The Costa Rica Tennis Club is the “dean” of the social clubs of Costa Rica. Its foundation began in 1901 by a small group of English citizens residing in San José and its first location was in the house of Doña Amparo de Zeledón, located in Sabana Norte, where the building of I.C.E. is currently located. The interest of the group, in addition to social activities, was to play golf in La Sabana. For that, they obtained permission of the Governor of San Jose and soon they constructed a field of 9 holes.
In 1908 the Club acquired a small lot in Sabana Sur, where they moved their headquarters. Through a contract with Mr. Jaime Carranza, for the sum of ¢ 7,900.00, a building was built for meetings, dances and health services. It was inaugurated by the President of that time, Mr. Cleto González Víquez. Subsequently, in 1911, another purchase of adjacent land was made to build two tennis courts and a house for administration. That same year, on May 26, under the name of San José Golf Club, the Club was legally constituted and its first statutes were registered in the Public Registry.
The first Board of Directors was chaired by Mr. Gray Casementl, English citizen who had been the promoter of the club, the other members of the Board of Directors, as well as their 43 founders, were also English citizens. In 1912 the first honorary members of the Club were appointed: Mr. Ricardo Jiménez, President of the Republic, Mr. Minor C. Keith and Mr. Gray Casementl. The reason that the Club was transferred from Sabana Norte to Sabana Sur was so that its partners could use the tram that then ran from San Pedro de Montes de Oca to the south-west corner of the Sabana (opposite La Salle College) to Move from the city to your Club.
Over the years, and after it was no longer possible to play golf in La Sabana, the Club became a tennis club, traning the first national tennis players, among whom we recall Felipe and Alejandro Pozuelo, Alfredo Esquivel, Tomás Ortiro, Alfredo Povedano, Mario Echandi, Hernán Cordero, Rodrigo Acosta, Rodrigo Aragón, Carlos Ventura, Luis Uribe, Alex Murray, Mario Vargas, Manuel Enrique Herrero, Ricardo Kriebel, Rodrigo Fournier, the Dittel brothers and many more. By purchasing a lot from Don Mariano Tovar, two tennis courts and a small swimming pool were made, which could never be used due to lack of water.
On March 4, 1963, the club’s charter was completely reformed and the name of San José Golf Club changed to Costa Rica Tennis Club. The capital was increased, new statutes were made and the first Board of Directors of the time was appointed, presided over by Eladio Trejos, Guillermo Ramos, Gabriel Broutin, Corrado Guidi, Mario Gómez, Críspulo Vargas, Oscar Vargas, Demetrio Pérez, Guillermo Cordero, Ramón Fallas and Oscar Lutz.
In the following years, these individuals were highlighted: Samuel Sasso, Alvaro Umaña, Carlos Prada, Mario Gutiérrez, Fernando Escalante Pradilla, Jenaro Valverde, Laureano Echandi, Carlos Coronado, Guillermo Álvarez; Luis Oreamuno, Manuel Emilio Montero, Manrique Soto; Jose Abraham Conejo, José Luis Chasi, Alvaro Martín, Mario Montero, Carlos Escalante, José Luis Brenes, Pedro Vieto, Pedro Filloy, Octavio J. Silva; Renato Soto, José Aguilar and Rodolfo Hernández.
Eladio Trejos, Alvaro Umaña, Manuel Emilio Montero, Carlos Escalante, Gastón Quijano, Rodolfo Quirós, Johnny Pacheco Leon, Eduardo Muñoz, Urias Ugalde, Carlos Herrera Amighetti, Johnny Pacheco Vega and currently Javier Apéstegui Arias have been presidents of the Club in different opportunities.
It´s clear that the growth and improvement of the Club has been gradual, but always continuous. We will summarize it briefly citing the expansion of its land and the construction of its facilities.
When the Club was reorganized in 1953, there were 3.705 acres of land, a building and four tennis courts in very bad condition. In 1954 the 4 existing tennis courts were refurbished and a new one was built. Two years later, the Club’s pool and locker rooms were built, with an investment of approximately 150,000 colones and a loan from the Insurance Institute. In 1958 a lot of a quarter of a block was bought from Mr. Eduardo Cortés, to build a small parking lot and exit to the street of La Sabana by a small street 4 meters wide. Two years later, through a loan with the Social Security Fund, a lot of approximately .83 acres were bought from Mr. Fausto Gómez, to expand the parking lot. In 1961 the current main building of the Club was built, contracted by the brothers Mario and Adolfo Vargas and costing approximately nine hundred thousand colones. Two years later, the Bocca Grill was built.
In 1964 a piece of land was bought from Isabel Rojas, with a very favorable price and good conditions of payment. In that same year two new tennis courts were built in that field, contracted by the Engineer Mario Vargas. In the year 1967 2.47 acres of land were bought from Mrs. María Suárez, to extend the parking lot and later construct the hotel. This purchase was made with financing from the Social Security Fund.
In 1969 the hotel was built adjacent to the Club with an investment of approximately one million colones and financed by the Bank of Costa Rica. In June 1975, they bought a lot of 9452 square meters from Mrs. Isabel Rojas, with a reasonable price and good payment conditions. Part of that lot was built in 1977, the current gym and the bowling hall are now located there. Our bowling hall is one of the most modern alleys in the country.
In December 1996, a period is set that sets the board’s priority, fine-tuning strategies to keep finances stable and renovate facilities. During the first four years of this group, led by Javier Apéstegui Arias, Carlos Herrera Amigueti, Toscano Luconni Bustamante and Alfonso Guevara Pacheco, the finances were maintained and a credit of 200 million colones was granted by Rolando Salas Arce, without any real guarantee, and approved by the general assembly, that was when a new era for the club began.
With this economic injection, tennis courts 10, 11 and 12 were roofed. Major changes were made in the bowling alley, Spa, social pool, men’s dressing room and recreation of courts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9. This motivated the passive partners to reactivate, thus increasing the membership base and allowing the club to keep its finances healthy.
For the year 2001, and with the objective of giving continuity to the plan drawn up 4 years ago, Carlos Herrera assumed the presidency until 2004. During his administration, the four existing squash courts were built; The social pool was remodeled, several properties were acquired and an increase and division of social capital was made.
Mr. Javier Apéstegui would return to the presidency in 2005, this time with the firm conviction of presenting to the general assembly a plan of modernization of the club denominated Master Plan. That year, thanks to the collaboration of partners, the state-of-the-art synthetic multi-purpose gym (an investment of more than $ 40,000) was given. The main entrance of the club was also modified, costing $ 110,000, today we have a facade of first class, worthy of the best social club in our country.
In 2009, Mr. Johnny Pacheco assumed the presidency to give continuity to this effort of modernization and stability, while strengthening all the options of services and recreation for the partners.
In December 2010, Mr. Javier Apéstegui was named as the new president, who arrived with the desire and purpose to complete the execution of the Master Plan and continue projecting the Costa Rica Tennis Club towards a new era of growth and development.