What role does sand play in tennis court performance and durability?

Why sand is so important to a court’s performance and durability and how to get it right.

Making world class tennis courts requires a granular attention to detail

As granular as a grain of sand in fact. Here we explore why sand is so important to a court’s performance and durability and how to get it right.

Sand is an agent of pace and longevity

Sand plays two important roles in a tennis court’s performance.

  1. It controls the pace of the surface. Your sand rating is essentially your pace rating. Ensuring the right type and blend of sand will ensure consistency of surface pace and therefore, speed of play.

  2. It provides increased abrasion resistance which, in its simplest and most important terms, prolongs the lifespan of the court.

So as invisible as it can (and should) be, sand is an extremely valuable ingredient in court manufacture and forms the basis of a surface’s performance and durability. But of course, it is not quite as simple as that.

The science is in the blend

Ensuring optimal performance and longevity, requires you to get even more granular. It is not just the presence of sand that is important but the type and blend of sand that is used. It comes down to the specific angles of the grains and how they interact with the grains around them.

Wesley Baum, an R&D chemist and Technical and Field Support Manager for Laykold, explains;

“For optimal performance, you need a blend of round and angular sand. Whenever you put it down, the angular sand creates peaks and valleys. You have to wear those peaks down before you can get to the round sand beneath which creates superior abrasion resistance and adds to the lifespan of the surface.”

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