UPDATED JUL 2, 2020
It’s the fastest growing sport in the United States and the number one sport played at Leonardo DiCaprio’s mansion — if you’ve never heard of pickleball, where have you been? And as the game has picked up, Charlotte has been right in the mix. From public parks to world-class indoor courts, it’s clear pickleball is here to stay.
The 2019 unveiling of Clarks Creek Community Park (formerly Hucks Road Community Park) in North Charlotte just south of Huntersville brought with it eight dedicated pickleball courts. Effectively pickleball paradise, the fenced, all-weather blue courts are free to use and have a number of shaded picnic tables nearby for spectators. And while the courts don’t have lights, with courts these nice, you’ll be playing until the last sliver of sun sets.
What you might not know about pickleball is that indoor and outdoor play differently — outdoor is a bit faster and, with indoor, you get the bounce. And there’s no better place to get expert knowledge like that than Sports Connection’s South Charlotte, home to Pickleball Charlotte. The athletics and entertainment facility on Granite St. features 14 lined pickleball courts with top-of-the-line, shock-absorbing flooring (a shared space with the volleyball club). Consider this HQ for the sport in Charlotte, where you can take part in open play (pick-up for pickleballers), leagues, clinics, lessons, and tournaments.
Don’t worry if you see all basketball and volleyball players, the hardwood at Carolina Courts’ Indian Trail location is absolutely pickleball-ready. Here, you’ll find a lively community of pickleballers engaging in open play, as well as your occasional clinic or tournament. The entry fee is cheap ($5), and the wide-open courts allow for multiple games to be going on simultaneously — perfect for doubles matches.
Charlotte Athletic Club is a state-of-the-art fitness facility with group classes, a pool, and steam rooms, but you don’t need to be a member to get in on the weekly pickleball action inside on the hardwood. Reserve a court or get the down-low on tournament play during designated pickleball power hours on Thursdays from 5pm–7pm and Saturday/Sunday from 10am–12pm.
Mallard Creek’s setup is basic, but the pickleball community is fervent. Portable nets are available at the large gymnasium, which has three lined courts available on Mondays from 10–11am and Fridays from 10–10:45am. Plus, Mallard Creek has shower facilities should you want to head up to Concord Mills after a heated match.
Looking for a Saturday roadie with the pickleball squad? Head an hour north to Hickory Optimist Park, where you’ll be greeted by four pristine, outdoor pickleball courts (built in 2017). Fenced in and with benches for breaks, you’ll be good from sunup to sundown in this quiet park. Fitt Tip: the courts are closed on Sundays.
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