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Pickleheads aims to connect players with America’s fastest growing sport

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Pickleheads aims to connect players with America’s fastest growing sport

Image provided by Pickleheads

Decatur, GA — Pickleball – a cross between tennis, badminton, and ping-pong – is the fastest growing sport and the largest sport by participation in the country.

A recent CNBC report pegs the number of pickleball players in the U.S. at 36.5 million. That’s almost twice the size of tennis, and it’s just below running and cycling in terms of the number of people who participate in it, said Brandon Mackie, co-founder of the online pickleball platform, Pickleheads.

So, why pickleball?

Mackie gave four reasons: It’s easy to learn, it’s pretty accessible (money-wise and age-wise), it’s good exercise, and it’s a social game.

“I think this is a sport that almost every American will at least try and play on a somewhat regular basis,” Mackie said. “I’ve been a competitive tennis player my whole life, and over the years, I’ve kind of lost interest in the sport,” he added. “Right before the pandemic, I found pickleball, and it really became a great outlet for me during the pandemic as a way to get outside and to socialize with people in a safe way. I think a lot of people came to pickleball in the same way. It’s been pretty amazing to watch just how fast the sport is growing.”

Three years ago, though, it was a challenge to find places to play, inspiring the idea for Pickleheads.

To date, Pickleheads has a directory of more than 10,300 pickleball courts across the U.S. And they’re tracking and adding more every week to keep pace with the new courts popping up all over.

Mackie said their goal for Pickleheads is to become the no. 1 online destination for pickleball players, whether they’re searching for a nearby court, local pickleball events, or connecting with other players.

Pickleheads reports 315 pickleball courts in Georgia, and 31 pickleball courts in Atlanta. Atlanta has the most pickleball courts of any city in Georgia, and Georgia ranks no. 12 in the United States for most pickleball courts in a single state.

Interested in a pickup game of pickleball? Here are the top five spots to play in Decatur, according to Pickleheads:

1. DeKalb Tennis Center (public court)

2. Decatur Family YMCA (membership required)

3. Ebster Recreation Center (public court)

4. Cooper Park (public court)

5. The Atlanta Pickleball Center (One-time fee required, Atlanta)

Photo provided by Pickleheads

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