A golf course is so yesterday: The thing to have if you’re building a new luxury real estate development is a pickleball court, Architectural Digest reports.
Why it matters: When prominent architects and high-end developers sink their teeth into a consumer lifestyle trend, it’s likely to stick around and attract big dollars.
- “A decade ago, golf was a key amenity driving residential sales, especially when it came to vacation homes, but, recently, buyers are more attracted to pickleball,” according to Architectural Digest.
The big picture: Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America for the second year in a row, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s 2022 Sports, Fitness, and Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report.
- USA Pickleball, the sport’s governing body, says that 4.8 million Americans now play the sport — a mashup of tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong — for a growth rate of 39.3% over the last two years.
- The pandemic has accelerated the sport’s popularity.
- “It’s crazy, where all of a sudden people are putting up courts in their driveways,” Stu Upson, CEO of USA Pickleball, told Axios.
Details: The pickleball-court-building trend is being embraced both by luxury residential developers and builders of vacation resorts — as well as by homeowners associations and local municipal recreation departments, which are throwing up courts right and left.
- The luxury real estate developer Discovery Land Company “is at the forefront of the trend and features pickleball courts in every one of its 26 properties,” Architectural Digest says.
- “The game has been so popular that Discovery is currently doubling the number of courts in many of its locations, but the additions still won’t be enough to satisfy homeowner demand, according to the company’s founder Mike Meldman.”
- Meldman told AD: “The great thing about the game is that it attracts people of all ages, and it doesn’t require skill or athleticism. It’s easy to play but has a steep learning curve, making it still challenging as skills improve. It’s also an excellent workout.”
Bonus: The pickleball court at The Standard Residences in Miami was designed by the architecture firm Urban Robot and “also serves as a dance floor complete with a disco ball and disco lights,” per Architectural Digest.
Go deeper: Hot pandemic-era sport: Pickleball