Club spearheaded efforts to create a permanent home for fast-growing sport


Pickleball aficionados toss plastic balls into the air during a recent groundbreaking ceremony at the Morgan Hill Community Park. Photo courtesy Susan Brazelton


By Calvin Nuttall

The rhythmic popping sounds of pickleball will soon reverberate regularly across Morgan Hill Community Park as construction begins on the city’s first dedicated pickleball courts.

To meet rising demand for the fast-growing sport, a group of local enthusiasts encouraged the city to create the courts over several years.

Tim Hendrick, president of the Morgan Hill Pickleball Club, spoke proudly of their efforts to open the new courts at the groundbreaking ceremony Jan. 5. Morgan Hill Mayor Mark Turner and other city officials attended the event as well as numerous fans of the sport.

Pickleball enthusiasts play on makeshift courts on basketball court at Morgan Hill Community Park. Photo courtesy Susan Brazelton

“The city has been phenomenal in working with the public to make this all happen,” Hendrick said. “It’s really been a great opportunity.”

He thanked several key members of the Morgan Hill Pickleball Club who were vital in bringing the project to fruition, including Sherry Hemingway, Leo Kirshon, and George Witzel.

“About a year and a half ago, they all said, ‘We have to make this grow,’” Hendrick said. “‘We’ve got to get together with the city and make this happen.’ And now, the courts are coming. They’ve taken a while to get here, but we’re really happy. It’s a big deal to finally have this happening here, and what an incredible location to have it.”


Click here to read the history of how pickleball started


Though pickleball has existed since 1965, its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years from relative obscurity — it is now the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. for the third year in a row. The Morgan Hill Pickleball Club’s ranks have swelled to more than 100 members, with new players picking up the sport.

“Pickleball players say it’s not an addiction, it’s an allegiance,” Turner said at the groundbreaking. “The thing about pickleball that I think is such an attraction to so many people is that it is easily picked up. You can learn it quickly, it creates camaraderie, people come together. There is a social aspect that you can participate in. People don’t walk away angry at one another. You walk away as friends.”

Pickleball’s rapid growth has often been attributed to its ease of learning and relatively low intensity, making the sport widely accessible to newcomers of all stripes.

“I think that is what makes pickleball so appealing, that any age group can participate,” Turner said. “It’s a great sport to be involved in. There are 10,000 locations across the nation, and this is now one of them, one that we are expanding to enable more pickleball players to be involved. We are excited to be out here today to be able to do that for this community.”

Pickleball enthusiasts play on makeshift courts on basketball court at Morgan Hill Community Park. Photo courtesy Susan Brazelton

The city has hired EF&S Concrete to construct the four new pickleball courts at the park next to the existing basketball courts, which pickleball players had been temporarily sharing with basketball players in the meantime.

“Only a year ago, Morgan Hill had no public outdoor pickleball courts,” Hendrick said in a press release. “Now, the sport has skyrocketed. Morgan Hill loves its pickleball! The city’s four new, professional-quality courts will make play safer, reduce congestion, and certainly make the game more enjoyable.”

Everyone is welcome at these pickleball courts, whether they are novices or experts, he said.

“It is a sport you can pick up in a half hour,” he said. “Then you can join us in spending the rest of our lives getting really good.”

Construction is expected to be completed in four months, depending on weather. Once finished, the pickleball courts will be free and open to the public during most hours, with some hours limited for scheduled use by the Morgan Hill Pickleball Club. Those interested in learning more about the new courts or joining the club should visit

Calvin Nuttall is a Morgan Hill-based freelance reporter and columnist.