New Revenues from Your Tennis Courts? Think Inside the Lines

December 14, 2015

By Mary Helen Sprecher

Your tennis courts. They get a lot of use from students. But they can also be used as a teaching tool for others to learn the game – which can be a nice new revenue stream.

Of course, the drawback to teaching tennis has always been the finesse it necessitates. Kids love to hit balls over the fence – but that very quickly turns to frustration when they can’t master getting the ball over the net and staying inside the lines. Adults find it equally annoying. Both groups find it easy to give up when the skills don’t come easily.

A number of years ago, the United States Tennis Association created its youth tennis initiative, which is actually more of an ‘everyman’ tennis program. The program uses lower-compression balls (no more home runs, thank you very much) and shorter courts. The combination allows for quicker mastery of form and familiarity with the court itself, which leads to an earlier sense of accomplishment. (Youth players can also find shorter racquets, sized to fit them better.)

The lines for shorter courts can be superimposed on an existing regulation court, some of the boundaries will be the same.  Some of the important points about shared lines:

    •    Since a 78-foot court is 36’-0” wide, the 78-foot court doubles sidelines can be used as the baseline for a 36-foot court.
    •    Since a 78-foot singles court is 27’-0” wide, the 78-foot singles lines can be used as the doubles sidelines for a 60 foot court.
    •    To further differentiate short court playing lines from the lines of the 78-foot court, 36- and 60-foot court playing lines are terminated 3 inches from the white 78-foot playing lines where the shorter court playing lines intersect the 78-foot playing lines.

Here's the Reader's Digest version of how to get this done: Pick up the phone and call your local court builder. Tell him or her you want tennis courts lined for 36-foot and 60-foot play. It's that simple. Bonus round: Doing it now will mean that as you start promoting your spring programming, you'll have even more to offer.

Maybe, though, you have a few questions. Is it going to be a big expense? Will the courts look too confusing? Will long-time players complain? Will it spoil the aesthetics of your courts?

No, no, no and no, say builders. In fact, the cost to have the additional lines added is manageable. It won’t look confusing because the new lines are generally a different color and width from the existing lines and are unobtrusive to those who have been playing for years.

Still not sure? We’ve enclosed some diagrams and photos for you.

Keep It Safe
Guidelines also cover the space outside the courts. For a 36-foot court, the USTA recommends an overrun area of 10’  from the baseline and 8’ from the sideline to a fixed object (or to the sideline of an adjacent 36-foot court) be provided, making the overall playing area 56 feet long by 34 feet wide.

For a 60-foot court, the USTA recommends an overrun distance of 14 feet from the baseline and 10 feet from the sideline to a fixed object (or to the sideline of an adjacent 60 foot tennis court) making the overall size of the playing area 88 feet long by 47 feet wide.

Overall, say builders, adding lines is a simple matter. It can be done as a standalone operation, or it can be done when courts are resurfaced.

Photo Info:

Top photo: Courtesy of United States Tennis Association
Court diagrams courtesy of Tennis Courts: A Construction & Maintenance Manual


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