Hours: March 2017 through October 2017

SUN:    9 AM - 4 PM
MON:   9 AM - 1 PM 
TUE:    9 AM - 4 PM
WED:   9 AM - 1 PM
THU:    9 AM - 1 PM
FRI:     9 AM - 4 PM
SAT:    9 AM - 4 PM

Rentals by reservation (plus staffing fees). 

Hours subject to change due to weather.

Weekend Rentals

Sunday, September 24

Saturday, September 30

Saturday, October 7

Saturday, October 14

Saturday, October 21 (Afternoon)

Sunday, October 22

Saturday, October 28


 


 

 

 

 

 

(Above subject to change. Call our office at (415) 485-5583 for the most current information.)

Days Closed 2017
January 1 July 1 -9 November 23 December 24 & 25

History of the Marin Bocce Federation

It was the early 90’s, and local parks were underutilized. A master plan was developed in 1992 to revitalize San Rafael’s Albert Park with a focus on increasing activity in the park, and involving the community and private sector in the park development.

In 1993 a committee, spearheaded by Dolly Nave and Dr. Fred Hass, made a pitch for the inclusion of bocce courts in the park renovation.  Hass said he got the bocce bug while watching matches in Martinez, where he observed people laughing and truly enjoying the game.  With the enthusiastic support from a handful of local citizens, Dolly and Fred, and a group of seven people, drove over to the Martinez courts to observe league play.  It was at dinner that evening in Martinez that the idea to build the courts in San Rafael was set, and the Marin Bocce Federation (MBF) was born.

The group returned to San Rafael, elected officers and a Board of Directors and set out their goals.  The Federation agreed to be responsible for the management and maintenance of the courts and the establishment of bocce leagues. They launched a fundraising and publicity campaign to educate and gain support of the community.

Dolly and her son, Rich Jr., went to St Louis, MO to meet with the contractor of the local club’s courts, the only synthetic courts in the U.S. at the time. Traditionally courts were finished with a dusting of ground oyster shell flour, but this material created lots of dust and required constant rolling and maintenance. Nave was in search of the best possible courts with the best possible surface material. Players raved about the low maintenance courts, and best of all, the balls rolled smoothly and accurately.  It was decided that a synthetic court surface was the way to go. MBF President, Rene Nogara, went to Europe to check out bocce facilities and to research companies who produced synthetic surfaces used throughout Europe.

With support from Mayor Al Boro and the City Council, and with a grant from the city, a beautiful 6-court facility was planned. Under Dolly’s direction, many generous donations of labor and materials were received and construction began.  In June of 1994, exactly one year, one week and one day from it’s inception, the Marin Bocce Federation opened the courts for play.  In just three weeks, the night league was completely sold out with 60 teams and 400 players. On a few occasions, before permanent lights were installed, players drove their cars onto the site and used their headlights on several occasions to illuminate the courts.  In 2000, two more exterior courts were constructed with help and sponsorship by Ghilotti Construction and Shamrock Materials. These additional courts were needed to accommodate the growing interest in the sport, and in 2004, morning leagues were started.

“One of the best things about bocce is that it is a family-oriented activity,” said Nogara.  “It is easy to learn.  I could teach the game in five minutes.  You can have fun from the first time you set foot on the court.  Not many other sports can make that claim.”  For Nave, the secret to the Bocce Federation’s success is that it is instantly addicting.  “It’s getting the people to play once.  Then they’re hooked.”

“Bocce is a time-honored sport that is also part of the history of Marin County,” said Dr. Hass.  “We used to have it years ago and it was very popular.  The beauty of bocce is that you don’t have to be a world-class athlete to compete.  Age, sex and physical considerations aren’t necessarily key factors in who wins or loses the game.”

The interior space of the facility was recently remodeled to include an additional bathroom, a meeting room and a larger office. Today, 18 years after Marin Bocce opened it’s doors, the facility has 8 exterior courts, 2 indoor courts, 155 teams and close to 1200 players. The vision of the MBF’s Founding Fathers has become a reality.

The courts are a continuing success story, and the Marin Bocce Federation has played a big role in bringing life back to Albert Park, and in helping to restore this valuable community resource.