Practicing on the “American Clay” in Bournemouth

The British Senior Clay Courts is a well organized tournament held at the West Hants Club in Bournemouth. The past couple of days I’ve had a chance to practice in the evenings with Pauline Fisher, one of the top British players in the 65s and a member of this club. Matches are scheduled from 8:45 am till 6:30 pm since it doesn’t get dark till nearly 9pm here in Bournemouth.

Bournemouth is about 2 hours southwest of London and is right on the sea. Yesterday it was overcast and gloomy most of the day; today the sun came out and really transformed the view.


I’ve been biking to the club and back. I still haven’t made it to the club without at least one missed turn, but made it back without mishap this evening. It’s supposedly a 15 minute ride, but it’s more like 25 since I and my bike are slow. And it’s uphill and downhill, but mostly a nice ride. In the city center, a long street next to a narrow but pretty park, it’s been quite crowded since it’s school holidays this week after a “bank holiday” on Monday. There are lots of families walking along the beach, pier and shopping, giving the area a very festive atmosphere.

The tournament is being held on green clay, or as the Club’s website ( describes it, “American Clay”. The courts are hydrocourts, though apparently the reservoirs under the courts can get too high if it rains and lot, at which time the courts don’t drain.  The weather this week though looks pretty good and dry, though cool. The Paris heatwave hadn’t hit Bournemouth.   In winter two of the clay courts, and two outdoor hard courts are covered with bubbles to join the four permanent indoor courts for winter time play. The club also has a pool and a nice restaurant.

I play tomorrow at 3:45 in the afternoon and am practicing with another British player in the morning. We start doubles on Thursday.

Draws can be found here:

Photos are here:

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