GAME ON: HERE’S WHERE TO PLAY PICKLEBALL IN COLUMBUS

6 PLACES

UPDATED MAR 9, 2020

Pickleball is hot. Hot enough that you might call it a craze and addictive enough to have Andy Roddick trading in his tennis racquet for a pickleball paddle. Across the nation, the game is heating up, and Columbus is right in the thick of it. From world-class indoor racquet clubs to brand-spanking-new outdoor courts in city parks, we’ve got game, so grab your paddle and make for the top pickleball courts in CBUS.

author

MEREDITH O'CONNOR

FITT COLUMBUS CONTRIBUTOR

A tennis-first facility in Clintonville, Olympic Indoor Tennis has a well-developed pickleball program that you’ll want to take advantage of. Boasting eight indoor pickleball courts, you might just be tempted to spring for the $60 pickleball-only membership, which guarantees you a court each week. Though, if you and your friends are just looking for a quick, occasional outing, the club’s state-of-the-art courts are well worth the $7 drop in for open play (aka pick-up for pickleballers). Fitt Tip: demo paddles are available for use.

If you build it, they will come. The Field of Dreams adage is proving true for parks like Olentangy River Parklands in Worthington. In recent years, the outdoor destination has converted two tennis courts into six permanent, public, and (game-changer) lighted pickleball courts. Free to use with the potential to play all day and night? Sounds like a solid Saturday to us.

Hoff Woods Park in Westerville is home to four recently completed (like 2018 recent) permanent outdoor courts. They are free to use, and boy are they popular — you’ll have to get there early, as this pickleball paradise gets packed starting early on the weekends. And while there isn’t much in the way of shade around the courts, at least you can head over to Zest Juice Co.—under a mile away—to refuel when you need it.

Scarborough East in Independence Village, by sheer numbers, might as well be Columbus’s unofficial pickleball HQ because you’ll have your choice of 16 indoor and six outdoor courts. The club’s indoor tennis courts, lined for pickleball and readied for play with portable nets, are laid with rubber-cushioned DynaTurf for lower impact. But the outdoor courts are the real draw: the green and blue courts are fenced, painted, and ready for a full day of action. Fitt Tip: if you’re ready to show off your pickleball prowess, Scarborough East hosts the Central Ohio Pickleball Championship for 18–34-year-olds.

A short trip to Plain City will bring you to Elysium Tennis, a massive facility with accomodation for eight indoor pickleball courts. Monday and Tuesday are prime pickleball days, when the tennis courts are set up with portable nets for open play. Just getting into the game? They have a certified pickleball instructor on staff, as well as 16 loaner pickleball paddles for you and your friends to use.

Want to run or bike to your next match? Clinton-Como Park is right along the Olentangy Greenway Trail, and while the stage for your pickleball party isn’t as impressive as some of the newer courts around town, this go-to spot has character. The sole tennis court, marked with clean pickleball lines, is in a quieter part of the park, surrounded by picnic benches and welcoming shade from a number of nearby trees. Just make sure you’re back on the trail before sundown!

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