History

Club History


The California Tennis Club is the oldest private tennis club west of the Mississippi River and one of the oldest clubs of Tennis America. Ms. Mary Therese Austin founded the Club in September 1884 and became its first President.  Originally named the Van Ness Avenue Lawn Tennis Club, the official title of the California Tennis Club surfaced after the first printed reference appeared in the Argonaut paper on December 19, 1885.  Members warmly refer to it as the “Cal Club”. 

Rich with prestige and a history of tennis greats and national champions, the California Tennis Club is proud to be a member of the Association of Centenary Tennis Clubs, 100+ year old Clubs from around the world. For more information including reciprocity with Centenary Tennis Clubs, please visit www.centenarytennisclubs.org.
Tennis - A Game for Life


Giving a fun and healthy outlet of an “exuberant exchange across the net” is the vision on which Mary Therese Austin founded the Cal Club. Her vision continues as the Club constantly strives to provide an inviting environment for its members of all ages who relish the spirit of the game. From humble beginnings of a one room Clubhouse with a covered porch and three full-length tennis courts, the Cal Club now features ten outdoor lighted courts surfaced with the latest hard court Plexicushion technology, radiant heated back courts, fitness center, a dining room serving breakfast and lunch exclusively to Members and their guests, a Pro Shop featuring a wide selection of merchandise and stringing services, and a secure private member parking garage.
Lighting Arrives in 1976


While today all 10 courts have lighting, this amazing photo shows the arrival of lighting on center court by helicopter in 1976!  Innovation and facility excellence is at the heart of Cal Club's mission and history.  The California Tennis Club is a magnet to tennis players of all levels, but notably, over the years several of our members have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame including Margaret Osborne Du Pont, Clarence Griffin, William Johnston, Alice Marble, William McLoughlin, and Helen Wills. Tennis greats such as Jack Kramer, Rosie Casals, Tom Brown, Henry Likas, and Barbara Benigni grew up playing at the Cal Club and later ranked among the top players of the world.

The Cal Club's history of competition and innovation continues today with 17 adult and junior USTA teams, a high performance junior program unrivaled by any private club, and annual individual gold ball achievements.  LED lighting will soon light all 10 courts - this time, minus the helicopter.