If you are not a regular player but would like a game of tennis, the first thing you need to work out is where you are going to play. You may want somewhere cheap and easy to get to, or you might prefer somewhere classy, as a treat. Whatever you decide, you can guarantee that there are plenty of options. But how do you go about reserving a court at your preferred venue?
Common places to book tennis courts are clubs and parks. For a club, courts are usually booked through the phone. For a park court, players might be able to just turn up and play for free, although many venues now use an app for reservations. There are rules about how long players can play for and when turns start and end (to avoid disputes).
Reach Out To Local Tennis Clubs & Parks
Some clubs may not be keen to let non-members use their facilities, although this kind of attitude is perhaps more common at the most upmarket venues. In many cases, clubs will be delighted to showcase their courts to what they will see as potential new members. Either way, if you really know someone who is already a member, this will make things much easier, as they will be able to book a court and sign you in as their guest.
There will often be a guest fee to pay, but you can rest assured that your court will be available at the time you book it and is likely to be in good condition. If you do not know each club member, contact the club and tell them that you are considering joining. They will almost certainly be very pleased to offer you the chance to try out the facilities for free in the hope that you will soon join.
Park courts are generally easier to access. The rules for booking courts differ across the country, but in some areas, you can simply turn up and play for free if you are prepared to wait your turn. There is often an option to reserve a court online or using a booking app.
Use Tennis Court Booking Apps
In many areas, booking apps are used to find available courts. Some clubs make courts available to the public this way, although the fees can be significant, and many park courts can be reserved for a modest cost. One example of a court booking app is ‘Kourts’. This will search through the courts offered by the organizations that have signed up for it and will show you what is available at the time and location you have selected. All you need to do is choose a time and place, pay your money, and your game will be instantly confirmed. In general, booking apps can save you a lot of research and phone calls.
Visit Public Courts
Public courts are often in parks and are generally the easiest and cheapest places to have a casual game. If it is booked online or with an app, your court will be available during specified times. Often, however, you might want to take advantage of the opportunity to play for free, and in some areas, this will be possible if you just turn up and wait by the court. Some cities, like New York, operate a permit system, where for $100, you can play as often as you like.
Either way, there will be rules about how long you can play if someone is waiting- perhaps 30-45 minutes- so you will need to be prepared to limit your game if you are playing at a busy time. As you might expect, rules like this lead to disputes, as inquiries about how long people have been playing are traditionally met with claims to have arrived just before you got there! You will also probably need to select a court to wait for and stand by it, or else you are likely to lose your place.
How Long Are Court Bookings For?
At a club, you will probably book a court for either one or two hours, giving you ample time to enjoy your game. If you pay to reserve a court in a park, you will similarly get plenty of time. Problems might arise if you rely on a ‘turn up and wait’ system in a park. You will probably be notionally allowed an hour, but the rules often provide that you are only allowed to play for up to something like 30 minutes if someone is waiting. If you play at an off-peak time, you will probably be able to play for as long as you like, but you must be prepared for a shorter game if you choose a busy time.
Finding a tennis court to play on is far easier than it used to be, thanks to booking apps. The only downside of it is the need to pay. Park courts are generally cheap or free, but your time might be limited. If you enjoy tennis and definitely want to play more, you will probably find that joining a club is the best option, as it will be easy to book courts as well as to find people to play with.