Pickleball Players Offer ‘Compromise’: Half of 12 Tennis Courts at Robb Field to Be Temporarily for Pickleball

by on January 18, 2023 · 25 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego, Sports

The Pickleball Association of San Diego has proposed a “Managed Pickleball Facility at Robb Field”. The group last week met with the Parks Director, his staff, the Mayor’s staff, and tennis representatives and proposed a compromise.  Here is the Association’s statement from Jan. 15:

We proposed a compromise: Temporarily repurpose half of the 12 tennis courts at Robb Field into dedicated pickleball courts, funded and managed by our nonprofit organization. This would be an interim solution for pickleball players until a pickleball facility at Robb Field is built from scratch at a future date.

The Parks Department, Mayor’s office, Pickleball, and Tennis all agree that a dedicated pickleball facility is needed at Robb Field.

By tackling the short-term problem, we can then work with the City on longer-term solutions to better support the future growth of pickleball. This compromise is carefully crafted to be a major win for Robb Field and the broader community. We eagerly await a decision from the Parks and Mayor’s office.

View the visual rendering above.

Last October, the Peninsula Tennis Club came up with their own options for Robb Field, including pickleball courts. And back in March 2022, the Ocean Beach Planning Board came up with their “compromise.”


{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris January 18, 2023 at 2:45 pm

Seems like a good idea.


Debby Merickel January 19, 2023 at 6:10 am

That sounds like a great compromise. At least the Picklers would have a place to play in San Diego while a permanent site is built.


Gary Wonacott January 19, 2023 at 6:18 am

It is only a good idea if you are a pickle ball player, or more importantly, a pickle ball professional looking to use near free public courts to make money. And this is the issue, control. The Barnes is first and foremost a tennis center, but they are working to maximize use of their property for patrons of players who use balls, and paddles/rackets, and balls. As such, they are building both PADLE tennis and pickle ball courts. I don’t know their completion date, but it makes a lot more sense to wait and soon use these courts rather than disrupt the tennis family at the Peninsula TENNIS Club. Also, in the interim, there are other pickle ball courts in San Diego. There are 12 at the San Diego racket and Tennis Club.


kh January 19, 2023 at 9:25 am

Are they building more? I think they have 3 pickleball courts and 4 padel courts at the moment. It often looks like a swarm of bees there with all the demand for just a few courts.


Carole January 20, 2023 at 1:25 am

The San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club is a PRIVATE CLUB, not open to the public, and has a waiting list over 6 months for new members to join!


Konrad January 20, 2023 at 7:36 am

That’s great and all Gary, but it’s been proven that this tennis center underutilizes its courts. This is city land and the city of San Diego is one of the only major cities without public dedicated courts. This isn’t a matter of recommending private locations to play. This is a discussion of how best to use public land to serve its people. Tennis has been around much longer, but utilizes the space much less efficiently and let’s face it…I can go around the city and find empty tennis courts everywhere… Not the case with pickleball. Demand will only grow and the city of San Diego needs to play catch up.


michael thomas July 25, 2023 at 10:11 am

This is a public tennis court paid by the city with our tax dollar. San Diego racket and tennis club does not have any courts listed on their website. If they have the courts maybe they need to advertise more about them since I have been playing for 4 years and have never heard that they have courts. Also this is a private club and only members can play. This is not a public facility. The point is to provide public courts for San Diego city.


Chris January 19, 2023 at 7:56 am

Those poor Peninsula TENNIS club families. Next thing you know, BMXers will starting using the skate parks. Oh wait!!
I dunno, it’s really hard to muster up much sympathy for tennis players who don ‘t want pickleball players out and around in their presense while they’re playing tennis.


Sorry not Sorry January 19, 2023 at 10:11 am

Funny, I was thinking it was hard to muster up any sympathy for pickleball players that basically tried a hostile takeover of an already established TENNIS club.


Chris January 19, 2023 at 1:11 pm

I guess it really depends on what side you’re on in this debate. You can say the old punk rocker in me sorta came out. Going somewhere we didn’t belong and weren’t welcome for the purpose of annoying and agitating the people who were already there. Plus pickle ball looks fun.


Sorry not Sorry January 20, 2023 at 4:44 am

I have nothing against Pickleball or Tennis as sports. I do however have have a little disdain for the tactics that were used at the beginning of this situation. I liken it to being a teenager and having an older brother come into your bedroom and take something that you bought with your own money. (I didn’t think I had issues until reread this). It’s just not right, plain and simple. To me, there is a difference between being a “punk rocker” and being a bully.


Chris January 20, 2023 at 5:53 am

In this case it looks like the tennis players agreed to give this a try.


Paul Webb January 19, 2023 at 9:39 am

Oh boy! Another skirmish in the pickleball wars!


lyle January 19, 2023 at 10:35 am

Pass the popcorn!


Geoff Page January 19, 2023 at 11:29 am

Judging by how pickleball is sweeping the country, I would advise the tennis folks to consider a compromise now while they can.


Chris January 19, 2023 at 1:14 pm

Yup. Maybe do it in a way that if pickleball explodes but then shrinks the way racquetball did, them the courts can be re-converted back to tennis. And if pickleball stays popular, then everyone wins.


JayBird January 19, 2023 at 4:03 pm

This whole conversation smacks of Circulate San Diego, and their agenda for disruption. Just Saying.


Geoff Page January 19, 2023 at 7:29 pm

I don’t think we can give them credit for this one, Jay.


JayBird January 20, 2023 at 12:34 am

Respectfully, Geoff – I will defer to your expertise on this. The claptrap just sounded unusually familiar…Mea culpa.


Gary Wonacott January 20, 2023 at 10:15 am

I am a member of the San Diego Tennis and Racket ball club and the Peninsula Tennis Club. Both server a role for me that are distinctly different. But, before I discuss that, I spoke with the manager at the SDTRC about the pickle ball courts. First and foremost the manager stated that we are a tennis club. He was getting requests for pickle ball courts and there were two of the 24 courts that were not ever used because of their location and orientation. So, 2 tennis courts were converted to 12 pickle ball courts. There are no lights on these courts, but within a few days there were numerous complaints from the adjacent residential community. Pickle ball is loud and annoying and not just to the residents. But, the pickle ball players who were initially happy with 12 courts are now harassing the manager for more. Also, as they have become more comfortable with their surroundings, they have started having parties and playing loud music. So, the two pickle ball professionals who are promoting the pickle ball courts at PTC have no concept of compromise; they do understand the importance of getting their foot in the door. While these two complain and fabricate stories about PTC management, the Barnes is building pickle ball courts along with Padle tennis courts. Padle tennis is very popular in Europe and Central America. So, before you compromise tennis, let’s see how quickly the Parks can build pickle ball courts adjacent to the exiting tennis courts.


Chris January 22, 2023 at 5:17 pm

“they have started having parties and playing loud music.”

Sounds fun.


Sorry not Sorry January 23, 2023 at 8:26 am

Unless you are one of “the adjacent residential community” members.


TCS January 23, 2023 at 1:32 pm

Gary: As a “member of the San Diego Tennis and Racket club”, I’m surprised that you are unaware there are just 8 pickleball courts on site (4 per converted tennis court), not 12.


Jay March 7, 2023 at 12:02 am

Excellent point, makes an argument for Robb field pickleball courts. Because there’s no residential housing nearby.


MS January 20, 2023 at 7:56 pm

CNBC recently reported that there are now 36.5+ million pickleball players nationally. San Diego has 100,000+ local players, and is still without one dedicated pickleball facility on public park space. Hopefully not for much longer!

Short-term solutions give me hope in the face of what I consider to be a major systemic issue (an issue about land-use and equity that goes beyond sports). After tackling the short-term, and with a bit of relief in place for local players, we can address long-term solutions and await approvals by the City (who said it would be a 5-10 year process). We can do this all at no cost to the City, and all as a nonprofit.

Pickleball has a very bright future in San Diego. I do believe!


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