral Springs)... They took all of them out... :cry::cry:

I think there are some at Crandon Park.

I was in the middle of nowhere in NH, near Mt. Washington, and there was one REAL red clay court on the side of the road. It was perfectly manicured, the month was September... And I was wearing a suit... BUT, I had all of my stuff in the trunk, and absolutely nobody to hit with :cry:.... I was too stupid to not mark on a GPS where I was... I've searched on Google Earth for hours every once in a while... Still haven't found it. :cry:
 
I was in the middle of nowhere in NH, near Mt. Washington, and there was one REAL red clay court on the side of the road. It was perfectly manicured, the month was September... And I was wearing a suit... BUT, I had all of my stuff in the trunk, and absolutely nobody to hit with :cry:.... I was too stupid to not mark on a GPS where I was... I've searched on Google Earth for hours every once in a while... Still haven't found it. :cry:
Maybe it's the Brigadoon of clay courts.
 
I just read the article and it was interesting to see that Horseshoe Bay Resort in Horseshoe Bay, Texas (Northwest of Austin) was not mentioned. They have 6 red clay courts and their clay is imported according to the tennis pros there. Because they have 3 adult tournaments a year there, I get to play on the red stuff on a regular basis. They did say the courts are very hard to maintain but what makes it easier is that they keep them hydrated using an underground irrigation systen. With the courts being hydrated all the time, sliding isn't as smooth as a dry court...
 

db10s

Hall of Fame
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dannythomas

Semi-Pro
I do think this surface thing is a bit overplayed in significance. To win the French Open it is a huge advantage if you hit with heavy top spin. You can learn that on clay of every color. There are mot many of the top US players male or female who do that and would they do it more if they trained on red clay instead of green ? I don't think so. It is down to technique.
Similarly all the other surfaces have been slowed down at grand slam level which is why players like Nadal have had success in them. Yes they are still a little faster than clay and they suit flat hitters better, but it doesn't necessarily follow that kids who train on hard courts will have a big advantage over the European players if they get to play in the US Open.
I doubt whether Venus Williams or Pete Sampras ever played on grass as kids but it was their style of play not grass court experience as kids that was more important.
 
T

TCF

Guest
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t135

Professional
From what I've learned at our club, the initial cost of installation is higher for Har-Tru, but ongoing costs are actually lower with proper maintenance, which really isn't hard. As I said, many of the community swim and racket clubs here in the east have them and membership fees to these places are not high - no rich country club folks here, but middle-class suburbanites.

For a public park, hard courts are just more convenient - lower upfront costs and resurface and replace nets every few years as needed (or when they literally fall apart as we've all seen). No regular maintenance needed. I don't think I've seen "public" Har-Tru courts.
Columbus GA has a huge public clay court facility. Atlanta GA's Bitsy Grant public tennis center is still 50% clay. And sandy springs tennis center in metro Atlanta has a couple clay courts. HIT Atlanta is also public with two clay courts.
 

t135

Professional
danny, the red clay is totally different than Har Tru. Red clay makes your legs burn, red clay makes the balls heavy. Its the mental and physical toughness developed from kids playing interclubs against grown men, on red clay, week after week. Playing match after match with your legs burning and lifting heavy balls over and over again develops a level of toughness.

Its like when you hear of NFL legends who trained by running in sand.

The advantage they would have at the French and any other clays is only a small part of it. The rest is the toughness required to train and play tournaments on the red clay as juniors.

Its not the only factor. But if you had 2 equally talented kids, one raised on hards and one raised on red clay, I would bet on the red clay guy.
Very well said. You're a cool guy.
 

mikeler

Moderator
danny, the red clay is totally different than Har Tru. Red clay makes your legs burn, red clay makes the balls heavy. Its the mental and physical toughness developed from kids playing interclubs against grown men, on red clay, week after week. Playing match after match with your legs burning and lifting heavy balls over and over again develops a level of toughness.

Its like when you hear of NFL legends who trained by running in sand.

The advantage they would have at the French and any other clays is only a small part of it. The rest is the toughness required to train and play tournaments on the red clay as juniors.

Its not the only factor. But if you had 2 equally talented kids, one raised on hards and one raised on red clay, I would bet on the red clay guy.

I played my first and only match on red clay in Germany this past summer. I've been playing almost all my matches on Har-Tru the last 5 years or so. The red clay is SOOOOOOO much slower than Har-Tru. The difference between the speed of a hard court and Har-Tru is not nearly as big as the difference between red clay and Har-Tru.
 

ga tennis

Hall of Fame
I cant wait till June. My daughters academy is going to play tournaments in southern France on the red dirt for three weeks.
 

BMC9670

Hall of Fame
iTUSA Academy just opened a new facility near Phoenix and my son and I got to be among the first to play on their red clay. They have red, HarTru, hard, and a grass court to be completed in the spring.

We are no strangers to red clay as we often play in Germany in the summers while visiting family. Also played a lot of HarTru when we recently lived back east. Red is certainly stickier than HT, which does make the balls heavy, but I've played courts on both surfaces that are prepared very differently. iTUSA's red clay, for example, has less "surface" than those I've played in Germany - almost as if there is a hard court under it and some clay on top. I think they are still working on the court. The German courts are thicker and softer. The HT at our club near Philly had a lot of surface and was irrigated from underneath, so it was always moist and thick as opposed to some HT that gets watered twice a day by hand and plays dry and fast. Just an obvious observation that court build and prep makes a significant difference in how they play.

Oh, and red clay stains everything!:mad:
 

maggmaster

Hall of Fame
We have a facility in Cleveland with 3 indoor red clay courts and one with 1 court. I am going to play the Open at the 3 court venue just for the experience of the red clay.
 

Chemist

Rookie
iTUSA Academy just opened a new facility near Phoenix and my son and I got to be among the first to play on their red clay. They have red, HarTru, hard, and a grass court to be completed in the spring.

We are no strangers to red clay as we often play in Germany in the summers while visiting family. Also played a lot of HarTru when we recently lived back east. Red is certainly stickier than HT, which does make the balls heavy, but I've played courts on both surfaces that are prepared very differently. iTUSA's red clay, for example, has less "surface" than those I've played in Germany - almost as if there is a hard court under it and some clay on top. I think they are still working on the court. The German courts are thicker and softer. The HT at our club near Philly had a lot of surface and was irrigated from underneath, so it was always moist and thick as opposed to some HT that gets watered twice a day by hand and plays dry and fast. Just an obvious observation that court build and prep makes a significant difference in how they play.

Oh, and red clay stains everything!:mad:
My son participated in a Middle States training session on red courts at the Sports Club of South Jersey several years ago. However, the Google map no longer shows these courts. The club has not been hosting tournaments for a few years and it may be closed. Yes, it was very tough to get rid of the red dirt on his shoes and shirts.
 

mikeler

Moderator
iTUSA Academy just opened a new facility near Phoenix and my son and I got to be among the first to play on their red clay. They have red, HarTru, hard, and a grass court to be completed in the spring.

We are no strangers to red clay as we often play in Germany in the summers while visiting family. Also played a lot of HarTru when we recently lived back east. Red is certainly stickier than HT, which does make the balls heavy, but I've played courts on both surfaces that are prepared very differently. iTUSA's red clay, for example, has less "surface" than those I've played in Germany - almost as if there is a hard court under it and some clay on top. I think they are still working on the court. The German courts are thicker and softer. The HT at our club near Philly had a lot of surface and was irrigated from underneath, so it was always moist and thick as opposed to some HT that gets watered twice a day by hand and plays dry and fast. Just an obvious observation that court build and prep makes a significant difference in how they play.

Oh, and red clay stains everything!:mad:

As for how the clay is taken care of, I agree that has a huge effect on how it plays. The moisture content being the most important aspect but the thickness of the clay also has an effect like you say. There is a swanky private Har-Tru facility that I've played at a few times. It has so much more clay than where I normally play and it is quite a bit slower.

It kind of ticked me off in Germany. Here we were playing with a $10 can of balls and they are doing above ground watering on the court next to us!

That red clay does stain your shoes and socks. It was neat when I played and looked in the corner of the courts and a pile of bricks was there. I had forgotten what I was playing on was really crushed brick.
 

t135

Professional
Almost forgot about the gulf shores tennis club in gulf shores Alabama with 4 indoor European red clay courts. I believe it's semi private.
 
Just saw this article with a listing. I wonder if anyone here is familiar with these courts, and how expensive it is to play on the red clay.
We visited my wife's sister and husband when the rented a home by the lake at the Maryland club listed in this artice. The guy running the place charged us $10 (total) to play as long as we wanted. Had the place to ourselves.
 
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I was in the middle of nowhere in NH, near Mt. Washington, and there was one REAL red clay court on the side of the road. It was perfectly manicured, the month was September... And I was wearing a suit... BUT, I had all of my stuff in the trunk, and absolutely nobody to hit with :cry:.... I was too stupid to not mark on a GPS where I was... I've searched on Google Earth for hours every once in a while... Still haven't found it. :cry:
i'm new here and came across this post, just thought i'd chime in... dollars to donuts the court you came across was put in by these guys:

http://www.claycourts.net/

they build and service clay courts all over the northeast, mostly new england but also upstate ny. there are actually a lot of nice clay courts tucked around in the hills of nh, quite a few with various summer camps, but many retirees have them too. all around franconia notch and crawford notch, so if you think this was near mt. washington it was probably these guys who installed it/serviced it. many think clay is the way to go in northern new england cause the cold ground is hard on hard courts, splits them right in half after a few years. netco (the name of the company) is associated with the tamarack tennis camp, and the owner, mike kenney, is the skier bode miller's uncle. i bet if you call him he might be able to tell you which one you're thinking of.
 
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