Tennis Club News

Sunday, April 16, 2006


"....So man and man should be;
But clay and clay differs in dignity,
Whose dust is both alike...."

Cymbeline Act 4, Scene 2

The first coat of clay, or rather, Har-Tru is lovingly applied to court 1.
Monday, April 10.

When, oh when, do we open?

We have some hopes of opening by next weekend. There are some variables involved, especially the weather. We will try to update the newspage when we have some idea of when. (Last year the crew couldn't start working on the courts until April 11.)

Members have asked:

"It seems to me that ...guys should finish either the front courts or the back courts, lines, nets, everything, and open them and then work on the other courts. Why do you try to do all the courts at once?"

Clay courts don't work like that. Building Har-Tru courts is like making a samurai sword: the clay is applied in layers, brushed, watered, rolled, brushed, etc, then allowed to sit, to breathe, before another layer is added. The new clay has to bond with the courts, or, you know, the new clay has to become court. While that setting up is going on, the crew works on other courts, or on drainage, or on hanging the cursed curtains. We'll talk more about the process in the next newspage.

The first coat goes on court 5.

Billy runs guy wires.

Billy installs a new drain in the famously wet corner of court 5.

The second, grading, coat is finished off late Friday, April 14.

"Time to explain to the ignorant, but curious, masses (a) the distinctions between clay and Har-Tru, if any there be, (b) which CTC has and why, and (c) the respective advantages and disadvantages of each."

A. 'Clay courts' is a generic term. Clay can mean just about anything, compressed dirt, Mezolithic strontium with added bonzait, play-doh, red clay, or many different products manufactured out there in the big cottage industry of clay court construction.

Har-Tru is a brand name, a product mined in Virginia, mined, crushed, screened, we-don't-know-what-all-elsed, bagged and shipped by Lee Tennis. Lee's website tell us that "HAR-TRU is made from billion year old Pre-Cambrian metabasalt found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia." (We love the 'Pre-Cambrian.' ) Har-Tru is wonderful stuff.

In some places Har-Tru is spread as 'top-dressing' over a variety of underlayers, dirt, stone dust, clay of some kind. Such courts are not, strictly speaking, Har-Tru courts. And usually such courts are inferior to real Har-Tru courts.

B. Real Har-Tru construction is the prize: 3 or 4 inches of stone dust laid over a base of gravel, topped off with 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches of Har-Tru. (Too thick a layer of Har-Tru gives you sandy courts.) Longwood has real Har-Tru construction, as does the Country Club, the B & T, and Braeburn Country Club. And the Cambridge Tennis Club.

C. Har-Tru is extremely porous. The water runs right through it. If a court has a good drainage system and real Har-Tru construction the court should dry out very fast. The surface, depending on weather conditions and grooming, should be firm, but gritty, enabling players to slide, and to avoid jolts when stopping. The surface should also be soft, enabling players to preserve their joints and muscles and practice drop-shots.

Disadvantages? We don't know of any, at least relative to 'clay.'

We overheard a first time visitor to the club, a guest , say last year: "This dinky little club in a corner of Cambridge and they have these unbelievable Har-Tru courts. Just unbelievable."



The website has a long overdue new feature: a Champions Page. Check it out.

We still have the tournament draws (from 2001 to 2004) available on-line (including all of the results), thanks to the Java Kid. We are re-locating the links, however.



"On the court, tennis players exchange not only ground strokes but lots of information. It's a richly interactive sport, both verbally and non-verbally. If players communicate clearly, simply, and consistently, the game will proceed more quickly, and with less fuss and misunderstanding. Here are a few guidelines that can make the game more fun, friendly, and fair for all...."

We've had some requests to run Craig Lambert's piece, sampled above, on Tennis Communication. (We'd better leave this link up on the newspage permanently.)



Take a look

at what was happening at this time last year. (We are waywayway ahead.)



Some useful links:

And here's a link to the espn site, with pro ranking.

And a club member (let's call him Sol) suggested a link to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. The site is rich.



Website note:
The new club directory, is in the works. The website last year's info. We hope to have this year's info available soon. We are waiting on the club's committees to finish their work.

'Members', and' Reservation Requests' are not active parts of the site nowadays. 'Timelines' is for adepts.


Yearbook link will take you to the last newspage from 2005. From there you can see the whole of the Persistent Archive of last year's news.

Website Note: The time and temperature icon below is a link to a Boston weather site.

Click for Boston, Massachusetts Forecast

Joe DeBassio, Webmaster

Website Note II: The honey-comb icon is also a link. It takes the clicker to an archive of all the past news pages so that you can read the news pages for the whole year (2004). The less-than link (<) next to the honeycomb icon will take you to the last issue of the newspage.


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