Pickleball vs Tennis at Robb Field Goes to Mission Bay Park Committee

by on April 6, 2022 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

The pickleball vs. tennis issue at Robb Field made its way to the Mission Bay Park Committee Tuesday night, April 5. Both sides presented their views to the often overlooked but powerful committee. Reportedly, dozens on each side were in attendance.

Years ago, Robb Field — a regional park — was removed from Ocean Beach and handed to Mission Bay, and is under the “governance” of the MBPC.

The pickleball community is trying to get dedicated pickleball courts at Robb Field and wants the 12 tennis courts to be converted. “We have no dedicated pickleball courts in the parks in San Diego proper,” Stephan Boyland told Fox5.

Boyland wants to convert the tennis courts at Robb Field into 36 pickleball courts. He and others on the pickleball side think that tennis players at Robb Field could merge with nearby Barnes Tennis Center. “There’s empty tennis courts all over the place,” said Debby Merickel, a pickle ball proponent. Boyland and others are proposing that organized groups of pickleball players should take over the Robb Field courts, which are at least 40 years old.

On the other side, the local tennis community is pushing back. John Broderick, president of the San Diego Tennis Association, said “there’s no reason we should be pushed out of there,” referring to Robb Field.

Also, the Peninsula Tennis Club, which plays at Robb Field, says they have 500 members. Member Todd Sprauge told Fox5:

“We have 500 members. If they want to go build something, there is a process that you go through with the city.”

Fox5 reported:

Those in the pickleball group argue that’s easier said than done.

“There’s really no real estate in San Diego, let’s make good use of the real estate that we have,” Paul Smit said.

The two sides had the opportunity to present their point of view to the Mission Bay Park Committee, which could offer its own recommendation regarding the courts to San Diego parks and recreation. However, as of now, parks and recreation has no plans to repurpose Robb Field.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris April 6, 2022 at 12:33 pm

I say we have the two sides settle this with a game of rollerball. This could take place at the Velodrome in Morley Field. Which ever side has the most survivors wins. OR, a breakdance contest where only those over 60 participate. Again who ever has the most survivors wins.


Gs3464 April 8, 2022 at 10:29 am

I’d like to remind people that are interested in this story that the Pickleball proposal also converts the courts from public, non-profit space to a FOR PROFIT group.

The claims that Barnes (and elusive “empty tennis courts all over the place” that anyone who plays can never find) can accommodate PTC’s members are not backed up in fact. But even more troublesome is ripping access from the community to make space for a private for profit group.


kh April 8, 2022 at 10:21 pm

Both are a private use of public land. PLTC is a private organization.

The only distinction there is non-profit vs for profit.


Gs3464 April 11, 2022 at 9:50 pm

Correct: Both PTC and the Pickleball proposal are pay-for-play. The difference is that the money from PTC goes back into the courts (upkeep, maintenance, enhancements); Pickleball fees go into the Pickleball guys’ pockets.

I’m sorry for the incorrect insertion of the word “private” in my last sentence. (I meant it to mean “the guys who benefit” – but it was worded wrong).


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