Grover Beach residents will soon be enjoying a friendly game of pickleball at Mentone Basin Park thanks to the Grover Beach City Council’s recent approval of a pickleball court pilot program. Due to its style of gameplay, four pickleball courts will be co-located alongside the existing tennis courts at the park this coming spring.
“We have been hearing from our community that there is a desire for pickleball courts and so this pilot program will allow us to gauge the extent of that demand and popularity of pickleball within Grover Beach, as well as test out the best way to operate a co-located court,” said Kathy Petker, Grover Beach Parks and Recreation Program Director. “The plan is to have designated tennis and pickleball hours at the Mentone Basin Park court that would prioritize play hours for each sport respectively on a daily basis.”
If players of the respective sport do not show up for play during the designated hours, then the court will instead be available to all players on a first-come, first-serve basis which is a widely accepted system for co-located courts. Tennis players will still also have courts available to them at Grover Heights Park and Hero Park. In coordination with the Parks and Recreation Department, volunteers, which may come from nearby pickleball clubs, would also assist with setting up pickleball nets and providing community members with paddles and pickleballs, which will be stored on site. All those interested in coordinating may contact the Parks and Recreation department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“What is really exciting about this pilot program is that it allows us to further activate our park spaces and encourage more outdoor activity for individuals with a range of ages and abilities,” said Matthew Bronson, Grover Beach City Manager. “While one tennis court can accommodate a maximum of four people playing doubles, the same space can accommodate 16 pickleball players across four courts. Additionally, because the rotation of play system for ‘winners’ and ‘losers,’ people are able to consistently rotate without having to wait long periods before the next opportunity to play.”
While pickleball may be a new sport for some, it is actually one of the fastest-growing sports in America. The game is essentially a mix of tennis, badminton and ping pong, and is played with a perforated plastic ball and composite or wooden paddles about twice the size of ping-pong paddles. While generally considered a friendly and social game that is easy for beginners to learn, gameplay can also be ramped up to increase the challenge and competitiveness of the experience. This means that the new pickleball courts in Grover Beach will have a multi-generational appeal and offer a new place for all ages and abilities to come together and bond. And who knows, maybe this new pilot program will inspire a community of Grover Beach ‘picklers,’ which describes someone who is obsessed with and cannot stop talking about the sport.