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BY ALISSA MILLER
Paddle up for pickleball, vacation-style!
In 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, a handful of bored kids made up a sport in their backyard and named it after their dog. Fast forward more than 50 years and that made-up sport has taken the nation (and parts of the world) by storm. Pickleball has zoomed into American pop culture and is now firmly occupying its status as a popular hobby for young and old alike.
For the past three years, pickleball has been named the fastest growing sport in the U.S. by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. Whereas in 1965 there was one pickleball court in existence, today that number has grown to more than 8,000 in the U.S. alone, and countless more worldwide (including a few at your WorldMark resorts).
So…what exactly is pickleball?
Pickleball is regularly described as a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It’s a paddle sport highly similar to tennis, but played on a much smaller scale. Pickleball paddles are larger than table tennis paddles, shorter than badminton rackets, and smaller than tennis rackets. Pickleball courts are about ⅓ the size of a tennis court, and it uses a hard plastic ball with holes that bounces significantly less than a tennis ball. It can be played with singles or doubles, and either indoor or outdoor.
Why is pickleball so popular?
Chances are you have either played pickleball yourself, or know someone else who plays. It’s a sport that truly has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. There are many factors as to why pickleball has become so popular, not the least of which is how fun it is.
Pickleball has fairly simplistic rules, making it easy to learn.
It can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels.
The equipment is less expensive than other paddle/racket sports, making it a relatively inexpensive hobby.
Retired people like pickleball. Families like pickleball. Highly competitive sports lovers like pickleball. It really is a sport for everyone.
Pickleball at your club resorts.
Playing pickleball is a great way to stay focused on your health and wellness while you’re traveling. Although many resorts have historically had an onsite tennis court, the widespread popularity of pickleball has led many resorts to either add a pickleball court to their amenity list, or convert an existing tennis court into pickleball courts. Pickleball has become all the rage as a vacation activity, and your resorts have risen to the occasion admirably. Check out the full list below of WorldMark resorts that offer pickleball on site.
There are roughly 4.8 million pickleball players worldwide. If you haven’t already joined their ranks, there is no time like the present to pick up a paddle and learn a new hobby. It’s great exercise, gets you out in the fresh air, and it’s just plain fun.
Book your next WorldMark vacation at one of the many resorts on the pickleball train and jump on the bandwagon — just make sure to visit usapickleball.org for official rules, tips, and how-to videos on the sport before you go.