Go Pickleball or Go Home

By Darien Davies

What is the situation with pickleball? It’s like everyone and their grandmother is talking about it. Well, it’s because it’s fun AF. Less of a commitment than tennis and more of a to do than shuffleboard, it’s the “newest” (considering it’s been around since plaid was invented; kidding) way to be social and burn a few calories. If you’re looking to join the sport, or would like a few new spots to get rowdy with the racquet, here are the top five places in Palm Beach County to throw down.

Palm Beach Gardens Tennis & Pickleball Center

The City of Palm Beach Gardens Tennis & Pickleball Center is a premier community public facility, winning 2019-2021 USTA National Member Organization of the Year, 2018 USTA Florida Member Organization of the Year Award and 2014 United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Outstanding Facility Award. Sure, that doesn’t mean much to the average layperson, but in pickleball speak that’s kind of a big deal. In addition to offering pickleball fitness classes, lessons, clinics, adaptive programs for disabled players and those in wheelchairs, open play, annual usage opportunities, this Center offers 16 pickleball courts to youth and adult players who want to get serious about the sport or have some serious fun.

5110 117th Court N., Palm Beach Gardens

Lilac Park

If you’re looking for just an opportunity to play, Lilac Park offers pickleballers 24 courts and sports lighting. There are no lessons, leagues or other organized play, so it’s all about meeting up and playing. “Pickleball in Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter” on Facebook is a good resource for organized play at Lilac. All players and ability levels are encouraged to play. The courts are open from dawn until 9 p.m. During managed hours (8 to 11:30 a.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. daily) there is a $5 fee for Palm Beach County residents to play, but free otherwise. In addition to being encouraged to show up and play, players are invited to give enthusiastic high fives, appropriately compliment others, stay adequately hydrated and welcome unfamiliar faces.

4175 Lilac St., Palm Beach Gardens

Pickleball Athletics Club

This membership-based club offers pickleball enthusiasts of all ages and ability levels a fun and safe way to play and exercise in a non-judgmental location. Open seven days a week, members can enjoy lessons, private play, events and court reservations. The club is also open to the public. Membership starts at $39 per month and includes organized play and events, discounts on lessons, court reservations and more. There are eight dedicated outdoor lighted pickleball courts that are open to the most novice of players to the most experienced. If you need first-time lessons or to sharpen your game, certified pro instructors are available to help. It’s basically a one-stop-shop happy pickleball family where everyone’s invited.

701 Lake Shore Drive, West Palm Beach

Palm Beach County Parks

If you just want to casually hit the courts for free with your friends, look no further than your favorite and nearby Palm Beach County parks. You can find pickleball courts at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park, Caloosa Park, Carlin Park, John Prince Park, Lake Lytal Park, and Okeeheelee Park. Pickleball courts are available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis during regular park hours. The majority of the courts are lighted and players are asked to limited playing to 30 minutes when there is a wait. It’s a no muss, no fuss playing situation where you can show up with your friends and play, as well as make new friends for your next match.

Delray Beach Tennis Center

For a laid back feel in a professional location, look no further than the Delray Beach Tennis Center. Daily rates are $4 for residents, clinics (all levels welcome) are $25 per player and are taught by certified professionals, and managed games (game experience for players with a basic grasp of rules and strategy) are $30 per player. Overall, everyone is welcome to learn, play and connect. There’s really no way to go wrong because after you drive it out on the court, you can drive yourself to Atlantic Avenue for some treat yo’self breakfast/lunch and cocktails.

201 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach




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