Pickleball Fever

For the third year in a row, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the US, with over 36 million players and over thirteen thousand places to play. Along the Art Coast, courts are popping up everywhere. So whether you are a veteran player or a newbie, be sure to bring paddles when you visit Saugatuck/Douglas. 

As you may know, Michigan is affectionately known as the “Great Lakes State.” But there are many more things than majestic natural resources that make Michigan great. For example, Michigan is one of the top 10 states with the most places to play pickleball. There’s a reason pickleball has become so popular over the past few years, says Brandon Mackie of Pickleheads, a site dedicated to all things pickleball.

“Pickleball is accessible to everyone,” says Mackie. “The equipment is basic, with plastic paddles and balls, so there are fewer dynamics than with a stringed tennis racquet. The courts are smaller, and you’re playing up at the net, so you don’t have to do a lot of running around. And you can learn it in a single session—you don’t have to take a bunch of lessons.”

Get Started

Interested in playing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Check out Pickleheads. The site offers how-to videos and equipment recommendations and can even connect you with local pros who provide lessons. Mackie recommends checking out a feature called “vacation mode.” This allows you to see all the courts and open plays in the area so that you can work on your game during your trip. 

Gear Up
If you’re on the hunt for new equipment, check out Revolin Sports for the latest paddles and accessories. This Holland, Michigan-based company locally designs and manufactures high-performing paddles for pickleball-obsessed using planet-friendly and game-enhancing materials. They have a variety of paddle models for all levels of players, with patterns and colors that will help you stand out on the court. Check out their address, hours, and offerings at www.revolinsports.com

Hit the Courts

The Saugatuck/Douglas area offers several great outdoor and indoor pickleball court options where you can perfect your game. Be sure to check out Pickleheads before you go so you can confirm court availability. 

Schultz Park
300 Riverview Dr., Douglas, MI 49406

The crown jewel of pickleball courts along the lakeshore is Schultz Park. Nestled in the village of Douglas, this facility has eight gorgeous outdoor hard courts with permanent pickleball lines and nets—a fact Mackie says is pretty rare. 

According to his database, over 75% of pickleball courts in the US are still temporary, and you have to draw your own lines or bring a net. So you’ll definitely want to take advantage of these dedicated pickleball courts when you’re in town. If you’d like to join open play, sign up for a $45 yearly membership with the Douglas Pickleball Club. The club also leaves one court open for non-members.

Village Square Park
499 Butler St., Saugatuck, MI 49423

Conveniently located in downtown Saugatuck, Village Square Park offers one outdoor concrete court. The lines are overlaid on a tennis court, so be aware that the net is taller than a pickleball net. This free court does have nearby restrooms and access to water.

Community Athletic Center – Fennville
515 N. Maple St. M 89, Fennville, MI 49408

If the weather looks grim, head south to Fennville and play at the Community Athletic Center. Here, you’ll find three indoor wood courts with permanent lines and portable nets. The facility also offers a track and weight room and pick-up basketball and volleyball, so if you’re looking for a full day of action on a rainy day, this is the place to go. Guest passes are available for just five dollars.

Play to Win

If you’re in the mood for a little competition during your trip, West Michigan hosts a variety of fantastic tournaments for all levels of players, all year around. Check out PickleballBrackets.com and filter by state to see a plethora of tournaments, big and small. Some of the most popular tournaments include the Beer City Open, Meijer State Games, and Revolin’s Earth Day Open.