Three Glass Courts, really !!!
You may have noticed the reports mentioning the “Glass Courts” here at Hong Kong Football Club.
At first glance you might be forgiven for thinking that courts 5, 6 and 7, on which the PSA events have been played, are traditional courts with glass panels on the walls.
But no, they’re ‘proper’ glass courts, just like you’d see erected at exotic locations around the globe – including Hong Kong Harbour – but there are three of them, permanently in place here, and the members and the professionals love them.
Let’s explain …
Four years ago the courts were in need of maintenance and rather than investing in upgrading the existing walls and floors the decision was taken to look at something more radical.
“All decisions on investments on sporting facilities are taken by the club’s general committee, not just the squash section,” explains Neil Roberts, who was in charge of the renovation programme.
“With ASB, who provided the original courts, we looked at alternatives and they showed us examples of permanent glass courts they’d installed in London and Paris.
“The initial outlay on these courts is obviously higher, but the decreased maintenance costs and longer life represent savings over a number of years, so it made sense economically.
“When this club invests money on facilities it always likes to put in the best they can, so when we put the proposal to the General Committee they agreed.”
Installation of the courts started in time to get the courts ready for the HKFC International of 2014, and took eight weeks to complete. The old walls and floors were stripped out, and metal frames installed to hold the glass panels.
The glass panels themselves come in a range of surfaces, the ones installed here are of ‘medium’ roughness, and there’s also a film behind them to give them colour – and to allay some members’ fears that you’d be able to see through from one court to another!
So this will be the fourth International that they’ve been in use for, and club members and professional players alike seem to love them.
“They sound noisy when you first start hitting on them, but in fact the level of noise is the same as traditional courts, it’s just a different noise,” explained Roberts. “Maintenance couldn’t be easier, we just wipe down the walls weekly, and tighten the screws once in a while.
“The members quickly got used to them, and now we find that these courts are always the first ones to be booked. The pro players like them too, the girls especially find the truer bounce to their liking.”
Rachael Grinham tweeted that she really enjoyed playing on them, and Joelle King echoed those sentiments.
“Like all glass courts you need a few hits to get used to them, but once you’re over that we all prefer playing on them, and the ones here are very nice,” said King, who won the 2016 event.
So there you have it – three real all-glass courts – and it may be that the four remaining traditional courts follow suit some time in the future.
Jealous ? You should be …
A change for this year’s event will be that the Club Logo will is on the front walls, giving a nice focal point.
It’s just a mockup on the above photo, but hopefully will make for some good photos framing the logo around rackets and players’ heads – stay tuned for that !