Ogden is just a short drive north of Salt Lake City, and it’s a veritable hotbed of pickleball activity despite its snowy reputation—since it’s a gateway to many of Utah’s ski resorts. Ogden provides a picturesque view of the Wasatch Mountains along with easy access to many courts both indoors and out. The initial growth of pickleball in the area was largely thanks to avid player and philanthropist John Gullo.
Mt. Ogden Outdoor Courts – 1987 Constitution Way. Eight outdoor courts. Join open play Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday 7:00am – noon, Tues and Thurs 5:00pm – dusk. Times may change due to Ogden’s outdoor leagues. Monroe Park – Eight free outdoor courts. Lights for evening use. Reservable. The Shed – Four indoor courts with an outdoor surface. Memberships available for free or low yearly costs on their site. Marshall White Center – Indoor courts, cost is free with admission. Open play Tues – Thurs, hours on their site. Indoor leagues available. Barnes Park – Eight outdoor courts, four of which have lights. Year-round leagues and two tournaments. Indoor play at nearby Kaysville Recreation.
USAPA Ambassadors: Utah
Wendy McKay — Ogden Valley 801-791-3001
Kyle Klein — Brigham City (~30 min N of Ogden) 435-730-3231, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oscar Garcia — Salt Lake City (~35 min S of Ogden) 801-604-0939
Michael White — Salt Lake City (~35 min S of Ogden) 828-514-9316
Shannon Wright — West Jordan (~50 min S of Ogden) 801-860-7776, email@example.com
Victor Phillips — Cache County (~1 hr N of Ogden) firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s no surprise Idaho is a pickleball haven since major paddle manufacturer, Selkirk, was created in Hayden. The company’s name itself was inspired by the Selkirk Mountains, which travel between southeastern British Columbia, the Idaho Panhandle and eastern Washington.
Several hours south of Hayden is the capital of Boise, where there are pickleball courts a-plenty and players ready to test their skills. Join in if you have the opportunity to explore this growing hot spot!
There are 20+ pickleball court locations around Boise. For an easily referenced map with details, visit the Boise Pickleball Club’s Places to Play. A partial selection of the courts are listed here.
Baggley Park – Two dual-use courts. Free to use and no scheduled play. Fort Boise Community Center – Drop in play. Portable nets, balls and paddles available. Free lessons for new players. Call for more info: 208-608-7680 Boise Hills Park – One dual-use court. Free to use, no scheduled play. Manitou Park – Four dedicated courts, two dual-use with painted lines. Free use. Treasure Valley Family YMCA – Free for members, day pass required for visitors. Three indoor courts for use Mon – Wed from 9 – 11am.
USAPA Ambassadors: Boise
Don Denton — Nampa (~25 min west of Boise) 208-453-9799
Nashville is home to some of the best country music around, and many Tennesseans have started singing the praises of pickleball too! There are many locations where you can take your paddle and get involved in the growing competitive scene while experiencing some Southern hospitality for yourself, so don’t delay and join in the fun!
Places to Play in Nashville, Tennessee
Gordon JCC – Three indoor courts. Play is free for members and $5 for non-members. Lipscomb University Racquet Club – Indoor and outdoor courts. Free for those with annual membership or $5. Centennial Sportsplex – Eight outdoor courts. Available to public use and reservations. Free for members and $5 for non-members. Academy Park – Four outdoor courts. Free play for public or reserve for $10/hr. The Franklin Rec Center also has scheduled play times. Margaret Maddox YMCA – Outdoor court open with some scheduled play times.
Sevier Park – 615-862-8466 / 3021 Lealand Lane Nashville, TN 37204
First Baptist Hendersonville Church – Tuesday 6 to 9pm for $10. Available Saturday morning if enough people sign up. Call Kay at 615-504-1015.
Centennial Sportsplex in Nashville
Green Hills YMCA, Hermitage Community Center, Fairview Rec Center and Franklin Rec Center also allow for pickleball games.
Jay Wasack — Brentwood (~20 min south of Nashville) 615-994-0980, email@example.com
Don Stanley — La Vergne (~25 min SE of Nashville) 615-945-1373, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Hart — Columbia (~45 min SW of Nashville) 615-720-1855
You may have heard of traveling pickleball pros, but what about traveling teams made up of passionate 3.5+ players?
This is exactly what the Lake Effect team in Saugatuck has achieved. The group hosts and challenges clubs up and down Michigan’s lakeshore, allowing players to explore different partners and compete against others without affecting tournament ratings. It’s served as an effective way to expose players to fresh talent while engaging in the competitive side of the sport.
The team plays men’s, women’s and mixed doubles at events, being composed of twelve women and twelve men.
Sara Cullen is the original founder of Lake Effect and serves as co-captain beside Sherrie Velthouse. Sara shares her experience thus far:
“We are a new enterprise and just got off the ground late last summer. We had two matches before the end of our outdoor season. Both times we played Grand Haven, the Lakeshore Pickleball Club. They traveled about 40 minutes to our courts, and then we traveled to their courts in late fall.
This year we have already played one match outdoors in April. We have an upcoming match against Grand Rapids on May 18th, traveling over to their courts about 45 minutes away. In early June we’ll be playing against The Alley Cats from Kalamazoo.”
The Lake Effect team
Lake Effect is looking to play Hudsonville in mid-July if they can organize a date. Sara explains that scheduling gets more difficult in the summer months due to the number of important USAPA-sanctioned tournaments that fill up the calendar. In addition, they face snow and cold weather in fall and winter, losing team members to warmer destinations. Travel team matches are placed on hold when it gets too chilly for the locals.
Despite the time-sensitive nature of the enterprise, Sara says, “The exciting part of the travel team is that it’s working! Our team members are having a great time, building friendships, finding new partners for tournaments and everyone is enjoying an easy and fun way to test their court skills without entering tournaments or having to spend money.
They can use the travel team matches to prepare for USAPA tournaments without being concerned about their ranking being effected by a loss. So it makes it fun and worry free. It’s also nice to see that even when players don’t win their flight, they still cheer for your teammates.”
Jodie Kyes, one of the members who helps manage the team, states that she feels fortunate to have many strong clubs in close proximity, including Grand Rapids, South Haven, Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Niles, Muskegon and Holland.
A shot from the Lakeshore Pickleball Club’s courts
She explains that the concept of a travel team was based on the formation of a varsity high school sport. Team captains set up challenge matches with other clubs and determine the lineup of partners and positions. In women’s and men’s doubles there are five teams for each, and in mixed doubles there are ten teams. The captains determine who plays at the top of the lineup in order of skill and ability.
Once the captains have organized a match, the hosting team provides the courts, wristbands, tournament schedule and refreshments such as Gatorade and energy bars.
Lake Effect has even went the extra mile by creating uniforms, practicing drills together and enjoying social gatherings to promote team spirit. Their dedication to their club is truly admirable!
Jodie summarizes by sharing her team’s goals:
“As we head into our second year of travel team challenges, we’re hoping the idea catches on across our state and eventually nationally. Travel team matches promote pickleball and the satisfaction of competing not just as an individual, but more importantly as a team. It builds friendships and team spirit, which has been a wonderful bonus for our players.
The Lake Effect travel team has developed a code of conduct that outlines what we are looking for in team players. Good sportsmanship is at the forefront but also the importance of cheering on other team players during their matches and accepting the lineup without question. Most importantly, every team player should welcome the opportunity to play with whomever the captains assign. All in all, even though it is a new concept for pickleball, we’re very pleased with the enthusiasm it’s received and look forward to many years of competitive and fun play.”
Lake Effect would also like to recognize Selkirk, Wilson, PickleballCentral and Franklin Sports for their donations to the team. We thank them for sharing their story in return!
Are you intrigued by the idea of a traveling pickleball team? Let us know about your experiences if you’ve developed a similar setup in your community!
Mona Wheeler, a charter member of the Lincoln Hills Pickleball Club, raises money for local causes by recycling bottles and cans left on the courts.
It’s difficult to pick our favorite thing about pickleball, but if we had to choose it’d be hard not to say it’s the caliber of people the sport attracts. Case in point? Mona Wheeler of Lincoln, California. A tireless retiree, Wheeler spends her free time raising money to benefit others—and the environment.
It started a few years ago when Wheeler, a member of the Lincoln Hills Pickleball Club, got a pretty great idea: gather all the cans and bottles left around the courts and start trading them in for cash. “I just saw all these used drinking containers going into the trash can and I thought, “That’s a lot of money we’re throwing away and a lot of waste going into landfills,’” said Wheeler. “There had to be something better we could be doing with all that waste.”
So she set up a blue collection bin for recyclables next to the courts and started encouraging people to throw their bottles and cans in it instead of the trash. Whenever the bin filled up she took it down to the state collection center in exchange for $.05 per can or bottle.
The idea caught on and within a year Wheeler had raised $500. She turned the money over to the board of the Lincoln Hills Pickleball Club with instructions to donate it locally, and the board decided to distribute it to foster kids who had aged out of the system and were attending a nearby college.
Word spread and Wheeler’s second year of gathering recyclables was even more successful, with her efforts bringing in $1200 that was distributed between Placer County Food Bank, Lincoln Hills Foundation, Lincoln’s Discovery Center, and pickleball coaching at a local elementary school.
This past year, Wheeler’s efforts resulted in three scholarships of $500 apiece for seniors graduating from Lincoln High School. The recipients were Alejandra Ceja, Penelope Garcia (class valedictorian), and Aaron Jackson.
Three seniors from Lincoln High School were recipients of $500 scholarships each from the Lincoln Hills Pickleball Club: (from left to right) Alejandra Ceja, Aaron Jackson, and Penelope Garcia.
“These days I collect an average of about $150 a month,” Wheeler said. “So we’ll see what we bring in for next year’s donation.”
Wheeler’s hope is that the money will eventually be able to be used to help grow the sport in the city of Lincoln. “We’re working on getting public courts here and when we do, I’m hoping to use the money to help introduce new players to the sport by providing free paddles and pickleball clinics and other things like that for families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them.”
The pickleball community has rallied around the idea, and now many people bring recycling from their homes down to Wheeler’s courtside collection bin. “I even have a few neighbors just drop off bags of recycling on my porch,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler has been playing since 2007 and is a charter member of the Lincoln Hills Pickleball Club, which plays on courts within the retirement community of Sun City Lincoln Hills. “We started with 30 members playing on basketball courts with portable nets,” she said. “Now we have 500 members sharing six courts. You can see why we’re eager to help the city of Lincoln embrace the sport and catch up with demand.”
According to Wheeler, court construction talks are underway and the hope is that she and her fellow residents will be able to enjoy new public courts in Lincoln within two years. Until then, she’ll keep collecting recyclables from her pickleball cohorts and using the money to donate to the community in the name of pickleball.
Pickleball has a reputation as an old timers’ sport, and that’s fine by us—more time on the courts! But sometimes you just have to wonder: Won’t someone think of the children?
Today an Ontario club is sharing how they not only started an adult pickleball league, but created an entirely new pickleball program for kids.
This past August, Dan Pronovost of the K-W Badminton Club was awarded a $13,331 provincial grant to start a free pickleball program for the community’s youth. It’s an exciting development that will help show how the game’s versatile appeal while giving kids a positive outlet for their energy.
Setting the Scene
“I’ve been a member of the K-W Badminton Club (KWBC) for many years,” Dan explains. “About 5 years ago, it became clear we’d need to purchase our building to continue growing our club and add additional sports. I joined the board to help manage this process and oversee renovating our 45,000 sq. ft. building.
“I’m happy to say since the purchase of our building in 2013, we’ve renovated about 25,000 sq. ft. of space for sport use. About 75% of the building is in use by our sports tenants and users. This includes axe throwing, roller derby, bike polo, professional wrestling and pickleball, along with our badminton club of course.”
Dan says that his group first reached out to KWPA, the Kitchener Waterloo Pickleball Association, in 2014 to bring the sport onto their six court badminton facility. Thanks to this cooperation, they now have daily pickleball programs for all skill levels.
“Hundreds of players visit the facility for pickleball every week, from beginners to advanced players who visit despite being hours away. Pickleball has been an excellent way to add additional weekday daytime programming in a facility that would otherwise be empty.”
Clearly, the club’s leadership went a long way toward getting pickleball established in the first place. But considering grants are something many pickleball groups would love to obtain, how did Dan make his case? Turns out it was a combination of past experience and finding an underserved demographic.
“We became aware of the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund (OSRCF) through our successful Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) grants in past years. In talks with KWPA, we decided that pickleball for youth is a very underdeveloped demographic, since the sport is primarily aimed at seniors.
“But pickleball is of course equally exciting and fun for kids! The partnership opportunity with KWPA made perfect sense: KWBC is a mature and fiscally strong non-profit organization with grant experience and a world class sporting venue. KWPA has excellent talent for developing and leading a professionally-coached youth pickleball lessons program.”
The money for the grant has been allocated for, in order of usage:
– Coaching/instructor costs for the lessons (although 50% of the coaching is volunteer/non-paid)
– Additional administrative staffing and facility upkeep
– 20 new pickleball paddles and sufficient balls for one year
– Development of the coaching program/youth lessons sets
– Coaches certification and training
There are an incredible 192 kids that will get to enjoy this new program, where before there were no local opportunities for kids to play pickleball. The KWBC has also run paid youth badminton lessons for over 10 years which have been successful, so they feel confident there will be similar interest in pickleball.
Dan says the OSRCF grant will let them to make the pickleball lessons available for free to all participants for the 2016/17 school year, even with paddles and balls being included. With professional coaching, a great venue and free lessons, it’s not hard to see why spots fill up fast.
Their aim is to use the OSRCF grant to “seed”‘ the pickleball youth program in 2016/17, then continue with a nominally paid program beyond that to break even.
It’s a smart and beneficial model for all parties involved. While securing the grant was relatively straightforward, there are other concerns Dan has about supporting a thriving sports community.
Effort and Expansion
“The challenge is maintaining an 80+ year old building for sport use. Since the purchase of our building in 2013, we’ve invested over $500,000 in renovations and thousands of volunteer hours. While we are very happy to have received generous grants from sources like OTF and OSRCF, we can always use more help to further improve the quality of our venue.
“We are hoping to further renovate our 10,000 sq. ft. concrete rink pad space, which is used for pickleball and roller derby, by replacing part of the roof, adding heating for better winter usage, insulation, and high-quality floor painting and lines. Adding air conditioning for summer-time use is one of our more frequent member and user requests!
“The demand for sport space in the core of Kitchener is growing, but there are no municipal plans to add venues. Every time we open an area of our building for tenants and renters, the space is taken almost immediately, especially for lesser-known sports struggling to compete for space.”
Dan says that he believes forward thinking, financially secure non-profit organizations such KWBC are key to helping address shortages of sport space for everyone in the community.
He also welcomes and encourages all pickleball players to visit their club, so if you’re ever in the area, feel free to stop by! KWBC hosts a popular regional pickleball tournament in spring, which is a draw for players from abroad to come out and compete.
“Many other sporting organizations are starting to see the value of adding pickleball to their venues. Indoor and outdoor tennis clubs are a good candidate for adding pickleball to help support their facilities and courts. Any club with a suitably-sized gym should be thinking about adding it to fill unused court times.”
We agree! To our readers looking to expand pickleball offerings in their area, we hope you’ll keep this advice in mind and push local community centers and other facilities to bring our favorite sport to the masses.
Thanks to Dan for his time and hard work ensuring pickleball is available to players of all ages!
Are your pickleball courts so busy that you have to wait your turn to play? If so, how do you remember who’s next in line?
It seems many players resort to lying out their paddles on a bench, moving them along a chain link fence (what happens if they fall? yikes!) or simply using a sign-up form. But surely there’s got to be a better way?
We currently know of two options that offer a simple, flexible system for storing paddles and maintaining order during open play. Which one sounds most enticing to you?
The Paddle Saddle is a convenient paddle holder that can be attached to a chain link fence. Several tubes provide space for paddles, while a “Next” marker slides along the outer support to show which player is waiting in the wings for a game.
It’s a smart way to make sure your paddles are protected and accessible while ensuring you know who’s up next. The only downside is that you do have to remember to slide the “Next” marker, but no doubt the upcoming players will make sure everyone knows where it should be…
This elegant paddle holder was created for the Castle Creek Pickleball Club at Escondido, CA. The nice thing about this setup is that it doesn’t require manual movement at all. You just place your paddles in the holder, and gravity pulls the next paddles into the “waiting” position once equipment is removed.
Lon eventually wants to create a universal mount, stronger sealed bearings and a more compact design, but we think it’s pretty impressive as is! Unfortunately it looks like Lon isn’t selling these via a store yet, but you can get in touch with the Castle Creek group to see if he might be willing to make more.
How does your group keep everyone organized when there are players waiting for games?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in this business, it’s that when a determined group of picklers get together, they can make anything happen. In Dowell, Maryland the Oyster Bay Pickleball Club has completed their project of transitioning several unused tennis courts to 4 much-loved pickleball courts.
Oyster Bay courts before…
We were particularly flattered to hear that they completed this giant undertaking using supplies and equipment from PickleballCentral!
Cecelia Rasmussen, Chairman of the OBP Club, decided to move forward with the project when PBC ran a clearance sale on Wilson equipment.
“We used our PBC club discount code for additional savings and got a great deal. As always, PBC made it easy for us to make the decision. Our courts look beautiful and professional grade.”
And the lovely courts after!
Rasmussen indicated that there were hundreds of labor hours put in from the volunteer residents at Oyster Bay. Trench digging, crack filling, post hole installation, painting, lining… all the ingredients needed to accomplish the stunning end result.
Congratulations to OBP on their success and truly incredible courts! They sound like a fun group for many reasons. Check out our post about their epic superhero tournament if you haven’t seen it already.
If you or any players you know may be interested in our Club Rewards Program, be sure to read more here and either email or give us a call to start getting discounts on your equipment, too.
Have you ever thought it would be fun to design your own paddle? Or create a unique paddle for a friend or family member? The good news is—it’s entirely possible to do this! While we currently don’t have the ability to make custom paddles here at PickleballCentral, some of the manufacturers we work with do offer this service at a fairly affordable price.
Custom paddles make wonderful gifts since you can use pictures or other personal images on the paddle’s face, giving the giftee a little reminder of you whenever they play. They also serve as great prizes if you want to offer a truly unique reward for members of your local club during tournaments. You can use your team’s logo or another clever image to make your prize paddle stand out.
An example of Pro-Lite’s custom paddles
The first and probably easiest way to get a custom paddle is through Pro-Lite. You can use your own image on their popular graphite Blaster paddle through the order form here. You can even select what type of grip you’d like them to apply and put different pictures on each side of the face.
The other option is going through Manta. While they don’t have an order form on their site, you should be able to contact them and request pricing. They have stated that they currently do custom images on their Extreme and Custom Pro series, however you must make a minimum purchase of 12 paddles for them to do this. As such, it makes more sense going through Manta if you want matching paddles for clubs or other communities.
Different variations of POP designs
We’re pretty sure POP offers custom paddles too. There are limited designs to choose from, but you have more flexibility when it comes to selecting the materials and weight. You can contact the owner, Brian Jensen, at email@example.com.
And what if you want a paddle with its standard design and slight modifications, such as a smaller grip size? Manufacturers are usually pretty accommodating with such requests. We ask that customers give the manufacturer a call directly, as sometimes they will be able to shave down a grip or modify a paddle’s weight to better meet a player’s needs.
Would you ever use a custom-designed paddle? What image(s) would you like to see on it?
Pickleball is a social sport by nature, and since many players’ favorite type of game is doubles, more people equals more fun. But what can you do if there aren’t many picklers in your area, or if pickleball itself is relatively unknown?
We recommend starting your own pickleball club. This can seem daunting at first, but the truth is it can be as simple as contacting a nearby rec center or finding an old tennis court. You’ll end up with more people to play with, and a whole new group of pickleball fanatics will be born. It’s win-win!
Pickleball is highly addictive, and if you can get even a few people on the courts, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get return visitors bringing their friends. Let’s walk through how you can go about setting up your own pickleball paradise.
Find a Place to Play Pickleball
The first step is finding a suitable place to play. Choosing a centralized location in your city is always a plus, as it will make your club more accessible to visitors. If you know of a nearby rec center, park or other public facility where there are already tennis courts then that’s a plus, as you can fit 4 pickleball courts within 1 tennis court. There are detailed instructions on how to utilize a tennis court for pickleball here. Doubles badminton courts are the same size as those used in pickleball as well.
Our court is in the warehouse, but the net gets moved around depending on how many boxes are present…
If you can find a location with pre-established courts, you’ll need to ask the owner or coordinator of the facility if it would be possible to allow a time for pickleball drop-ins to play, and if it’s okay to use court tape or temporary markers on the ground to establish boundary lines. Another useful tool is a net adjuster so you can lower tennis or badminton nets to the appropriate height of 34”.
Of course, the most accessible place to play is the court you build yourself! If you have the space, you can always install your own court using our Wilson posts or set things up on the go using a portable net system. We also know about plenty of communities that have lobbied to get public pickleball courts installed with great success.
Choose the Right Equipment
Once you have a court, the next step is to ensure your members have equipment. It’s great if people can bring their own paddles and balls, however if you’re starting from scratch, there’s a possibility most of your members will be newbies. It doesn’t hurt to have extras on hand for anyone curious about the game either, since most people end up investing in better paddles down the line.
The most affordable type of paddles are wood, so it’s possible to buy several without breaking the bank. However, if you want potential members to get a real sense of what a “good” pickleball paddle plays like, buying a couple low cost composite paddles (which will be cheaper if they’re gently used) will be your best bet.
Find Members for Your Pickleball Club
So how do you go about finding members? A good place to start is to look at nearby USAPA members and other clubs in your area by going to USAPA.org. Not only will they be able to offer advice on getting up your club set up, but some members might find it convenient to visit your location.
You can also build interest by advertising at recreation centers, senior communities, talking with friends and otherwise sharing it along the grapevine. Word tends to spread naturally once you find a few people to start, as members get their friends and family involved. Offering free lessons is the best way to get newcomers to the courts, otherwise they may feel out of their depth. You don’t have to be a professional to share your love and general knowledge of the game.
A pickleball coach sharing the game from Pickleball Canada
The USAPA provides a lot of materials that you can use to supply players with information. At PickleballCentral we include Coach Mo’s Strategy Guide in most of the packages we send out, so that’s another good tool to have in your arsenal. These sort of “take home” packages are a plus, but we find that simply getting people onto the court is the quickest way to rack up interest.
Another tried-and-true way to get attention and make sure everyone in your area knows about pickleball is to contact the local media. Even if only a few members are in attendance, news outlets are eager to feature new initiatives, and the increase in exposure can really help your club thrive.
Keep People in the Loop
A simple way to maintain ongoing engagement is to create a website so people can view your schedule. This makes it easier to get information to members and beginners alike. Setting up a website is quite simple these days. You can sign up for free at WordPress to get access to the same user-friendly platform we use to share our blog. You should also get yourself listed on the USAPA’s Communities and Clubs list and their Places to Play section—it’s free!
Enjoy the Best Savings
Lastly, be sure to sign up with our Club Rewards program. There’s no fee to get started, and you and your club members will receive a special code to get 5% off every order at PickleballCentral. Another 5% of your order total will go into a savings account which will accrue funds based on all your members’ purchases throughout the year. At the start of the New Year, we’ll send you a gift certificate code for the money you saved to be spent on new supplies and gear.
A look at the extensive U.S. Open courts
The USAPA says that in 2015 an average of nearly 20 new locations to play pickleball are being established weekly: That’s over 1,040 courts a year! With the sport experiencing such massive growth you can bet that starting your own club will allow you to get the most out of the pickleball movement.