Colonie Golf & Country Club in Voorheesville, N.Y. is just beginning work on four new outdoor pickleball courts near the club’s tennis courts, while Shaker Ridge Country Club in Albany recently added new courts as demand has spiked. Courts are under development at Troy (N.Y.) Country Club, as well. “A lot of facilities were wondering if this would be a fad, but it kept going and going and going,” says Colonie General Manager Mike Jewell.
Pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in the country, has increasingly become a part of the country club experience, the Albany Business Review reported. A number of Albany, N.Y.-area clubs already have courts—and even more are on the way this year.
At Colonie Golf & Country Club in Voorheesville, N.Y., work is just beginning on four new outdoor pickleball courts near the club’s tennis courts, the Business Review reported.
“We’ve had a lot of membership inquiries about it and we decided this was the year,” said General Manager Mike Jewell. “A lot of facilities were wondering if this would be a fad, but it kept going and going and going.”
The project is expected to be done by May, Jewell told the Business Review.
At Shaker Ridge Country Club in Albany, General Manager Bill Sarver said the club recently added new courts as demand has spiked, the Business Review reported. And courts are under development at Troy (N.Y.) Country Club.
Unlike many other recreational and hospitality businesses, country clubs generally fared well during the pandemic, the Business Review reported. Golf saw big gains in rounds played and new players, as social distancing rules during the pandemic were easily adapted for the game. Country clubs were able to capitalize on that renewed interest.
But no sport has grown as much as pickleball has over the past few years, the Business Review reported. The game, which is sort of a cross between tennis, badminton and ping-pong, has gone from a niche activity mostly played by seniors to big business nationwide.
There’s a pro pickleball tour with matches that will air on ESPN’s streaming service this year, the Business Review reported. Athletes like Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and LeBron James are investing in the sport. And a report from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association found that the sport had nearly 5 million players in 2021—a 40% increase from 2020.
Pickleball apparel and merchandise sales are expected to top $650 million within the next three years, the Business Review reported.
Jewell, of Colonie Golf & Country Club, says demand has been particularly strong from members who winter in Florida, where the game has exploded in popularity, the Business Review reported. But he also said that it’s not just seniors who are interested in grabbing a paddle—especially with an increase in new members at the club.
“We’re definitely noticing more younger families who want something to do in addition to golf,” Jewell said.
As for the game itself, Jewell told the Business Review he’s only played once, but is looking forward to trying it out once the courts are ready.
“I am more of a golf guy, but it was fun,” Jewell said.
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