BRIGHAM CITY-- St. George has 63 pickleball courts and a move is underway to construct playing courts in Brigham City to accommodate the more than 100 players in that Box Elder County community.
“It is believed to be the fastest growing senior sport in America and it is catching on here,” said Brigham City Recreation Director Kirsty Law.
During a December 20, 2012 meeting of the Brigham City Council Kyle Klein and Scott Clayson requested a portion of Brigham City’s Pioneer Park be set aside to build a court complex.
“It is a court sport like tennis, but smaller,” said Klein. “It’s almost a combination of what ping pong and tennis would be. One of the beauties of the sport is its simplicity, there are only three main rules.”
He said the court is about a third of the size of a tennis court which makes it appealing to seniors.
“It is played with a wiffle ball and an oversized ping pong paddle and a tennis net, so the ball moves quite slowly compared to a game of tennis or racquetball. Almost anybody can learn the game within 10 to 15 minutes and be playing it.”
Klein said a recent tournament in northern Utah drew 110 participants from four states and seven different counties in Utah.
“It is definitely a workout, more than you might think, given the size of the court.”
Klein said the history of the sport dates back to the early-1960s and originated in the state of Washington.
“Two families were on vacation and they had a ball they used for their dog to throw around and play catch. Well, they took the ball from the dog and started hitting it with paddles out on a tennis court. That’s how it started.
“Their dog’s name was Pickles, thus the name of the game.”