Pickleball sees bounce in local popularity
Buckeye football may grab the headlines and the trio of soccer, baseball and hockey dominates the Arena District.
- But the fast-growing sport of the masses is a simple court game involving silly terminology like dink shots, flapjacks and the kitchen.
Driving the news: Columbus is developing a reputation as a Midwest pickleball haven, with high-profile tournament action and more local courts than you can shake a paddle at.
- You can watch matches on TV, eat a Pickleball Club sandwich at Subway and soon visit the first "Picklemall" in Arizona.
State of play: Why all the picklehype? Consider …
- We also have two local pickleball clubs, Pickle & Chill on West Henderson Road and Pickle Shack in Delaware.
- The former hosted a Major League Pickleball tournament last year with 48 top players competing for $100,000 in prizes.
👨🦳👦 It's for all ages and abilities. The easy learning curve and small court dimensions make the game accessible for all kinds of players.
- Kent Mercker, a 55-year-old former MLB pitcher from Dublin, has fashioned a second career as a high-level pickleballer.
- C.J. Klinger, a teenager from Granville, travels the tournament circuit and has a court in his backyard.
- Plus: A three-season tournament complex is coming to Mock Park.
What we're hearing: Renters may even start seeing pickleball action at their apartment complexes, says Andrew Mazak, a partner with local real estate research firm Vogt Strategic Insight.
- "In other parts of the country, we're seeing higher-income communities offering, along with a rooftop pool, a pickleball court or two," Mazak tells us. "I'd bet that in a year or two we're going to see them popping up in high-end communities in our area."
The bottom line: It's safe to say the pickleball craze can no longer be dismissed as a short-lived fad.
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