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The Northern California Handball Association


The NCHA is a voluntary organization composed of handball players who want to contribute to the "Perfect Game." There are many ways to contribute, including membership, coaching and mentoring young handball players, supporting the Handball Hall of Fame, joining the NCHA Board, contributing your time, talents, and money, or playing in our Regional Tournament.


Handball has a long and glorious history in Northern California, dating from the Great California Gold Rush. Among the many who came to Northern California in search of gold were the Irish, who brought the "Perfect Game" with them.

By 1851 an Irish saloon was operating in San Francisco and listed in the 1851 S.F. City Directory under the heading: "Ball Courts and Alleys". These classifications were commonly used to describe handball courts in Ireland and England. Handball courts, more commonly known as handball 'alleys' in Ireland, were often built adjacent to the pub and would utilize one of the pub walls as the front wall of the court.The 1851 San Francisco City Directory lists THOMAS CULLEN'S SALOON AND SHAMROCK BALL AND RACKET COURT located at 543 Market Street. This may well be the oldest listed handball court in the United States, pre-dating Phil Casey's court on DeGraw Street in Brooklyn, New York by some 37 years.The Shamrock court is certainly the oldest known handball court in California, built at least 150 years ago.

19th century handball players in San Francisco

The undated photo above is courtesy of the South End Rowing Club in San Francisco.

Modern Day Courts

There are thousands of four-wall and three-wall handball courts in our region, so there are sure to be some near you. The NCHA maintains a list of handball courts, with addresses, phone numbers, and directions. If you are travelling to a tournament at a new club, have just moved here, or are just looking for a game while you're visiting, check out our court listings.


Competitive events take place year-round throughout Northern California. Tha NCHA maintains a comprehensive, up-to-date, list of tournaments, including the Pro-Stops and National contests that attract so many players from our region.


The caliber of play is very high in the region, with many top ranked players. Whatever your level, you can be sure to find competitive games. We profile some of the top players in Northern California, as well as great players and contributors from the past. If you're looking for a game, contact someone on our player list and add your name so other players can arrange games with you.


The NCHA's programs foster the growth of handball through youth and collegiate programs, as well as providing a competitive forum for adult players with our regional tournament each spring. The NCHA also publishes The Scoop, a newsletter that covers activities in the region and items of interest to members. Feel free to browse our library of current and past issues.


We have assembled a comprehensive collection of handball resources at other web sites, covering rules, coaching, and information about handball throughout North America.

Site Map

If you don't see what you're looking for, try our site map or the keyword search at the top of each page.

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