Chip Moreland is the President of Sales & Operations for Vintage Contractors, which for 40 years has surfaced tennis and other sports courts throughout California. Vintage innovated some of the first sports surfacing applications, and since 1993 Chip has partnered with facility owners and directors to create high-quality experiences for players.
Vintage provided pro-bono design and pre-construction consulting on the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center renovation project and will be working with the general contractor (Azul) in the coming months to build the asphalt substrate, and provide surfacing and tennis fencing and other tennis-related services.
1. How did you get started in the business of resurfacing and remodeling tennis courts?
Building tennis courts has been a lifelong journey for most of our team. I started working on tennis courts and running tracks as a summer job. After college, I was able to land a great job in Boston with the leading tennis court surfacing manufacturer in their product development division. It was a unique training opportunity and gave me a great deal of experience in development and analysis protocols for construction materials. When I shifted to the west coast and started to work for Vintage, it was like being able to fly. All of the conceptual and testing activities that we had been doing at the factory turned into real life applications. Both experiences inform each other, especially the parts that navigate through the marketing process and providing owners with proper technical expectations.
For each of our team, the opportunities and enjoyment in the work and the end product has kept us captive to both our company and the industry of tennis and sports infrastructure. My partner Tony Edwards also was in high school when he started working for his father in the summers. Tony’s father was one of the first builders for the new era of construction and developed many of the construction techniques that are the foundation for today’s industry. Our office management/controller also started right out of college and been with us over 20 years. Our superintendent has worked for our company the longest -- over 40 years -- and started as a 20 year old.
2. What might surprise people to know about the process of court surfacing?
The average tennis court technician walks more than 6.5 miles a day. Most court resurfacing requires three to five coats of materials, so the milage gets up there fast.
Pertinent to our Golden Gate Park project, tennis court construction as we know it today with asphalt or concrete surfaces and a colored tennis surface started in the mid 1960s. There was a major sports infrastructure movement of all new construction that occurred from the mid 1960s through the 1970s. This coincided with the growth of tennis as a sport and also the growth of parks and recreation programs and facilities. The facilities we are working on today have multiple layers of reconstruction; the removal of the layers reveal a 60 to70-year history of repairs and resurfacing -- the same way the rings of redwood trees describe its growth life and patterns.
3. What are some of the most high-profile local tennis facilities that you’ve worked on?
Both Stanford and Cal Berkeley Tennis/Athletic departments have been clients for most of my career for renovation, building and resurfacing maintenance. We performed the renovation at the Olympic Club after the US Open Golf Tournament, which included adding cushion courts, new fencing and new lights. One of the more interesting projects was the renovation of the California Tennis Club with our Slipsheet Overlay system that eliminates cracks. It also included an embedded heating system that the club uses to dry the courts in the shaded areas, which hold dew and surface moisture. We are the surfacing partner for all three of the Bay Area TPC Challenger Events at Seascape, Tiburon Peninsula Club and Solano College. Many of the SF Recreation & Park tennis courts are on our renovation list as well as the cities of Fremont, Pleasanton, Cupertino, Berkeley and many others.
4. Are you a tennis player? Do you play in leagues or just for fun?
I am not a league player. With our distribution and consulting work the travel keeps me from being a good league/team citizen. But I love to play the game and I am a serial recreational sports participant. I really love the community around recreational activities and relationships/bonds that are formed. My tennis is recreational and more for the workout and fellowship BUT also informs me about important nuances of the sport with regards to operations, facility use and innovations.
5. You are working on the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center renovation. What excites you about this project?
There are many reasons that this project excites me and our team. First is the historical element of the site. As mentioned, the growth of tennis and the boom of its infrastructure started in the mid 1960s; however, the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center dates back to 1894. Like many industries much of the innovations and developments started here in San Francisco with world-renowned players, coaches, player development and an amazing facility of its time. The care and innovations around the current new design and construction of this facility are going to be world-class and benefit both tennis and the community. The San Francisco Recreation & Parks department and the SF Parks Alliance have been leaders in the state for refurbishing and creating recreational open spaces for the community and this project is a part of that effort. We are honored to be involved!