News from the American Sports Builders Association                                                        April 2016

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ITF's Recognition Program for Tennis Courts

When the Tennis Industry Magazine Court Construction & Maintenance issue (March 2016) came out, readers saw something new: an article on the ITF’s Recognition Program for tennis courts. A paraphrasing of the article follows; for full information, go online to www.tennisindustrymag.com and pull up the March issue.

The program, the article notes, rose out of a desire for end users to have an independent assessment of the quality of their courts, and to allow contractors the ability to demonstrate the caliber of their products and installation skills.

The article adds, “ITF Recognition arose from the ITF Court Pace Classification Program, which is a lab-based program for establishing and categorizing tennis court surfaces according to their speed. ITF Recognition is an on-site test-based program that aims to improve the standards of tennis courts, establish minimum specifications for high-quality courts, and establish a common language for suppliers, builders and court owners.”

Recognition for Courts

Presently, there is One-Star and Two-Star recognition. In One-Star recognition, key installation properties of a court must meet the ITF recommendations. Testing begins with a visual inspection to identify any cracks or gaps in the surface and to establish that the court has a uniform appearance. Next, an evenness test measures the size of any bumps or dips in the court using a straightedge, and the slope and planarity of the court are established with surveying equipment. Finally, the position of the court markings and net are checked to ascertain they are within tolerance.

Two-Star Recognition requires the court pace rating (CPR) to be compared against the ITF-classified value for the surface product, in addition to the One-Star tests. The pace is quantified by firing a ball at the court and recording its speed before and after the bounce. There currently are more than 300 surface products classified by the ITF. Surfaces are classified into one of five categories: slow, medium-slow, medium, medium-fast and fast, and listed on the ITF website, www.itftennis.com.

ITF Recognition was originally designed for venues where the standard of play is highest and the quality of the court therefore most important, such as international, national and intercollegiate venues, and national/regional tennis centers. However, ITF Recognition is not limited to elite-level facilities. An application for ITF Recognition can be submitted to the ITF by any party associated with the facility.

One-Star tests must be carried out by an ITF-approved test organization, such as a surveying company, or an ITF-accredited laboratory. Two-Star tests must be conducted by an ITF-accredited laboratory. The ITF charges a $500 administration fee to add a facility (any number of courts at the same location) that meets the relevant specifications to the official ITF Recognition list. The cost of testing is determined by the laboratory and is available on application.

Recognition for Builders and Suppliers

Builders and suppliers who repeatedly provide quality tennis courts that receive ITF One- and Two-Star Recognition also are able to earn ITF Recognized Installer/Supplier “Elite” Silver or Gold status. Elite Silver and Gold status are both valid for five years from date of issue. To be an ITF Recognized Installer or Supplier at the Elite Silver level, a company must have 10 ITF One- or Two-Star Recognition certificates. To reach Elite Gold status, a company will need 50 Recognition certificates.

Builders and suppliers who achieve Elite Silver and Gold status will receive a certificate and be listed on the ITF Technical website. They will also be able to promote their businesses with a silver or gold ITF Recognized Installer or Supplier logo In the U.S., an ITF Elite-level Installer must also be currently certified as an ASBA Certified Tennis Court Builder. For more information on how to apply, visit www.itftennis.com or email technical@itftennis.com. To learn more about ASBA’s certification program, go to www.sportsbuilders.org and click on the “Certification” tab on the top bar.
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