TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -If you’re looking for a new hobby to pick up this may be your perfect match. Pickleball is booming in southern Arizona and the city of Tucson is trying to keep up.
“I was playing senior Olympic badminton there was a couple there I was asking them if they were going to play in the tournament they said no we play pickleball,” said Cindy Lutz, president of Tucson Area Pickleball. “Like everybody says, what is that. I said what is it.”
If you don’t know what pickleball is, yore not alone. It’s played on a badminton-sized court with paddles, and a ball that resembles a whiffle ball — the rules are most similar to tennis.
“It’s a little mix of everything,” said Bob Lutz, a member of Tucson Area Pickleball. “It’s amazing how it’s taken off.”
According to USA Pickleball, there are over 3 million people ranging in age from 6 to 86 who play in across the country. That number is growing rapidly, up nearly 30 percent in the last three years.
Cindy and Bob Lutz are pickleball pioneers in Tucson. Cindy runs a Facebook page for local pickleball players and Bob teaches private lessons. Together their backyard is pickleball paradise.
But, the two noticed a problem in 2016 — Tucson didn’t have any free, public pickleball courts.
“I started with the mayor, I told him you know were so far behind,” Cindy said.
Lutz said most other similarly sized cities already had courts.
“He pushed me on to the city parks so, I have talked to three different directors now throughout the years,” Cindy said.
Cindy and her club’s hard work paid off.
“We just persevered, we went and talked to council members we talked to whoever would listen to us,” Cindy said. “We’re finally, after years, going to get public outdoor courts at Udall public rec center.”
For more information on pickleball in Tucson, click here. To get involved in pickleball in southern Arizona, check out Cindy’s Facebook Group “Tucson Pickleball Buddies.”