Personal Grade Tennis Court Lighting

Lighting for Homeowners with Backyard Tennis Courts

If you're looking to implement a tennis court lighting system for your back yard or home court, the requirements are yours to decide.  Most club owners and tournament directors must follow stringent guidelines and requirements laid out by the ATP, but a personal court can be to any standard that you desire.  Reference the next section for an outline about what the professional guidelines are and how you can modify them to fit your needs.

Perhaps the most important thing for a home owner to consider is the constraints that you face.  Neighborhood associations are often none to happy when someone puts up 40' high floodlights and turns them on late at night.  The sound of your competitive tennis matches at midnight might also irk the neighbors.  Consider if there are any lighting requirements that you need to legally abide by.  Check local laws and regulations for what is allowed in terms of private lighting and floodlight systems.

Tournament and Professional Level Tennis Court Lighting Requirements

ATP Court Lighting Standards

The Association of Tennis Professionals dictates the standard and quality that tournament directors and club owners must comply with to host professional events.  This standard that outlines the tennis court lighting requirements is very high and should only be considered for high end facilities that intend to draw such events.  These are the important requirements that a should be considered when designing a professional grade lighting system:

  • Even lighting distribution through the court.  Intensity should be measured at 100 foot-candles on average at 15 random measurements around the court.  These measurements will help to verify that there are no dark spots where the ball might be lost to the players sight.  Along these same lines, measurements should remain within a ratio of 1:2, anything further apart indicates insufficient even distribution of light.
  • Tennis cout floodlights should be located at a minimum of 40' above the court.  Many show courts will feature floodlights at a height of 60', but 40' is the minimum guideline.  
  • Positioning of light poles or mounting devices should be consistent with even distribution.  Tennis court lighting systems with poles should feature designs with at least four poles on each side of the court.

Adapting the Professional Tennis Court Lighting Standards

If you're a home owner then following such strict requirements is not necessary.  Mounting lights at around 20' high is almost always fine for a private court situation.  Anything higher than this will probably violate neighborhood lighting laws.  

The intensity of 100 foot-candles is also not necessary for a good tennis court lighting.  Most club and home owners should aim for an even distribution of 70 foot-candles.  The even distribution of light is very important though and should not be relaxed beyond a 1:2 ratio when measurements are taken.

Having a lighting system for your tennis court can draw competitive tennis to your facility, or just offer you more hours of the day to enjoy the sport.  Either way, if you take your time and design a quality tennis court lighting system, you'll be able to enjoy the benefits for years.