After three years of planning and building, Bumpy Pickle is ready to make its mark on the Houston-area pickleball scene. Featuring nine outdoor pickleball courts, the nearly two-acre venue will be opening in stages, says Roberto Escalera, one of the cofounders. “In January, it’s the pickleball courts and a temporary bar. In February, we’ll open five regulation-size sand volleyball courts. And by April, we’ll have the whole concept fully open, including our full restaurant and bar.” The latter will feature indoor and outdoor seating with an eclectic array of menu items and craft cocktails.
This is the second sports complex for Escalera and his fellow cofounders, who launched Houston’s Sports Creek, a popular outdoor sports and dining venue with two soccer fields, two sand volleyball courts, food trucks, and a bar, in 2017. “When we saw how huge pickleball was becoming, we decided to create a similar concept but with pickleball as the key element,” Escalera explains. “Our single goal with Bumpy Pickle is to ensure that our customers and pickleball enthusiasts have a great experience every time they come.” Pickleball leagues have started playing and membership structures are planned, but until the venue is fully open, Escalera says court rentals will start at $30 per hour. For more information, check out bumpypicklehtx.com.
Arizona will get its first indoor pickleball facility this March when Pickleball Kingdom opens. It’s the brainchild of entrepreneur Mike Rodrigues, who encountered roadblocks playing outside. “First, the wind; the slightest breeze can push a great shot out of bounds,” he explains. “Plus, in summer, people here only play at night because it’s too hot during the day.”
Once Pickleball Kingdom opens—with 16 courts, a pro shop, locker rooms, lounges, and a snack bar serving beer and wine—consider those problems solved. Rodrigues plans to keep the facility open from 6 a.m. to midnight so that “we will be all pickleball, all of the time.” For more info, see pickleballkingdom.com.
Hawks Cay Resort
Duck Key, Florida
Winter is prime time for a vacation full of fun, sun, and pickleball—and you’ll find all that at the largest resort in the Florida Keys, on a small island about 60 miles east of Key West. In response to guest demand, Hawks Cay Resort recently installed eight new permanent outdoor pickleball courts, rounding out a full roster of activities including tennis, soccer, basketball, golf, kayaking, reef snorkeling, paddleboarding, and lots of children’s programming.
On the pickleball courts, open clinics and round-robin play are overseen by Cliff Drysdale Tennis: The former are offered Monday through Thursday from 9 to 10 a.m.; the latter, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and on Saturdays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Costs for resort members are $25 for a clinic or open play, or $45 for both. For more information, go to hawkscay.com.
Pictona at Holly Hill
Holly Hill, Florida
One of pickleball’s leading playgrounds is about to get bigger. The founders of this premier facility originally approached the city of Daytona Beach but were turned down twice. Fate intervened when they learned neighboring Holly Hill was looking to develop a local park. A $1.3 million donation from the city, paired with a $4.6 million contribution by cofounders Rainer and Julie Martens, put things in motion.
Pictona at Holly Hill opened in July 2020 with 24 pickleball courts, a clubhouse, a pro shop, a game room, and a restaurant where all seasonal produce is grown in an on-site community garden. The venue has tallied more than 750 members and welcomed more than 55,000 visitors since then. Buoyed by that success, the founders have broken ground on a $6 million project that will more than double the number of courts for a total of 49: There will be 20 new uncovered courts, four covered, and one in a championship stadium that will seat 1,200 and be able to convert into a stage for concerts. The expansion is projected to be completed by October 2022, at which point Pictona at Holly Hill may very well become another pickleball capital. For more information about rates and activities, go to pictona.org.