Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in Montgomery County, and it shows a similar trend nationally. The sport provides opportunities for active and social experiences and has major popularity among the 55 years old and older age group. However, it is also gaining popularity within other age groups in recent years. The sport was earlier limited to indoor recreation centers, but we have been seeing the rising demand for facilities for outdoor play in more recent years. Hence, Montgomery Parks has recognized this rising demand for outdoor Pickleball facilities and had been consistently working on creating outdoor facilities for Pickleball usage within our park system.
Some of our past efforts towards creating outdoor Pickleball facilities included identifying the Pickleball demand and supply needs within our 2012 and 2017 Parks Recreation and Open Spaces Plan (PROS Plan)– our Countywide 5-yearly Long-Range Plan. More recently, we have finished working on a Pickleball Studyto help us identify suitable locations for Pickleball facilities by identifying synergies with other facilities and uses. The Pickleball Study included a multi-year collaborative process with participation and inputs from various stakeholders — different sport court users (Pickleball, Tennis, and other users), agencies (like Recreation Department, and Municipalities), and citizen representatives — to identify best solutions for Pickleball service delivery.
Montgomery Parks – Pickleball Study
Montgomery Parks recognizes the rising interest of County residents in the emerging new sport of “Pickleball.” Department of Parks initiated a planning process for Pickleball Studythat took place during 2018 – 2019. This study investigated various aspects of the Pickleball Sport. It identified service needs and gaps, user preference for facility location and design, and the service delivery strategies for a fast track implementation.
Pilot Projects to Test User Demand / Facility Design
Site Suitability Study
The process was a multi-year effort that led to identifying the best locations, preferred design, and service delivery strategies for the Pickleball facility. This included a data-driven decision-making process in collaboration with the Sport Court Work Group — an interdisciplinary team of park staff, agencies, municipalities (Parks and Recreation Departments of the City of Rockville, and the City of Gaithersburg), and Pickleball users, and other sport court user advocacy groups.
Some of the sites identified in this study will need some further analysis (see Pickleball Study for more information). In addition, all the sites identified for the first phase of Pickleball service delivery will be shared use of the Pickleball facility with Tennis. We will continue to evaluate the usage of these shared use courts to further assess the possibility of converting the courts to single-use dedicated Pickleball facilities.