Tennis Court Lighting: The Effects of Spill Light and Glare

By Shakir Williams on 07/09/2018

outdoor tennis court lighting

The beam spread of your selected light fixtures should maximize the amount of light that spreads across the court. We recommend choosing light fixtures with a wide enough beam angle so the light can overlap without creating any dark shadows.

When upgrading your lighting system, some things to consider are spill light, glare, beam angle, and pole mounting height.

spill light and glare 2D tennis court diagram

What is Spill Light?

Spill light is a term used by the ASBA that refers to the shine beyond the sports facility that may bother neighboring occupants and adjacent properties.

How do I Reduce Glare?

Dark shadows can create poor playing zones. Using light fittings with cut-off capabilities help to reduce glare and improve your lighting system. To help prevent glare, the maximum tilt of the fixtures should be set to 15 degrees.

outdoor shoebox light fixtureWhat is the Minimum Mounting Height?

The minimum mounting height for a tennis court light fixture is 30’ (9 meters). These heights can be increased when necessary to prevent glare.

  • Poles should never be lower than 18’
  • Poles should be placed at least 5’ behind the baseline to prevent glare
  • Poles should not be placed behind the baseline lower than 35’ high


What are the Advantages of Low Pole vs High Pole Lighting?

Light fixtures should be mounted parallel to the sidelines and outside the Principal Playing Area (PPA). This allows for an evenly distributed amount of light along the court. If the light fixtures are placed in front of the baseline, the ball could get lost in the dark shadows, which can be quite tiring for players to follow. 

We recommend at least four poles per side with two poles mounted on the outside of the baseline to ensure reducing shadows and optimizing playing time.

Low Pole Lighting Benefits:

  • Reduced glare
  • Superior spill control
  • Longer lamp life
  • Ability to illuminate individual courts
  • Lower visual impact
  • Impact resistance


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