A match of pickleball, anyone? - Albuquerque Journal

A match of pickleball, anyone?

Here’s a chance to try your hand at pickleball.

The Albuquerque Pickleball Club is hosting an open house from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday and Sunday at Los Altos Tennis Courts.

Pickleball, one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, is somewhat of a cross between tennis and pingpong. Experts will provide information on how to play the sport, as well as where to play it. Pickleball is a sport for all ages, can be played indoors or outdoors, and either singles or doubles. Rules of the game will be presented and those attending the open house can try it out on the court, said Gary Rutherford, a local pickleball enthusiast and member of the Albuquerque Pickleball Club.

The Albuquerque Pickleball Club is a nonprofit organization under the New Mexico Senior Sports Foundation. There are no fees to belong or to play and all skill levels are welcome. The club works with other pickleball organizations in the state to coordinate tournaments and other activities. For more information about pickleball in the Albuquerque area, visit ABQPickleball.com.

The pickleball open house is a prelude to the NM Games pickleball tournament to be held Sept. 18-20 at the Ventana Ranch Park Tennis Complex on Albuquerque’s West Side. This tournament will be sanctioned by the USA Pickleball Association and features some of the best players in the Southwest.

According to the USA Pickleball Association’s website, the game started during the summer of 1965 in Washington at the home of then state representative Joel Pritchard. He and two friends returned from golf and found their families bored. When they couldn’t find a shuttlecock for badminton, they improvised with a Wiffle ball, lowered the net and fabricated paddles from plywood.

Rutherford says the game is very popular at retirement communities in warm climates. But it’s really a fun sport for all ages.

A long-time tennis player, Rutherford said he started playing because tennis was irritating a shoulder injury. He got hooked on pickleball and is now on a mission to encourage the City of Albuquerque to include pickleball striping on more tennis courts around town. The new West Side tennis complex at Ventana Ranch includes lines for pickleball on some of its courts.

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