Backyard Pickleball Courts

By Matthew Schwartz

June 13, 2024


(Kim and Thad Noethe’s court, Fort Worth, TX)

Pickleball’s exploding popularity has meant longer wait times at public courts. It’s not uncommon for players to sit for 20 minutes or more between matches at some venues. Matches at crowded courts are being played to nine or even seven points, or rally scoring is used to try to speed up game times. Paddle racks get full faster than ever, as do white boards and sign-up sheets. Online sign-ups on PlayTime Scheduler and Team Reach increase significantly every day.

The Association of Pickleball Professionals reported that 36.5 million people in the US played pickleball in 2023. Meanwhile, USA Pickleball’s court database places2play lists 10,724 court locations.  

The number of public pickleball courts simply cannot increase at a rate proportional to the number of new players.

As a result, an increasing number of players are taking matters into their own paddles, er, hands. They’re having pickleball courts built in their backyards.

Kim Noethe, 53, and her husband, Thad, 57. spent $60,000 on a court installed in their Fort Worth, TX backyard in May. “Our family loves pickleball and having the court on our property gives us the ability to play on demand and not worry about finding an available court at local facilities,” Kim said. “Before we built the backyard court, I was traveling quite a bit each week to play pickleball.” (She says her DUPR is 4.8). “We have six grandchildren and we knew that if we built a court at home that we could spend even more quality time with them and less time on the road,” she said.

Kim said her advice for other homeowners wanting their own court would be to “reflect on what you liked from the previous locations [you’ve] played. Such as what colors you like and are able to see well while playing, size of the court, where will your seating area be, and what type of lighting is needed.”


(Gary Dannenberg’s court, Milton, WI)


“It’s the new backyard pool,” is how Gary Dannenberg describes the popularity of having his own pickleball court at his home in Milton, WI. A 3.8 player, the 68-year-old Dannenberg is a home builder and built the court himself, so he was able to keep the cost down to $11,000. Gary told me via email “I built it to drill, play with friends, and PARTY.” Yes, he put “party” in all caps.

“I wanted to have backyard parties with something to do besides sitting in lawn chairs and drinking,” he said. “In addition, private drill time, selecting a group of compatible players for good games, as a show piece of my building skills of courts, and lastly, the street cred of having one gives me a few bragging rights.”

Brent Poss is President of CourTex Construction, which builds courts for all sports. Poss says a backyard pickleball court typically costs between $30,000 and $50,000. The total amount depends on factors involving your particular yard, primarily how much site preparation is needed.

Poss says five years ago more homeowners wanted tennis or basketball courts, and his Austin based firm installed 80 pickleball courts. He says CourTex installed approximately 225 pickleball courts last year.

Poss has a warning for homeowners who want a pickleball court installed on their property. He says some contractors with no experience in sports courts in general, much less pickleball courts, are capitalizing on the unprecedented demand. “So many people are having inferior courts installed,” Poss said. His company has been called in to fix some of those inferior jobs, he said.

There were recent horror stories posted in a Facebook group about a guy who started installing pickleball courts but never finished, or allegedly did shoddy work and ignored homeowners' pleas to return and fix his mistakes.

Poss advises homeowners to get recommendations and references from those who already have a court they’re satisfied with. Don’t just go online and read sparkling reviews on a builder’s website. Research the company. Again, a company that’s been installing sports courts for years probably will do a better job than some general builder with little or no experience in this specific type of work.

A realtor in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, Maria Arita-Howard, told me that more house hunters than ever are asking if a home for sale has a pickleball court. Or they tell her they’d prefer the house they buy comes with a court. “It used to be that the first thing people would say when thinking about additional amenities to a house would be a basketball court or a pool. Now they're saying, 'Wow. We saw that it had a pickleball court.’”

Arita-Howard says most new residential developments-including virtually all 55 and over communities-come with pickleball courts. Builders know it’s an amenity that’s required if they want to compete in the marketplace. If house hunters who love pickleball are comparing different residential communities, why would they even consider one without courts?

When many pickleball players are choosing where to stay on vacation they require that the property has a pickleball court. Entrepreneurs and landlords on Airbnb and VRBO have taken note. Beth and Neil Olderman of suburban Chicago own a rental property in Asheville, NC. As pickleball players, they’re beginners. But as landlords, they’re savvy. They added a pickleball court in March to their big (four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, 4765 square feet) mountain rental home. They bought paddles and balls for the guests to use.

(Beth & Neil Olderman’s rental property, Asheville, NC)

“Asheville is a popular destination for active travelers,” Beth says, “and every new renter has requested to use the court and has mentioned in their review how they enjoyed it.”  After adding the pickleball court, the Oldermans raised the nightly rental rate by $100, to $695.

Having a pickleball court in your yard isn’t cheap and many players can’t afford it. But it’s a pickleball lover’s dream. You can still enjoy the sport’s social aspect by inviting friends to play on your court. And you can play to 11, 15, 21, or however long you wish.

And you never have to wait in line, stack your paddle or sign up anywhere.


Thoughts of the week, not all pickleball

-Friends and I were talking the other night about how few truly funny sitcoms are on the hundreds of broadcast and streaming platforms now compared to the 60’s, 70’s and ‘80’s.  I mean, I don’t think it’s even close and we had about six channels then. I don’t see any current sitcoms that will stand the test of time and be considered classics years from now. Shows like Mash, The Odd Couple, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Get Smart, Taxi, Cheers, Seinfeld. I could go on and on.

-Am I the only one here who buys way too many t-shirts to play pickleball in? I counted the other day and I’m embarrassed to say I have 32 (but hey, I need to be honest with you, my readers). Many of my shirts have pickleball themes and say, “Just Dink It” (I have four of those in different colors), “Never Underestimate an Old Man with A Pickleball Paddle,” and “You Have Been Served.”

I think I have 20 more shirts than I need. I see another trip to Goodwill in my near future.

-The city of Asheville, NC, has a population of 95,000 and not one dedicated pickleball court for the public. All public courts are shared with tennis players and lined for both sports. The city’s Parks & Rec Department removed the portable nets it had provided on several courts on May 24th with no advance warning. The city had supplied expensive, heavy rollaway nets and a few pickleball players neglected to roll them off the courts after playing. The wheels left divots in the courts, including a couple the city had spent thousands on recently to resurface. Still, it’s an embarrassment for the city that it can’t offer any pickleball courts with permanent, in-ground nets. Then there wouldn’t be this problem. Now the only way to play pickleball on public courts in Asheville is for players to bring their own nets or rent one from the city for seven days. As I wrote last week, the researchers who rank Asheville among the top retirement cities must not be pickleball players.

-I read the following anecdote in a Facebook pickleball group and contacted the man who posted it. He doesn’t want me to use his name.

“After a couple hours of pickleball I was seated next to a court cooling down.  A woman I recognize from my gym walks by in tears.  She wanted to try pickleball for the first time, walked over to a court with beginners and was told she didn't belong there.  WTF?!  So I told her let's go to a free court and hit around for a bit, then a couple of beginners came by and we played a game.  Fun for me?  Not exactly.  But everyone plays like garbage on day one.  And how can I let a woman leave the court in tears?  Thankfully she left the court smiling and she got a tip where she can go for a beginner's clinic.

Take away message: ALWAYS be respectful.  If someone comes over and is clearly on the wrong court (talent wise) you can gently point them to a more suitable court or simply play a five minute game and they'll get the idea (... this is what I do)”

To that gentleman, I say thank you.

Some pickleball players forget we were all beginners once.

Congratulations to Moses Tey for being the first person to email Hudef with the correct answer to last week’s contest question. Moses knew that Hudef sells 17 different paddles. The Crestline, CA resident is the winner of a Hudef Viva Pro Gen3 paddle. We will have a new contest and paddle giveaway in the first blog of every month.