Sunday, April 9
One year, during the opening process, a club member came on the grounds and noted the bags of clay stacked on pallets near the garden. The club gets about 400 bags of clay each year. The bags weigh eighty pounds.
-What is all that stuff? she asked.
-That's the clay: the courts are made of that stuff.
-Oh God, do you mean that you have to sprinkle all of that on the courts?
Let's talk about the sprinkling process.
The clay goes down in layers, usually three. The first layer, which was laid in the last couple of days, is a covering coat. It fills in all the ruts and gouges and footprints and wheelbarrow tracks. It should be a light coat. Sometimes, if the courts are a bit too wet, it is heavier than we would want. We have removed a lot of dirty clay, and now we are replacing it. We try to avoid increasing the thickness of the clay.
After the clay is spread, it is brushed. Brushing evens it out, grooms it, takes away any ridges or lumps resulting from the spreading. Then the clay is watered so that it stays down. If the clay dries out, it will blow away. Watering also helps the new clay to bind to the surface. We let the clay sit for a while, to set, to breathe. Then we put the power roller on it to help it bond.
On Thursday and Friday, we put down that first coat. We brushed it and watered it. Right now it is setting.
Billy attaching the main to the watering system. New clay needs water.Court conditions: The first coat of clay is down. Two more to go. Courts probably won't be open next week-end.
Joe DeBassio, Webmaster.