A tennis court at Alta Laguna Park is now open to another sport — pickleball.
Two pickleball courts debuted recently on a modified tennis court after Laguna Beach’s recreation staff received 14 calls in the past several months from local pickleball aficionados requesting more courts besides the two at Lang Park.
Alexis Braun, senior recreation advisor for the city, said staff received more than 20 requests for more courts in Laguna Beach so pickleball lovers wouldn’t have to leave the city to play.
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines tennis, ping pong and badminton. The game includes a Wiffle-style ball and requires only half the court space of tennis, meaning two pickleball courts fit on one tennis court and can accommodate up to eight players.
Braun said pickleball seems to be popular among former tennis players and people just looking to socialize.
“Since they play in groups, it’s a very social sport. Because of that, people can meet new members of their community,” Braun said.
Laguna Beach has no official pickleball coordinator, so Braun said the players coordinate the matches. They even have their own Facebook page, Pickleball Laguna Beach Players, moderated by Laguna Beach resident Steve Parks. It was set up to organize local games.
“[Steve] was instrumental in getting the first courts at Lang Park started,” Braun said. “He informally coordinates the pickleball players in town.”
Parks, 74, said pickleball is valuable to the community because generally anyone can play.
“You don’t have to be a gigantic athlete to enjoy the game. It’s something that all ages can do, be on a court, get great exercise,” Parks said. “But mostly it’s about having a good time. Even the name indicates the joyful, playful game it is. Everywhere I’ve played, I meet a lot of friendly people.”
The pickleball courts at Alta Laguna Park are open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays through Fridays. The park is at 3299 Alta Laguna Blvd.