Pickle Place brings pickleball indoors

Rain or shine, blazing or freezing, pickleball is at your fingertips. After more than a year of planning and development, The Racquet Club at Seven Lakes recently opened The Pickle Place: the only indoor pickleball-specific courts in Moore County. 

For those not in the know, pickleball is a racket sport. Think of it like tennis but with smaller courts, plastic balls, and paddles instead of rackets. By many metrics, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., and Moore County has witnessed that growth firsthand. 

Costing $1.2 million, The Pickle Place is a huge investment into the sport. But Katie Carpenter, co-owner and full-time director of tennis and pickleball at the Racquet Club, is confident the expense will be worth it. She believes The Pickle Place will draw crowds. “I don’t think pickleball has even reached its peak,” she said, “and it’s not going anywhere.”

What made the 10,500-square-foot facility so costly? The Racquet Club spared no expense. The lighting is great — upward-facing LEDs reflect off the white ceiling and cause no shadows. The courts are kind to your body — they play like hard courts, but soft mats underneath protect players. Play is not hindered — plenty of room is allocated to each of the three courts.

Pickle Place Brings pickleball indoors
Katie Carpenter gives a lesson to a pickleball player

There is no lack of ways to use these facilities, including leagues, tournaments, and open play. Or, you can simply rent a court and play with your own crew. More information regarding offerings — including memberships — can be found on The Pickle Place’s website

Carpenter, a lifelong tennis player, first took up pickleball during the COVID lockdown — when she thinks the sport really took off. Though pickleball has been around for decades — the majority of players are from older generations — recent years have seen its popularity booming. Younger people are taking to the sport, and they’re changing the pickleball landscape. 

“The majority of people playing in Moore County are still fairly older,” said Carpenter, “but they’re going to get younger. The biggest demographic right now is thirty-year-olds. The next group you’re going to see boom are the kids.” 

Carpenter believes pickleball has numerous spellbinding draws: multigenerational appeal, accessibility, quick fun, and good company. Even without knowing all the rules and techniques, she said, “A seven-year-old kid can play with their granddad, and it’s still fun.” 

But to Carpenter, fostering friendships is pickleball’s best quality. “The biggest reason to pick up a paddle and play is the friendships that you make,” she said. “It’s a bit of a cult — in a good way. Once you find pickle friends, you guys are friends, and you stay friends.” 

Now, what if you don’t know anyone who wants to try pickleball with you? Carpenter said that pickleballers are welcoming — in her experience, any group at any court embraces first-timers. However, she knows meeting new people and trying new things can be intimidating, so The Pickle Place has you covered with Level Play. Here, you’ll face off against and meet other pickleballers around your skill level. “It’s a way to meet a lot of people in a short amount of time,” said Carpenter. 

“I want this to be your third favorite place to be,” said Carpenter. “You want to be home, and you’ve got to be at work. I want this to be number three. This should be the best part of your day; I want you to have fun.”

The Pickle Place is located at 116 Edgewater Drive in the Seven Lakes community in West End.

~Article and photos by Sandhills Sentinel reporter Andrew Sellers.

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