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Pickleball: The Newest Craze in Charleston?

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If you’re from Charleston, you’ll know that we’ve tried them all—yoga, Zumba, CrossFit, and the list goes on and on. But there’s something new in town that has locals excited.

I’m talking about the sport called pickleball.

Pickleball has quickly become the newest craze, with pickleball courts popping up all over Charleston. There is no sign of it slowing down! If you don’t know much about this sport yet, you’re in for a treat.

What is Pickleball?

Pickleball is a paddle game similar to tennis, badminton, and ping pong. But unlike these sports, pickleball uses a 3-inch-wide plastic ball. It comes with uniform-sized holes, which help it follow a consistent flight path.

Like tennis, pickleball can be an indoor or outdoor game. Players may also come in singles or doubles. Pickleball is for all ages and skill levels, like its sibling sports. Unsurprisingly, this sport is now the “fastest growing sport in the US.”

How Is Pickleball Played?

This game is set on a 44-foot-long and 20-foot-wide court. The net must be 36 inches on the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. Like tennis, the game starts with a serve. But in pickleball, players must serve underhand.

Another distinguishing feature of this game is the non-volley zone or the “kitchen.” It is a 7-foot area that extends from the net, and players cannot hit the ball out of the air while standing there.

Only the serving team can earn points; each team switches sides every time a point is won. The first team to reach 11 points wins the game.

If you want to learn how to play pickleball, find someone who’s into it and ask for help. Beginners often find it helpful to have an experienced player show them the basics.

If you can’t find a friend who plays pickleball, the internet is full of tutorials to help you get started. Finding a good court location for beginners will also help you.

What Makes Pickleball So Popular?

This sport was first played in the 1960s and has since gained popularity in different parts of the US. One reason for this is that it’s equally competitive but tends to be easier to learn than other racket or paddle sports.

Moreover, the game also provides the same stimulating experience. And due to its slow-paced nature, pickleball is safer for people with health concerns. Compared with tennis, people can play pickleball in a wheelchair. It is also more accessible, as the paddle and ball are affordable for most players.

More than 1 million picklers come from the South Atlantic region. In South Carolina alone, there are more than 197 pickleball courts. Most of these locations are in Charleston.

Given its easygoing nature, it’s no surprise that pickleball is popular. In fact, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, about 4.8 million people played pickleball in 2022. 3.5 million of them are casual players who play up to seven times a year.

Places To Play Pickleball in Charleston

Here’s a list of the best pickleball courts in Charleston:

Popular Public Courts

If you’re looking to enjoy the city’s wonderful public facilities, these parks in Charleston are perfect for you:

Collins Park Community Center

This park is located behind a neighborhood in North Charleston. Aside from a pickleball court, they also feature a playground area and baseball field. There’s also a skating rink and basketball court nearby.

Address: 4115 Fellowship Rd., North Charleston, SC

Open: Mon – Fri, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

General William Moultrie Playground

This recently renovated park is home to two pickleball courts. The view of Colonial Lake nearby is also a bonus.

Address: 41 Ashley Ave., Charleston, SC

Open: All week, 7:00 am – 9:00 pm

Popular Private Courts

These sites are great options if you’re willing to spend a few bucks for intimate games and other perks:

Waring Senior Center

This 16,000-square-foot center is located within Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital grounds. It houses a fitness center where several elderly people hang out and exercise. The facility charges $5 for a pass.

Address: 2001 Henry Tecklenburg Dr, Charleston, SC

Open: Mon – Thur, 7:00 am – 7 pm; Fri, 7:00 am – 4:00 pm; Sat, 8 am – 1:00 pm

Family Circle Tennis Center

This government-owned facility caters to tennis and other related sports. Family Circle Tennis Center also provides training programs to further your skills in pickleball. All year, they also host some events, camping, and tournaments.

Family Circle Tennis Center offers membership packages for regular players. Membership gives you free access to tournaments and merchandise. Outsiders must pay for reservations, passes, and other services.

Address: 161 Seven Farms Dr, Charleston, SC

Open: Mon – Thur, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm; Fri, 8:00 am – 7:00 pm; Sat, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Sun, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

New Court Openings Planned

With the growth in pickleball comes some exciting new places to play pickleball in Charleston. Here are a few grand openings to watch out for:

24 Hour Pickleball

This center is set to open in the summer of 2023. It will be the largest indoor pickleball facility in South Carolina. They will have 12 dedicated courts that will be open 24 hours. 24 Hour Pickleball will also host league play and tournaments all year.

This facility will be an exclusive one. And since its announcement, 24 Hour Pickleball has been waitlisting members on its website.

Address: 4590 Augusta Highway, Lexington, SC

Open: All week, 24 hours

Central Creek Park

Central Creek Park just held its grand opening on December 16, 2022. It is the first all-inclusive park in Berkeley. The 26,000-square-foot grounds have pickleball, basketball, and volleyball facilities.

Address: 147 Old Moncks Corner Rd, Goose Creek, SC

Open: All week, 7:00 am – 11:00 pm

The Pickle Bar

This Southern-inspired bar is set to open in 2023. It combines food with the joy of playing pickleball. The facility offers a tempting menu, a game yard, and nine outdoor pickleball courts.

Address: 162 Cherry St., Summerville, SC

Open: TBA

Pickleball is a great way to stay fit and meet new friends. It is made for kids and adults alike and doesn’t require a lot of hard skills to learn.

Charleston is home to all types of pickleball courts—from public parks, private centers, and even bars.

Get out and play pickleball in Charleston!

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