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Best Places to Play Pickleball in Lompoc

Picklebll Courts in Lompoc

Pickleball. Chances are you’ve heard and seen it more and more over the past few years. Superstar athletes like NBA icon LeBron James and Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are backing budding pickleball leagues. The number of national pickleball participants surged from around 4.5 million in 2021 to 36.5 million in a recent one-year stretch. In fact, over the previous three years, pickleball participation has grown by an annual average of 158.6 percent!

The sport continues to generate massive buzz and attract new players, followers, and investors. With its easy affordability, increasing accessibility, and fast learning curve, this surge should only continue in the years to come.

But did you know that pickleball is far from a “new” game? Or that it was actually created and first played nearly 60 years ago? And were you aware of the surge in pickleball facilities and opportunities now available in and around Lompoc?

Put simply, there’s never been a better time to fall in love with pickleball. And soak in all the natural outdoor beauty of our region while having fun, staying fit, and connecting and competing with others.

West Coast Roots

The first documented pickleball game took place all the way back in 1965. Three vacationers on Bainbridge Island, just outside of Seattle, blended elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong to create the game. Little did they know, it would see a massive explosion in popularity and participation some 55 years later.

The social distancing restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic helped fuel that explosion in 2020—and the growth hasn’t shown any sign of slowing since. As of this writing, there are 13,391 documented pickleball courts in the United States. According to data from online pickleball authority Pickleheads, California now boasts 982 pickleball courts of its own. That accounts for 7.3 percent of the nation’s courts and ranks as the second-largest court count for any state, behind only Florida and its 1,004 pickleball courts. Interestingly, the game’s birth state of Washington ranks 12th overall with 384 courts.

Like Florida, California boasts a massive weather advantage over many other states. In trend-centric Los Angeles, The Santa Monica Tennis Center recently made headlines for a $250,000-investment in a new dedicated pickleball facility. A bit further south in Orange County, the son of world-renowned tennis coach Nick Bollettieri now runs the nation’s largest pickleball club at the Tennis Club at Newport Beach (now often referred to as The Tennis and Pickleball Club at Newport Beach). So it only makes sense that the pickleball craze is now starting to plant firm roots in the Lompoc Valley.

Pickleball Courts in Lompoc

In Lompoc, there are currently four recently constructed and dedicated pickleball courts—all available at Ryon Memorial Park, located at 800 West Ocean Avenue. The hard courts, which measure 20-by-44 feet and feature similar dimensions to badminton, are free to use and feature permanent pickleball lines—though participants are required to bring their own nets. The courts are also lit for night play and there are nearby restrooms.

Starting in November 2023, Lompoc Parks and Recreation will also offer an additional eight brand-new pickleball courts. Working closely with the fast-growing Lompoc Pickleball Club, Parks and Recreation officials are also resurfacing four existing tennis courts and adding new state-of-the-art LED lighting.

“We are very excited to be able to offer these dynamic new pickleball offerings for the Lompoc community and surrounding areas,” says Lompoc Parks and Recreation Manager Mario Guerrero Jr. “Construction of the new courts will begin in September and we’ll hold a grand opening in November, weather permitting. The Lompoc Pickleball Club has been a huge supporter and will help us conduct classes, lessons, and competitive tournaments.”

Guerrero Jr. adds that the Lompoc Pickelball Club currently oversees and facilitates pickleball activities on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., as well as on Wednesdays from 2-4:30 p.m.

“Pickleball is a sport for all ages,” explains Pickleheads co-founder Brandon Mackie. “Anyone from age 5 to 95 can play and have fun. It’s also a social activity as much as it’s a sport. It’s commonly played in an open-play format where 50 or even more players show up and rotate games and partners. You also almost always play pickleball as doubles, which leaves many opportunities to socialize and meet players.”

Minimal Investment. Major Returns.

Like golf, tennis has long been championed as a game for all seasons and phases of a person’s life. But unlike tennis and golf, you don’t need to invest large amounts of money in equipment, lessons, practice, and court or course fees to become a pickleball regular. Not at all, as it turns out.

Like a lot of gear for a lot of sports, prices can fluctuate wildly when it comes to pickleball equipment—particularly paddles. But a quick online search reveals that it’s possible to invest in an entire set, or “bundle” (including not one, but two Selkirk SLK Latitude paddles) at Costco for just $99.99. Higher-end single paddles can run more than $100 each, with some even approaching $200.

In addition to Costco, you can pick up pickleball paddles at popular retail stores like Target and Walmart. The Pickleheads site also offers an extensive gear guide with detailed looks at popular pickleball sets, paddles, shoes, and more.

Whatever level of financial investment you decide upon, you’re bound to reap rewards and returns from jumping into the game. Pickleball is far more “sociable” than the more-insular and exclusive worlds of tennis or golf. Much like with “pickup” basketball, you can even pack up your minimal pickleball gear and hit up a local court to find friendly, free, healthy competition. In fact, the “unofficial rule” of the sport is that you switch partners after each match.

“Pickleball is a sport for all ages,” explains Pickleheads co-founder Brandon Mackie. “Anyone from age 5 to 95 can play and have fun. It’s also a social activity as much as it’s a sport. It’s commonly played in an open-play format where 50 or even more players show up and rotate games and partners. You also almost always play pickleball as doubles, which leaves many opportunities to socialize and meet players.”

How to Play Pickleball

Of course, like anything in life, there’s a bit of a learning curve associated with pickleball. But for most people, it doesn’t take long to get into the groove.

“The magic of pickleball is it’s easy to learn, but hard to master,” says Mackie. “Beginners can go out their first time, learn the game, have fun, and even win a few games. But advanced players stay challenged—and keep coming back for more. This dynamic is a big reason why pickleball continues to grow like crazy.”

Mackie has put together a nice online rundown of rules and scoring in pickleball on the Pickleheads site. Unlike tennis, where evolutions in racket technology helped power a new era of heavy-hitting, baseline-bond players, pickleball retains a high degree of value on a “softer touch” and deft skills around the net. In fact, pickleball players who excel around the 36-inch-high net (34 inches at its center) have a major advantage, as they’re allowed to strike balls in this area with a downward “smash” motion—an aggressive shot that’s quite tough to defend and return.

The scoring is more straightforward than tennis, too. Whoever reaches 11 points first—provided they are at least two points ahead of their opponent—wins the game. Like in tennis, the serving player announces the score each time. Unlike tennis, the serve must be underhand—and you can only notch a point when you’re serving. The score is comprised of three numbers, with the first two numbers detailing the serving team’s score and the receiving team’s score (in that respective order). The third number represents either server one or two. The team that serves first gets just one serve—and that server refers to him or herself as server two.

A shot hit out of the air is known as a “volley” and there’s even an area on the court called “the kitchen” which serves as a “non-volley zone.” We recommend you spend some time perusing the 9 Simple Rules for Beginners and watching the Virtual Video Clinic over on the Pickleheads site.

Oh, and whenever and wherever you do end up playing pickleball, be sure to follow the most important rule of all:

Have fun out there! 


9 Simple Pickleball Rules for Beginners

Pickleball Court Finder Database

Free Virtual Video Clinic

Pickleball Sets and Gear Guide


Lompoc: 4 outdoor courts at Ryon Memorial Park


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