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Central Coast Living: As local pickleball grows, so does the number of courts to play on

Posted at 5:12 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-03 11:03:34-04

It's the fastest growing sport you may have never heard of.

Now, the local players of pickleball have new dedicated courts to play on in San Luis Obispo.

It proved to be a windy morning on the court, but it didn't bother Barbara Pfister. She was one of the first to pick up the sport when it was imported to San Luis Obispo back in 2012.

"Once you get this racket in your hand, it's an addiction," Pfister said. She goes any morning she can, usually playing two hours each day.

The local pickleball club has a modest history. When it began seven years ago, the game started at a rather odd location.

"One of the fellas was in our group, Tom Freeman, he had a condo. He set up a pickleball court in the back of his condo next to the vegetable patch," laughed Jean Hyduchak, director and USA Pickleball Association Ambassador. "And we used to play over there. That's where we started playing."

SLO Pickleball Club now has more than 135 registered members and is a nationally recognized location for players to stop by and enjoy a few games.

"This is a drop-in type game where all you have to do is show up and get to play," Hyduchak said.

After volleying back and forth with the city for the past few years on different agreements, the city constructed three new courts in French Park after seeing the growth and enthusiasm in the community.

"This has been great and everyone's enjoying it and it's money well spent," said club president Brian O'Kelly. "As you can see, they've only been here a week and they've been full every single day since they've been open."

But the group still has aspirations that would put the Central Coast on the pickleball map.

"One of the things we really hope to do in the future in San Luis Obispo is to hold a sanction tournament," Hyduchak said. "And we have to have a minimum of eight courts to do that."

Pickleball -- a lifetime sport that has players of all ages.

"I've never been in a sport ever before," Pfister said. "I was taking care of my family and kids and now I have time for myself."

You don't have to be a registered member to play, just show up.

And if you don't know the rules, they can teach you.

You can learn more by visiting the club's website here.