Home Event Pickleball courts sit empty at GRCC while popular sport catches on off...

Pickleball courts sit empty at GRCC while popular sport catches on off campus

Collegiate photo by Alena Visnovsky

By Spencer Westmoreland

While pickleball is reportedly the fastest growing sport in the U.S., you wouldn’t know it here at Grand Rapids Community College where no one showed up for the first drop in pickleball sessions at the fieldhouse. 

However, it may just be a matter of time before pickleballers start flocking to the fieldhouse as the sport has caught on in other parts of the city. The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel put in four brand new pickleball courts on their fourth story rooftop over the summer and allows anyone to participate for a fee of $20 per hour. The Grand Plaza crowd is very diverse from young to old, and local clubs have even held tournaments on the courts. 

For those who may not know, pickleball is a combination of tennis and badminton. While the court is small like badminton, the rules are more similar to tennis. This specific mix makes it fun and easy for everyone. Even the likes of NBA star LeBron James has taken notice as he has his sights set on purchasing a professional pickleball team.

The Amway has yet to set a closing date for the outdoor courts, but the outdoor season will end when the cold weather rolls in.

Fortunately, GRCC’s drop in pickleball events take place indoors and are open to current students and staff – no experience or equipment necessary. 

“It could be a new opportunity for students to meet new friends or colleagues,” said Whitney Marsh, director of the Ford Fieldhouse adding that this can be especially beneficial for new students looking to connect. “There are a lot of benefits of exercise overall,” Marsh said. 

“If we can get a large group of students who are interested then we could potentially do specific events, tournaments or leagues down the road,” said Marsh. 

GRCC is providing plenty of opportunities for staff and students to jump on the rapidly growing pickleball bandwagon. These events will expose students to everything the Ford Fieldhouse has to offer. So even if pickleball isn’t your thing, it may lead to another form of exercise that you enjoy.

While the courts have been empty so far, the weather is changing and students are encouraged to bring a friend and swing by. The pickleball events are held on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the south end of the Ford Fieldhouse.

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  1. Great article. There was a pickle ball article that came out today on WoodTV. This was much more informative. Makes me want to get out and see what all the excitement is.


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