Pickleball is often touted as the fastest growing sport in the nation, and the scene at Primrose Park in Driggs on a sunny Thursday morning bears that statistic out. Three courts are in play and ten or so spectators await their turn in the shade along the bike path.
“We get pretty good crowds, from all walks of life,” said Ray Williams, pointing out a retired tennis instructor here, a veteran there. Williams and his wife Ann are the Teton County Pickleball Ambassadors for USA Pickleball, volunteers who have pledged to promote the sport locally. “We’re determined to build the sport here. It’s a great game for anyone.”
Pickleball is the lovechild of tennis and ping pong, with paddles instead of rackets and larger, slower Wiffle balls being volleyed across a smaller court. These changes make the game more approachable for beginners and seniors, while retaining the aerobic challenges of racket sports.
Teton Valley Pickleball was founded by a core group of players in 2017 and has seen growth in membership every year. Currently games are held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Thursday and Saturday mornings from 9 to 11 a.m. Temporary courts are laid out on the road next to the new Primrose Park outside of Tributary in Driggs; permanent courts are a future goal of TVP as well as the City of Driggs.
“We’re just a bunch of people who want to have fun and socialize,” Williams said. “Some people have been playing for a long time and some are brand new, but they’re catching on so fast.”
Adults of all skill levels are welcome, and there is loaner equipment available for players who don’t have their own paddles. Contact Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (310) 951-5998 for more information, or just show up and watch a few sets—you’ll probably find a spectator happy to share some tips.