“We see pickleball as an incredible medium that brings people together, connects communities and promotes a healthy and active lifestyle.” – Drew Brees
Originating from a backyard activity in the mid-1960s, pickleball has evolved into a global sensation captivating people of all ages with its fun gameplay and inclusive nature. Santa Clarita is no stranger to this ever-growing sport, which combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis.
Our pickleball community includes players of all backgrounds who come together to share their love for the game. On any given weekend, residents can show up at our pickleball courts scattered throughout the valley to see an environment filled with enthusiasm as players of different ages and skill levels gather to engage in matches and cheer each other on.
In February 2023, the Sports and Fitness Industry Association’s Topline Participation Report announced that pickleball continued to be the fastest-growing sport in America for the third year in a row. According to the report, there are more than 8.9 million pickleball players in the United States.
This is a stark comparison to the humble beginnings of pickleball. Traced back to Bainbridge Island in Washington State, pickleball founders Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum sought to create a game that would keep their families and children entertained during the summer. Using an improvised set of rules, they utilized a badminton court, lowered the net and introduced a plastic ball with holes. From a simple court in a backyard to worldwide domination, this sport has found a home in many of our residents’ hearts.
What I like most about pickleball is its inclusive nature. The smaller court size and slower pace in comparison to tennis makes it easier for people of all ages to participate and have fun while playing. With a unique combination of strategy, agility and hand-eye coordination, pickleball can be an enticing sport for both beginners and seasoned athletes, as well as for people watching from the sidelines or on television. I know from firsthand experience the intensity, as well as a passion for the game, from watching at Bouquet Canyon Park and the newest courts at Vista Canyon Park.
Santa Clarita has truly become a destination for pickleball players across the region with courts available in our local neighborhoods. In addition to the Bouquet Canyon and Vista Canyon Park courts, participants can also go to the Canyon Country and Newhall Community Centers to play, as well as the gymnasium at the George A. Caravalho Sports Complex. The city has also partnered with the William S. Hart Union High School District to offer residents the ability to play pickleball at La Mesa Junior High School on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. until June 25. At this location are 12 pickleball courts, which are on a first-come, first-served basis. Players must bring their own pickleball equipment, including the net.
Our city is dedicated to working with our residents and local partners to create innovative solutions for more courts and will continue to have an open dialogue about the future of pickleball growth in our community. Whether you are just a beginner and want to try this sport for the first time, or if you are an advanced player who regularly frequents our courts, I invite you to come out and enjoy the parks and facilities that offer pickleball to our residents and visitors.
For more information on locations and hours, please visit santa-clarita.com/pickleball or call 661-250-3758. I hope to see everyone out on our courts this summer!
Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].