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Pickleheads sprouting throughout the region

There are currently 36.5 million pickleball players estimated in the United States, according to the Association of Pickleball Professionals in 2022, and pickleball participation growing 158.6% over the past three years according to the 2022 Sports & Fitness Industry Association Single Sport Participation Report on Pickleball.

Brandon Mackie, co-founder of Pickleheads, said its website is dedicated to pickleball players from beginners to pros that shows what pickleball courts are in your local community. Mackie said Pickleheads is now the leading source for pickleball players looking for courts and looking to find games.

“Which are the two most important things, especially when you are just starting your pickleball journey,” he said. “It is like you use Yelp to find a restaurant, you use Pickleheads to find a court. We have more than 13,000 courts profiled throughout the U.S. and Canada, so no matter where you are in the world, there is a good chance you can use Pickleheads and find a court to use. Many people use it this time of year while they are traveling or getting out in the sunshine. Now, beyond that we have tools so you can organize your own games. So, if someone is visiting Chula Vista, they can browse people who are playing and go out and meet and play, which is pretty cool.”

Mackie said the website is easy to navigate. Go to the map, put in your location. Each court is profiled, has a calendar of when groups play there, and when other Pickleheads have scheduled games.

“The goal is to get Pickleheads together and get more people out on the courts playing pickleball, he said. “There are many places to play. The nice thing about pickleball is that you can set up just about anywhere, a gymnasium, a basketball court, or a driveway. There are many pickleball courts, but the best experience is on a dedicated pickleball facility, which San Diego County is very fortunate to have many of what we would call a world-class facility, like Mackenzie Creek Park in Chula Vista, Boogaard’s Pickleball Ranch in Bonita, The Hub Pickleball in La Mesa, SportsPlex USA Santee.”

Both East County and South Bay have about 16 pickleball courts to choose from according to Pickleheads that range from beginners to professional courts and will also show which sites have trainers. Mackie said the filter on the website can help players find the right pickleball court that meets their needs, and for most locations, the site has aerial footage.

Mackie said he has been a dedicated tennis player for most of his life and became a pickleball player at the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

“As my own experience in getting into the game, there were challenges that I had. Things I wish existed. First thing, a court finder. I had to go through Google images and click on images just to see if they had pickleball there. It was a very arduous process and sometimes I could not tell if there was a pickleball court there. So, we just thought this was a resource that players needed,” he said.

Mackie said they spent the best of last year going city to city, court to court, eventually getting it to where it became a trusted resource for folks looking to play. Mackie said the site is set up like a pickleball Wikipedia, where anyone can submit sites, they check the sites out, and add them to the site’s inventory.

“Our biggest source is people all over the country,” he said. “People open somewhere locally, add it to our site, and it grows that way. I think that is the best way. We rely on the millions of players across the country to help build the website.”

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