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Posted on: June 28, 2023

Free Pickleball Access Expanded to Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco’s fastest growing sport, pickleball, has found a new home in one of the city’s most historic spots. Starting July 11, players will be able to reserve three indoor courts during peak morning times at no cost.

Pickleball players can reserve 90-minute spots, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., Tuesday through Sunday through the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s tennis and pickleball free online reservation system. The new courts come amid an ambitious effort by Rec and Park to expand access to courts in order to keep up with the sport’s skyrocketing popularity.

The new courts are thanks to a partnership between Rec and Park, which owns the Palace of Fine Arts; Non Plus Ultra, the events company leasing the space; and DinkSF, a newly formed pickleball organization that will offer classes, clinics, and court reservations at the Palace starting July 11 after 11:30 am to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Sunday.

Nationally, nearly 9 million people played pickleball in 2022, almost double the previous year and an increase of 159 percent since 2018, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.

In 2018, there were only 12 courts to play pickleball in San Francisco. Since then, Rec and Park has worked diligently to create new pickleball spaces, both dedicated and shared. When the Palace of Fine Arts courts open, there will be 67, including 59 outdoor courts and five indoor courts. Fourteen of these are dedicated pickleball courts. Larsen Pickleball Complex, which will open in the fall, will bring the number of dedicated pickleball courts to 22.

Every tennis court repaving now includes dual painted lines so it can also be used for pickleball, and Rec and Park provides pickleball nets on wheels that can be rolled into place at several locations.

“We are thrilled to further expand access to pickleball, an incredibly social and inclusive sport that has brought joy to so many new players over the past few years,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “We will continue to prioritize meeting demand while balancing the needs of our other sports communities.” 

“The DinkSF team is privileged and excited to bring pickleball lessons, clinics, court reservations and ball machine rental to this growing community,” DinkSF said. “Our team of Professional Pickleball Registry certified instructors can’t wait to share their passion for pickleball with other enthusiasts, one dink at a time!”

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