NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — A demand for more places to play the popular sport pickleball is in front of Narragansett’s Town Council for consideration, with up to eight new courts to host games.
Council President Pro Tem Susan Cicilline Buonanno, who sits on the Recreation Advisory Board, said the board had received numerous requests from pickleball enthusiasts who want more places to play the game in town. No locations or costs are set yet, she said.
“We’ve heard visitors and residents like the game,” she said. “It’s an up and coming game and people seem to like it.”
The council voted Monday to direct Parks and Recreation Director Michelle Kershaw to research additional locations and costs for more courts.
Kershaw said adding courts to the existing pickleball courts at Clark Road is problematic.
“It’s just basically a paint job,” of the old tennis courts, she said. “That whole particular area would have to be dug up and I don’t think it’s cost effective.”
The town spent about $62,000 three years ago to make the tennis court into a pickleball court. Kershaw said she’s researching an additional four to eight courts, perhaps in the north end of town.
Council President Jesse Pugh said the desire for more pickleball courts should not trump other recreational needs in town, such as improved playgrounds and a skate park.
“It’s obviously been a success, but we do have other needs in town. It’s just research and that’s fine, but we don’t want to undercut our other needs,” Pugh said.
Invented in the 1960s as a children’s backyard game, pickleball is a paddleball sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis.
“It is a growing sport,” Kershaw said.
Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, much like a wiffle ball, over a net.
The sport shares features of other racket sports: the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules somewhat similar to tennis, with several modifications.
There are thousands of pickleball tournaments nationwide, as well as numerous international championships.