Pickleball Is Officially America’s Fastest-Growing Sport—Here Are the Most Stunning Courts in the West
The popular sport was invented in the West, where it gets a design-forward flourish, complete with stylish new gear and luxe hotels offering lessons.
Pickleball—the quirky hybrid of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton— might be all the rage in sunny climes like Palm Beach, but it has its roots in the Pacific Northwest, where it was created by a group of dads in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
The jaunty activity, which was named after Pickles, one of the creators’ dogs, went from relative obscurity to wild popularity during the pandemic, when finding new ways to enjoy the outdoors was at a premium. Now the Association of Pickleball Professionals estimates that there are currently 36.5 million pickleball players in the U.S., an impressive number given that for many years pickleball was considered strictly a game for old-timers.
That’s in good part because the sport isn’t just fun to say but fun to play. And even more so when it can be done stylishly, with colorfully designed gear from Recess Pickleball. Several of the company’s modern pickleball paddles are named for some of our favorite West Coast locations like Ojai, Zuma, Tahoe, Miramar, and Vista.
Co-founders and pickleball enthusiasts Maggie Brown and Grace Moore describe the social sport as “easy to pick up and impossible to put down,” and are infusing their sets with joie de vivre, giving them an aesthetic that appeals to the sport’s multigenerational audience.
Where to Play
Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection
This Los Cabos resort is home to more pickleball courts than any other resort in the area. Guests can book a Pickles + Pickleball experience, where private group lessons end with a pickle tasting from master fermenter and executive chef Alexis Palacios that includes classic dill pickles, escabeche, hot peppers, and a shot of pickle juice to help you rehydrate with electrolytes after working up a sweat.
Silverado Resort and Spa
Ratchet up your trip to wine country by adding a bit of racket sport. There are nine newly refreshed tennis courts, plus three for pickleball. There are also PGA championship golf courses and a whopping 16,000-square-foot spa.
Situated amongst the stunning red rocks of Sedona’s Boynton Canyon, this is one of the most dramatic places to play. After a few rounds, pull up for a prickly pear margarita at sunset at Che Ah Chi’s patio lounge.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Pickleball in paradise, anyone? Situated on the stunning Kona-Kohala coast of Hawaii, the Four Seasons offers access to two courts, with pickleball clinics every Friday morning.
Paddles from Recess infuse the sport with style.
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