Pickleball popularity drives new business in Maryland

10/30/2023| Amanda Winters

Pickleball popularity drives new business in Maryland

10/30/2023 | Amanda Winters

It’s been called America’s fastest-growing sport, and people throughout Maryland are joining the craze.

As pickleball takes the country by storm, so does the demand for available pickleball clubs and courts—and Maryland businesses are taking notice of the recreational trend.

The PutAway , a premium indoor pickleball facility with seven courts and 24,000 square-feet of space, is one of the most recent additions to the sport. The facility opened this summer with five employees and half a dozen instructors and is looking to grow. The company already has plans to add three outdoor courts – bringing its total to 10 – with outdoor lighting and access for evening play.

“I began playing pickleball after I sold my last business and found myself with extra time on my hands,” said founder Tim Schnupp. “During that time, my neighbor invited me to play in a local neighborhood league… I was hooked after the first time I played! As a business owner with a young family, I had lost touch with my social life and competitive side. Thankfully, discovering pickleball has reintroduced me to that, along with connecting me to many amazing people.”

The PutAway chose to locate in Millersville due to its proximity to the amount of impressive pickleball players in the region, according to Schnupp. Two of the world’s top-ranked players – brothers Ben and Collin Johns – hail from Montgomery County. JOOLA , one of the top manufacturers of pickleball equipment, also has ties to the Capital Region.

“Maryland has a deep connection with pickleball,” said Schnupp. “We want folks to know that they have a place at The PutAway, whether they’ve never played before or are high-level players. We are thrilled to continue building our community and providing enjoyment through pickleball.”

Elsewhere in the state, the Courts at Harmon Field recently held the USA Pickleball Mid-Atlantic Diamond Regional  in Salisbury. Wicomico County Government estimates that the tournament brought an economic impact of more than $615,000  to the area. The court, which opened around Memorial Day, was named one of the top pickleball facilities to get to know by Connect Sports .

Eight new pickleball courts opened in July at the Talbot County Community Center. The courts are the first part of a major expansion at the community center , with a new gymnasium including basketball courts, volleyball courts, and bathrooms expected early next year.

The Baltimore region is gaining several new and expanded pickleball facilities as well. Open since last November, Columbia’s Dill Dinkers Pickleball  is doubling its number of courts. Howard County also recently opened eight new courts  at Western Regional Park, the largest installation so far for the county. In Middle River, a new 10-court indoor venue  will open this fall within St. John Properties’ Greenleigh community. And in Baltimore City, both Harbor East  and Baltimore Peninsula  will soon have pickleball courts available to the public.

According to Pickleheads , there are more than 300 courts currently available in Maryland. That number is expected to increase as the sport’s popularity continues growing in the U.S.

“Much of the growth we've seen over the last few years has been at the adult level,” said Graham Whaples, project administrator for the Maryland Sports Commission , a division of the Maryland Stadium Authority. “I can only imagine what the demand and outlook for the sport will be in the next five to 10 years if pickleball’s popularity does indeed trickle down to the younger generation.”

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