Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Borrego Springs - Pickleball


Last updated 3/20/2016 at 11:28am

The latest pastime for retirees, or those close to retirement, is growing fast, and it’s called Pickleball.

It’s easy to learn the rules, is contained within a relatively small play area, affords a great exercise opportunity and is a fine way for seniors to socialize. Pickleball is, according to Desert Health online out of Coachella Valley, the fastest growing sport in North America.

The U.S. Pickleball Association ( calls the game a “highly contagious, progressive and incurable disease.” estimating that between 40-50,000 thousand people worldwide are currently “infected.” Perhaps not quite as infectious as golf, yet. It is an interesting amalgam of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. There is a paddle, plastic wiffle ball, a net, a short non-volley zone on each side of the net, and behind them play areas like a regular tennis court. And if competition, fun and camaraderie (during and after the matches) are any indications of potential popularity, this sport has a great deal of potential.

RoadRunner Club (RRC) resident Bruce Barr brought pickleball to the RRC eight years ago, but it wasn’t until Don Irwin convinced owner Bill Wright that with the existing tennis courts empty most of the time, pickleball should be given a chance. Since then, the number of players has exploded. Last year’s first tournament had less than twenty players, this year there are nearly 70 players overall, with thirty-four entrants into the round-robin tournament, contested in A, B, and C brackets. There is so much local interest in pickleball that the two tennis courts at the RRC are being converted to pickleball courts, and a replacement tennis court is being built to the west.

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