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Cost of Playing Pickleball for Newcomers (Is It Expensive?)

Pickleball is an amazing sport that is played by both the young and old. It is also among the fastest-growing racquet sports in the US. The game is played with a perforated plastic ball and a pair of paddles on a court about a third the size of a tennis court. Just like most racket sports, Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles. 

But a major concern, especially among those new to the game, is that they don’t know how much it costs to play Pickleball. 

The cost to play Pickleball depends on how expensive you want it to be. On average, you need a paddle, a ball, and a pair of shoes to play the sport. So, how you acquire these things will influence the cost of the game. 

The Cost of Playing Pickleball is Flexible 

Basically, the sport is very flexible, so it is possible to spend $700 on the sport or nearly nothing. Obviously, if you are serious about the game, expect to spend money on it. The setup you choose will guide you on how much you want to spend on the sport. 

There are setups from beginner to advanced setups. If you are a beginner, you may not need to go crazy, yet. 

Generally, Pickleball is an affordable sport. As mentioned earlier, you only need basic requirements, which you can get cheaply depending on the quality of these items. It is nowhere near the cost of some sports such as golf.

Sustaining Pickleball can be equally inexpensive. Once you have acquired the equipment, you don’t have to spend much to play the sport.

Playing Pickleball With Little or No Money

On the lower level, you can actually play the sport with almost nothing. You may be wondering if what you just read is possible. If you are coming from other similar racket sports such as badminton or tennis, you probably have good shoes for the sport. Here, you will only need to invest in a paddle. 

If you don’t have the money to spend on a paddle, you can borrow from a friend, or just hang around an open play location and you won’t miss someone who can lend you the paddle. Some clubs might let you borrow or rent a paddle. 

Places such as recreational centers and churches will most likely have cheap paddles. This is an ideal option for someone who is still testing the waters and doesn’t want to invest heavily in the sport yet. If you are in this situation, you can give it a shot by trying a few games. But if you plan to play the sport for the long haul, then you will eventually want to invest in good equipment. 

A Breakdown of the Cost of Playing Pickleball 

So far, we have covered the necessary; let’s now talk dollars. To help us understand the cost in figures, let us look at the major requirements to play the sport. If you are just starting, you will probably spend between $50 to $300. 

This cost will depend on whether you have a paddle and shoes. If you have none of these items, then you will need to set aside something close to the upper figure. 

Pickleball Paddle 

This is the main tool of trade, so if you were to go overboard with anything, then that would probably be a Pickleball paddle. You may not get the right paddle from the start. Sometimes, players may change or upgrade their paddles more than three times throughout the time they are playing the game. That being said, that is not always the case. 

The cost of Pickleball paddles varies depending on the quality. On the lower level, you will find reliable manufacturers selling paddles at around $50. On the other hand, high-end paddles may cost you around $180. 

As mentioned above, you don’t have to get the right paddle from the start, so if you are a beginner, you can start with a cheaper one and then upgrade when you are sure you like the sport. 

If you love the game and look forward to playing regularly, you can invest in a more expensive paddle. This way, you may not need to upgrade the paddle as you become a hard-core player.  

Shoes 

As for your shoes, you can start off with what you normally use in other racket games. If you are completely new to these games and don’t have the right shoes, you can still get yourself a decent pair for around $50. But, if you are in it for the long haul, it is better to chuck a few more coins for a better quality pair. 

The shoes you can use for this game are court or tennis shoes. Court shoes are sturdy shoes that are designed for hard surface use, like a gymnasium floor. While you may wear tennis shoes in a gymnasium, court shoes are usually the best. 

If you are in an area with low wind and great weather, there is a likelihood that you will play most of the time outdoors. For that reason, you may need to invest in good quality tennis shoes. 

But, if you will play in an area where the weather is a bit harsh on you, then you will most likely play mostly in a gymnasium. In that case, buying court shoes is a better option. 

Besides shoes and a paddle, there is the question of upkeep. Contrary to what many people may believe, the cost of upkeep is not that expensive.

Court Costs

Reserving a court is something you can do at a minimal cost. In some cases, you can even play for free.

For instance, if you play a Pickleball game in a church or a recreation center, you are more likely to spend less money. A church, for instance, may only ask for a small donation to maintain the courts and replace balls. 

If you are playing 2 – 3 times a week, you may need to spend about between $10 – $30 an hour for a court. That’s going to depend on where you live. Some recreational centers charge even less than this figure. In short, court reservation is not something to worry about. 

If you are looking to play regularly, you can register at a local club. These clubs usually offer discounts to members. Court rental fees will depend on the club and the location. Moreover, these clubs can let you play indoors or outdoors, depending on the season. 

Maintaining or Changing Paddles

Once you are through with upfront costs, you will need to spend little money to maintain the equipment. Most Pickleball paddles are durable. Unlike shoes, they don’t wear down that fast. Unless you bought a substandard paddle, you would be less likely to replace it. 

The only time you may think of replacing them is when you are upgrading to a better paddle. You can test different paddles until you get the best fit. Sure, it would be fun to try different paddles, but this doesn’t mean you have to buy one every time you want to test a paddle. There are other cheaper options. 

For instance, you can test what others are already using; perhaps, exchange your paddles with a friend. There is even a better way. If you don’t like something you bought, most retailers will allow you to return the product. Some companies or clubs will even let you try a demo until you find what you like. 

Depending on what you began with, you may only replace your paddles 2 to 3 times throughout your career.

Replacing Your Shoes

Generally, shoes don’t last forever. You will need to replace them at some point. On average, you will replace your shoes every 6 months – 12 months, depending on how often you play and the quality of the shoes. 

Using a Tennis Court to Play Pickleball

The ASBA/USAPA guide has a section dedicated to converting tennis courts to Pickleball courts. Sometimes, the process can be just as simple as painting the existing tennis court, marking the boundaries, and getting the nets. With this option, you can still use your court for both Pickleball and tennis.

Keep in mind that the USAPA recommends converting your existing tennis courts to no more than two Pickleball courts. 

Another option is to just lower the tennis net. You can use the center strap to bring down the net to the required height (34 inches in the middle). Then paint extra lines on the court to accommodate for Pickleball.

In Closing 

Hopefully, this guide will help you understand how much it costs to play Pickleball and, most importantly, help you decide to play Pickleball. As you can see, it is relatively inexpensive to get started. There are many amazing things about this sport. It is engaging, fun, and a good way to exercise.