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First came the infinity pools, then the steam baths, and then the bespoke golf courses. Luxury real estate developers have always spared no expense to obtain the most highly coveted symbols of sophistication and wealth.
According to new data, there’s a new trendy addition to their worldly, cosmopolitan arsenal of amenities: pickleball courts. Seriously, pickleball courts? Seriously. Pickleball courts.
Caught in a Pickle
The fastest-growing sport in America is not a popular foreign game like soccer, rugby, or cricket. It’s not a high-octane outdoor marathon like adventure racing. It’s not the punishing spectacle of mixed martial arts. Americans, more than anything else, are taking up pickleball, a mishmash of badminton, tennis, and ping pong that you might remember from middle school gym class. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Nearly 5 million Americans now play the sport — a 39.3% increase from two years ago.
That’s left the top luxury residences and resorts in the world scrambling to build enough court space for adults to bat around perforated polymer balls like they’re back in seventh grade:
- Leading the charge is luxury real estate brand Discovery Land Company, which has built pickleball courts at all 26 of its properties, including the Troubadour Golf and Field Club in Nashville and the El Dorado Golf and Beach Club in Cabo San Lucas. Demand is so high that Discovery is doubling the number of courts at some locations, which the company says still won’t be enough.
- Other high-end resorts and communities that have gone all-in on new courts include Tumble Creek at Suncadia, which is outside Seattle near the Cascade Mountains; The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Pompano Beach, Florida; The Standard Residences in Miami; The Residences at Rancho La Puerta, in Tecate, Mexico; and The Abaco Club on Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas.
Cool Dads: Pickleball’s popularity proves not everything dads do is cringe. The sport was invented in 1965 by three dads on Bainbridge Island, Washington who saw their families were bored when they came home from golf.