Public gives input on GGPTC renovation plans

It’s been a busy month for the backers of the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center renovation project.

The Tennis Coalition of San Francisco (TCSF) is spearheading the fundraising and planning of the project in collaboration with their fiduciary sponsor San Francisco Parks Alliance and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (SFRPD). The Coalition has engaged San Francisco architectural firm EHDD to be the architect-of-record and they have jointly held meetings in the past weeks to gather public input.

On February 24, stakeholders in the GGPTC were invited to a meeting with the site architects and representatives from the SFRPD. After an overview of the project plans, the Tennis Coalition and EHDD led small-group discussions to solicit detailed input.

On March 10 the Coalition and its partners hosted their first public meeting at the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park to share information about the project and gather input. Approximately 100 brave souls came out on a rainy night to participate in the interactive meeting.

As people arrived they were invited to write responses to a series of questions on sticky notes and place them on boards. Questions included:

  • What would enhance recreational and social tennis playing at GGPTC?
  • What would enhance competitive and/or organized tennis playing at GGPTC?
  • What social spaces would you enjoy at the tennis center?
  • What special events would you suggest hosting at the tennis center?
  • What support services/amenities would you like to see at the renovated tennis center?
After the overview, attendees were invited to visit four “open house” areas in the auditorium, where they could ask questions of representatives from the Tennis Coalition, EHDD and the landscape architects relating to court use, court design, the clubhouse, and the Golden Gate Park context.

After an introduction by Martha Ehrenfeld, Tennis Coalition co-chair, architect Phoebe Schenker provided an overview of the project. She cited some of the problems with the existing facility, such as the close proximity of the courts, with no barriers to separate them, inadequate access and an outdated clubhouse. She highlighted the unique challenge of this project:  meeting “today’s tennis playing needs while also fitting into the historical context of the site”. For example, the renovated facility must fit within the existing footprint of the site, including the historic berm that surrounds it.

The proposed design, she said, includes separated courts that are organized in pods, a sunken feature court with seating, a new clubhouse aligned for better court viewing and possibly including a roof deck, and lighting for nighttime play.

After the overview, attendees were invited to visit four “open house” areas in the auditorium, where they could ask questions of representatives from the Tennis Coalition, EHDD and the landscape architects relating to court use, court design, the clubhouse, and the Golden Gate Park context.

Here are some of the most common questions (and their answers) from the February 24  and March 10 meetings.

Q. How long will the renovation take?

A. It is expected to take 12-24 months. The Tennis Coalition is working with the SFRPD to develop solutions during that time to make playing at other sites (e.g., public parks) easier as well as exploring an online court reservation system. Stay tuned!

Q. When will the renovation take place?

A. There are many variables (fundraising, entitlements process, etc.) but the best-case scenario would be to have a world-class public tennis facility completed by mid-2018, just in time for Golden Gate Park’s 150th anniversary in 2019.

Q. Will there be lights?

A. The Tennis Coalition hopes there will be lights, which will allow for more hours of court time and to serve those who are not able to play during the day.  

Security at night was raised as an issue and that will definitely be addressed as part of a lighting plan.

Q. Will there be a café and pro shop?

A. The current plan would have a small pro shop behind the check-in desk that will sell items like tennis balls. The clubhouse will sell fruit drinks, energy drinks, coffee, smoothies and healthy snacks, most likely through vending machines. The current plans include a small catering kitchen for team parties and other events. A racquet stringing service might also be possible.

Q. How much will it cost?

A. At the moment, the entire renovation project is projected to cost about $20-22 million.  That budget will be finalized once there are bids in from contractors.  Construction and associated costs make up most of the cost.

Q. Who will pay for it?

A. This is a gift to the city and the Tennis Coalition plans to raise funds from private sources and the SF Recreation & Parks department.

Q. Will there be additional parking?

A. There are no plans for increased parking although there will be bike racks.

Q.  Will there be ping pong tables in the clubhouse, like there are now?
A. The Tennis Coalition recognizes the vitality of the table tennis community that currently plays almost every weekday in the main room of the clubhouse.  At the same time, feedback from many tennis players indicates a strong desire for a clubhouse that invites socializing.  A variety of options are possible including a new venue for ping pong (with possibly more tables) or a more separated space to play at the GGPTC clubhouse. 


The next public meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 27, 6-8 pm, at the County Fair Building auditorium, 1199 9th Ave, SF. We hope you will join us! This meeting has been postponed.

If you have questions in the meantime or would like to volunteer, please contact our Executive Director Julie Exley at

Don’t miss a thing! Stay up-to-date with progress on the GGPTC renovation project, as well as other SF tennis news and events, by subscribing to the Tennis Coalition’s newsletter at