SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A much-anticipated public pickleball complex in the Sunset District opened for play today, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing effort to accommodate the skyrocketing popularity of the sport, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department officials announced.
The eight new pickleball courts in the Larsen Pickleball Complex are the latest added by Rec and Park to meet soaring demand. Over the past five years, the department has increased its number of pickleball courts seven-fold, bringing the number of courts from just 12 in 2018 to more than 80 places to play today.
The new courts will be dedicated solely to pickleball—one of the fastest growing sports in the nation—seven days a week.
The pickleball complex will enhance the many offerings that already exist at Larsen Park, including a baseball diamond and athletic field, a play area, picnic areas, restrooms, and the indoor swimming facility Sava Pool.
Rec and Park led an extensive and robust community process with guidance from the San Francisco Tennis Coalition and the leadership of the Pickleball Working Group, which provided an opportunity for a new site that accommodates eight dedicated fenced courts and the availability of parking and restroom access.
The Recreation and Park Commission subsequently approved the plan to convert a basketball court and a tennis court at the park into eight pickleball courts in January 2023. Construction on the complex commenced in August, consisting of resurfacing and repainting, as well as the installation of new fencing and wind screens. The project cost approximately $355,000 and was funded by 2016’s Proposition B for deferred maintenance in our parks.
The explosion of pickleball in recent years has led Rec and Park to work steadily to increase the number of places to play. Currently, Rec and Park has 63 outdoor pickleball courts and 24 indoor pickleball facilities, including some recreation centers. Of those, 22 are dedicated courts, and five of the overall sites have dedicated pickleball hours.
Demand for the sport continues to grow, with the organization USA Pickleball reporting a 30 percent increase in membership in 2022. To meet that demand, every tennis court that Rec and Park repaves will now include dual-painted lines for pickleball. Of the park system’s 139 tennis courts, more than 12 percent have been dual lined for pickleball—and more are on the way.
As part of the push for more pickleball courts, the Rec and Park Commission has directed the department to pause any further conversion of sports courts to dedicated pickleball courts as it continues to identify underutilized public spaces that can support future dedicated pickleball complexes in the City.
“The growth in the demand for pickleball in recent years has been phenomenal, and that was the motivation behind the construction of this brand-new complex,” Rec and Park Commission President Kat Anderson said. “The joy and enthusiasm that this sport creates is undeniable and I’m excited that Rec and Park is part of the movement to increase pickleball play, while also balancing the needs of our other sports communities.”
“It's the holiday season and there is no better gift for the sport enthusiast but to offer eight new dedicated courts for everyone to enjoy. Thank you to all the elves of Rec and Park who completed the courts as quickly as possible,” said SF Rec and Park Commissioner Vanita Louie, a huge pickleball fan. “Ensuring that pickleballers have places to play—along with important amenities like restrooms and parking—is essential for this sport to thrive in the city, and I’m happy Rec and Park could provide that.”