HomeFeaturesOhio Pickleballers Game on Some of the Country's Top-Ranked Courts

Ohio Pickleballers Game on Some of the Country’s Top-Ranked Courts

You’ve likely seen them swarming the courts at the local gym, or volleying outside at nearby courts on a nice day. At a distance, it may look like a good old fashioned game of tennis, but in Pickleball, the difference is in the details. 

Invented in 1965 by American businessman and politician Joel Prichard along with his pals Barney McCallum and Bill Bell, Pickleball was devised when a missing shuttlecock foiled an afternoon game of badminton at Prichard’s summer home in Washington State. In a bid to fend off boredom, Prichard and company schemed to invent a new game to pass the time. 

With a set of ping pong paddles and a wiffle ball, the game of Pickleball was born and in the decades that followed, the game’s popularity has exploded across the Pacific Northwest and, now, the entire United States. 

Taking Toledo by storm

Pickleheads, a website with all the pickleball information you could want, offers prospective players a way of finding a game nearby. Co-founder Brandon Mackie has been watching the game take Toledo by storm. With West Toledo YMCA now offering two courts and Jermain Park four, those are just two of more than a dozen local places to master your drop shot. 

A lifelong tennis fanatic, Mackie discovered Pickleball during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. With the local gyms shuttered, Mackie wasn’t the only Californian looking to keep moving and stay in shape. The fact that the game could be played outside, effectively qualifying it as a socially distant activity, quickly found others following suit. 

“As the pandemic went on, people were looking for something that gave them an opportunity to socialize (along with) some sense of community,” Mackie recalls. “In a lot of ways, Pickleball really was an important part of my mental health journey. When I would have felt lonely and challenged like a lot of other people, it was my one way to get outdoors and meet people.”

Pickleheads.com came about a few years later, in the summer of 2022, as the benefits of the emerging sport inspired Mackie and his partners to help others find local courts and communities of players to connect with. The website streamlined the process of bringing new players into the mix. 

As Mackie sees it, “Pickleball is a social activity as much as it is a sport. It’s commonly played in an open-play format where 50 or even more players show up and rotate games and partners. You also almost always play pickleball as doubles, which provides many opportunities to socialize and meet players.”

Where can you play?

Mackie credits the popularity of the sport to a few simple factors; in addition to being easy to learn yet challenging to master, the appeal to players of all ages ensures that younger and less experienced players can still pose a challenge to veteran Pickleball players who have mastered the moves and rules. 

Mackie believes the popularity of Pickleball shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. “The magic of pickleball is it’s easy to learn, but hard to master. Beginners can go out their first time, learn the game, have fun and even win a few games. But advanced players stay challenged, and keep coming back for more. This dynamic is a big reason why pickleball continues to grow like crazy.


Where to play: 

Bowling Green Community Center

Centennial Terrace

Eastern Community YMCA

Holland Strawberry Acres Park

Jermain Park

Manor Park

Maumee Bay State Park

Monclova Community Park

Monroe Family YMCA

Perrysburg Fort Meigs YMCA

Perrysburg Recreation Park

Premier Academy

Proclaim FM – HPC Winter Home

Rossford Recreation Center

Sandusky County YMCA in Fremont

Sylvania Tam-O-Shanter

Sylvania YMCA/JCC

Sylvania Veterans Memorial Park

Toledo Pickleball Club Courts

West Toledo YMCA

White Park

Wolf Creek YMCA

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