Pickleball is America’s fastest-growing sport, and Maryland has certainly jumped on the bandwagon.
A highly addictive blend of tennis, ping pong, and badminton, pickleball is played on a court about a third the size of a tennis court, using a whiffle board and an oversized ping pong paddle.
It may sound like a schoolyard invention, but this game has been played seriously for half a century, and in the past few years, it’s seen a surge in popularity. So much, so that big investors like Tom Brady and LeBron James are now snapping up professional pickleball teams to compete in Major League Pickleball.
Pickleball’s most famous and successful player, Ben Johns, was born and bred in Laytonsville, MD, yet another Marylander to be proud of.
Pick up a paddle and start playing, and Pickleball’s appeal instantly becomes clear. It’s not only super fun to play, but it’s also easy. So easy and accessible, in fact, that everyone can get involved.
“Suitable for ages 5 to 95”, as many pickleheads like to say. And they’re not exaggerating. A 90-year-old in Florida is a famous pickleball player and ambassador.
The game’s slower pace and compact court mean that it is much less demanding than other racquet sports, and this has driven its popularity across the USA, and now worldwide. So much so that there is a serious chance, it will be included in the Olympic Games in the near future.
According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, there were 4.8 million players in the United States in 2021. Pickleball is now the fastest-growing sport in America, and pickleball court data provider Pickleheads reports 10,320 places to play nationally. And Maryland certainly isn’t lagging behind.
How Pickleball Has Benefited Maryland
Maryland has seen its fair share of pickleball’s growth, and with our sporty population and mild climate, it’s easy to see why pickleball is booming here.
According to Pickleheads, there are 192 pickleball facilities in Maryland. That means Maryland has the 24th most places to play pickleball in the United States.
Places to Play Pickleball in Maryland
Listed below are some of the top courts where an ever-increasing number of players can be found playing pickleball in Maryland:
Popular Public Courts
This popular pickleball destination in Annapolis reopened in the summer 2021 after a $1 million upgrade. It now boasts six dedicated pickleball courts as well as four ‘blended courts’, which are tennis courts that can be converted to pickleball using a portable net. These blended courts have permanent pickleball lines painted on them. There is ample free parking right next to the court complex.
Play here is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and these courts are used by the Annapolis Pickleball Club, whose members have access to secure lockboxes on-site.
Atholton Park in Howard County offers two outdoor, fenced-in pickleball courts. These were resurfaced and repainted in 2021. They are free to use and are very popular with local players, so get there early.
Popular Private Courts
Mears Marina Annapolis is located in the historic Eastport neighborhood of Annapolis. This private members club has an olympic size swimming pool, six tennis courts, and six dedicated outdoor pickleball courts.
Between games, you can relax in the beautifully landscaped gardens and picnic areas and, of course, stop in for refreshment at the Fat Crab Cafe and Tiki Bar.
Located in Columbia, this pickleball facility has nine courts in total, three indoors and six outdoors.
The luxurious Woodholme Country Club in Pikesville is a delightful new place to play pickleball in Maryland. It boasts eight dedicated outdoor pickleball courts set in a beautiful leafy location.
Sports memberships and social memberships options are available. They also have a pickleball pro on hand to give classes, tips, and tricks to new and existing pickleheads.
Members can also avail of all the country club has to offer, including their famous 50,000 square foot clubhouse, for some light refreshments after a hard day on the courts.
Lastly is Dill Dinkers which is officially opening this November. This is a pickleheads paradise—a dedicated indoor facility with 15,000 square feet dedicated to pickleball.
That includes six indoor, climate-controlled courts as well as a cafe and restrooms. The facility also plans to host food trucks throughout the year.
These are only a small selection of pickleball resources in the state. Click here for a more complete list of the best places to play Pickleball in Maryland.
Have a Ball While Staying Active
As you can see, there’s no shortage of opportunities to try out the new sport that’s sweeping the nation.
Pickleball is genuinely fun for all the family, and is an ideal social sport that pairs perfectly with parties, barbecues and days out in the park.
And with so many places to play, get out and play pickleball in Maryland.