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Your guide to picking up pickleball in Lexington, KY

The pickleball craze continues — across the country and right here in Lexington.

A group of men playing pickleball under lighted courts.

It’s not uncommon to see the courts packed at Kirklivington Park. | Photo by Paul Hooper

Paul Hooper

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Imagine a net shorter than a tennis net, mix in a paddle bigger than a ping pong paddle, and top it with a court the size of a badminton court — and that’s how you make pickleball, the fast-paced game that’s sweeping the nation.

ICYMI, pickleball mixes elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton for one easy-to-play game (Read: Anyone can learn in ~5 minutes).

Why the pickleball craze?

Known as the fastest-growing sport in the US, the game first got its start in 1965 and has since skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years — growing to millions of players, 38,000 courts, and 47 major tournaments across the country.

The sport got its start locally ~11 years ago thanks to Ron Eversole, an administrator at Tates Creek Christian Church, who learned about the sport on a trip to Florida. He decided to build a court at the church, encouraged friends to try, and the rest was history.

One of those friends is Dan Ewing, who is now the president of the Kentucky Pickleball Association. “It is the most social sport I have ever played. You have an opportunity to get to know people you otherwise would never cross paths with,” Ewing said.

He added that it is great for all ages as it doesn’t require as much running and power as tennis, but more accuracy and reflexes.

A group of people playing pickleball

Pickleball is great for all ages and levels of athletes. | Photo by Amy Wallot

Amy Wallot/Amy Wallot/LFUCG

Learn how to play

A great way to dip your toe in the pickleball pool is to join the Lexington Pickleball Facebook group, which is 3,800+ members strong. (Fun fact: When we first wrote this article in May of 2023, that Facebook group only had ~1,400 members.) This is a great place to connect with fellow players of all levels and even find lessons.

Here’s who is giving lessons locally:

Since each game can be played in about 15-20 minutes, Ewing said it is not uncommon to see folks play 10+ games each night.
Learn by watching the competition at this year’s 2024 Bluegrass State Games tournament Friday, July 26-Sunday, July 28.

Shop

Local boutique Birdies & Bows, located at 113 Clay Ave., carries its own line (as well as other brands) of pickleball skorts, tops, and gear like paddles, bags, accessories + themed gifts.

Where to play

Lexington’s first pickleball-specific facility, Pickleball Paddock is getting closer + closer to coming to fruition. Located at 968 Enterprise Ct. — off Alexandria Drive + Old Frankfort Pike — follow along for the latest updates.

In recent years, Parks & Recreation has answered the call to create more accessibility to the sport throughout the city. The following parks have dedicated outdoor courts:

  • Gardenside — 1 court
  • Kirklevington — 12 courts
  • River Hill — 4 courts
  • Meadowthorpe — 2 courts, painted over tennis courts
  • North Lexington YMCA — 10 courts
  • Whitaker Family YMCA — 1 court
  • Lexington Senior Center — 1 court, reserved for members/guests
  • Cardinal Run North — 10 courts, coming soon

The following locations have courts for indoor play:

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