As the nights draw in early and we prepare for those frosty mornings, we’ve closed our grass courts for another year. It was a fabulous summer here at Stoke Park and was wonderful to see so many of our Members and guests making the most of the glorious weather out on the courts. And we cannot forget The Boodles back in June, when the likes of World No.1 Novak Djokovic and Olympic Silver Medallist Juan Martin Del Potro took to the stadium court for a wonderful week of world-class tennis!
Every other year, when the grass courts are closed, the estates team work very hard to rejuvenate the courts and ensure they are maintained to the same specification as Wimbledon. The specific process is called Fraise Mowing and it is something we pride ourselves in doing as not many clubs manage their courts in such a way. The benefits of Fraise Mowing include:
- Removes all of the thatch layer instantly
- Removes any infestation of Poa Annua (weed grass that effects playing characteristics)
For all tennis enthusiasts who are keen to know the specific techniques for Fraise Mowing, Estates Director, Alex Miller gives us an insight into how the courts are currently being managed.
1.Irrigate and spike the courts. The courts are spiked before the grass is removed to help maintain a smooth surface for when the field top maker (fraise mower) is in operation.
2.Shave off the playing surface. Whilst the good grass (growing part) is left to regenerate, the thatch and Poa Annua is removed.
3.Cultivate and level the soil. The ground is now ready for seeding.
4.Cast the seed with a cyclone fertiliser distributor. The seed must be evenly distributed in two directions, a pre-seed fertiliser is then applied and a germination sheet is placed over the tip of the entire court until the first sign of germination appears (usually 3-4 days) before being removed.5.Continue to manage as a traditional court.
We will be keeping an eye on the estates team working their magic on the courts and are already looking forward to the courts being reopened next year, ready for Summer 2017! We will be posting updates of how the courts are coming along, so don’t forget to Like us on Facebook (StokePark), Follow us of Twitter (@stokepark) and Instagram (@stokepark).
On a final note, don’t forget that whilst the grass courts are closed for the season, our recently refurbished indoor courts are open all year, so there is no excuse for not keeping up your game over the winter!