Facility Spotlight – Griffin Club
Westside tennis players who happened to have played ever played at the Beverly Hills Country Club would hardly recognize the place these days.
Two years ago, Chicago Investment firm Singerman Real Estate and Meriwether Cos., a Boulder, Colo., hospitality and resort development company, purchased the club that sits on four acres right off the Santa Monica Freeway south of Century City.
With the purchase came a major re-branding effort and the Griffin Club was born. Named after Elmer Griffin, the uncle to legendary celebrity businessman Merv Griffin. More than $10 million later, and the club has undergone a complete renovation, according to Director of Tennis Alec Horton, who has been at the club for 18 months.
In 1926, Griffin opened the Westside Tennis Club, as a club for actors and entertainers who were not allowed entry into the area’s elite clubs. It quickly became a place where 20th Century Fox and MGM executives could meet, talk shop and also play a lot of tennis, and included such names as Cesar Romero, Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Jack Lemmon and Oscar Hammerstein.
“There were lots of Hollywood stars in the 30s and 40s,” said Horton, who grew up in Orange County and formerly worked for Vic Braden and spent time at the Mission Viejo Country Club. “It’s a very social club for tennis and active athletic club with fitness and swimming, and a spa and great restaurant.”
The club has approximately 1,500 members. Monthly dues range from $175 to more than $350.
The club has nine lighted courts, and there has been talk about putting in two red clay courts. You won’t find any pickleball courts at Griffin. “Pickleball hasn’t taken off here,” Horton said. “I think it’s a fun activity, but nobody is building a pickleball club. It’s like when racquetball rose in popularity.”
Horton continued: “I think the tennis clubs that have pickleball aren’t doing a good enough job to promote their tennis. No one is driving revenue with pickleball. If you are a retirement community, it’s different. But not at a private club.”
The Griffin Club competes in the Westside Ladies USTA League and has several USTA Junior Team Tennis teams. They even hosted a collegiate match in March with Arizona State falling to No. 4 Ohio State.
“We’re busy, and we have tons of kids in our junior program,” said Horton, who manages nine teaching professionals and recently hired popular SoCal coach Susan Unger as his new junior director.
For more information on the Griffin Club, go to: https://www.griffinclubla.com/