Long-time player and pickleball teacher Barry Wallace (above, with Becca and Cindy Luna behind the net)
Photo by Teresa Garcia-Lande

Pickleball has a new permanent home in Idyllwild.

According to a press release from Chris Trout, Idyllwild Community Center’s spokesperson, “Barry Wallace, ICC board member and Idyllwild’s resident pickleball expert, has just announced that the new pickleball courts are now open for play.”

The state-of-the-art courts will be listed on the USAPA website’s “Places to Play” map (https://www.places2play.org/). With that listing, Idyllwild joins more than 4,000 venues in all 50 states where pickleball is played.

Said Trout, “The Idyllwild Community Center has a compelling vision, and that is to enhance the quality of life for every resident of the Hill communities and visitors to the area by developing and providing vibrant recreational, cultural and social opportunities. As of this week, the ICC program of activities will be broadened to include the most popular and fastest growing sport in the country, pickleball.

“Begun in the 60s by a couple of folks who were tired of chasing tennis balls, the actual [pickle] ball is designed to be slower than a tennis or racquet ball. That makes it easier to hit. The court is the size of a badminton court. Players still get plenty of exercise without having to cover a larger area. The game attracts adults and children who find it easy and just plain fun.”

Hill resident and longtime sports director and pickleball advocate Wallace spearheaded the construction of the new courts, designed to replace the “pop-up” courts on the old tennis courts at the Idyllwild Community Center. Those courts were slated to disappear when construction began at the ICC site. Because pickleball had become so popular at the ICC site, and given the imminent closing of the site for construction, Wallace and the ICC board undertook a gargantuan effort to fund and construct new courts.

A contract was signed with Idyllwild Pines Camp and Conference Center to locate the courts adjacent to the Idyllwild Skate Park and Rick Barker Dog Park. The new courts also will be managed by ICC, under supervision of Recreation Director Bob Lewis.

“The professional, landscaped pickleball courts were made possible by private donations to the ICC and funds from Riverside County,” wrote Trout in her release. “According to Janice Lyle, ICC president, ‘Supervisor Chuck Washington, along with his staff, CSA 36, and Riverside County Parks and Recreation has been a champion of this project. We are also once again grateful for the community-spirited generosity of Kelly Schlenz of Idyllwild Pines for providing the site.’”

Lewis is still conferring with pickleball regulars regarding hours of play, but as of this writing, men and women play Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 to 11 a.m. Women play on Monday, Thursday and Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. Weekdays (Monday through Friday, outside of the above-announced hours and up until 4:45 p.m.), call Town Hall 951-659-2638 to make arrangements for unlocking the courts and getting supplies. On Saturday and Sunday after 11 a.m., visitors call either Lewis at 951-663-9920, Ron Perry a 714-742-1056. or Ben and Nanci Killingsworth at 951-659-0575.

For making arrangements to learn the game, contact Lewis at Town Hall.