Venture out to Rumsey Park just about any evening and you’ll see why pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country.
It’s attracting people of all ages.
The game’s popularity made converting one of the park’s four tennis courts into four new dedicated pickleball courts an easy decision for the Town of Payson. The new courts increased the number of courts from two to six.
Pickleball is played on a court about one-quarter the size of a tennis court and is popular with both older and younger people.
The conversion leaves three tennis courts in the park. The town has resurfaced all the courts with a new acrylic coating and striping. Work is expected to wrap up by the end of this week. Crews have left at least one tennis court open during the project.
The town has also resurfaced the basketball court in the park.
“We’re converting the old asphalt court to a post-tensioned concrete based with acrylic sport crack-free surface,” said Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Courtney Spawn. “These projects were definitely needed and overdue and will provide a more consistent, crack-free surface for users.”
She said the plan to convert one tennis court into four dedicated pickleball courts has been in the works for a while.
“The addition of pickleball courts was approved a few budget seasons ago, but when potential master planning efforts were being discussed for Rumsey Park, the project was put on hold. It was approved to be completed this fiscal year.”
The sport has been especially appealing to seniors. “I’m too old for tennis,” said Allan Polenick, 72, of Pine, who played with his wife and two other family members Wednesday night. “Tennis is kind of long and drawn out and you spend a lot of time running. This is a faster, quicker game.”
They played on the more secluded older court because they sought the shade from nearby trees on a sunny afternoon. They’re happy that the number of courts has tripled.
“The new courts will be great,” said Allan’s wife Cynde. “Dedicated courts are wonderful.”
Increasing from two to six courts eases much of the waiting players sometimes endure to get on the court.
“They’ve been having a lot of crowding because these are the only two courts,” Cynde said. “So, they’re going to be really thrilled to have more courts.”
Payson couple Jaime Chandler and Daniel Todd played on the new courts for the first time on May 13. They made an afternoon of it, riding their bicycles from their home in Payson to the trail in Rumsey Park before playing singles pickleball on one of the new courts.
“I’m impressed,” Chandler said. “I’m psyched that they added four more courts.”
“Yeah, it was pretty congested up there,” Todd said of the two existing courts.
They had been making weekly visits to the park but usually play pickleball on the tennis courts. Now, they can play on the new courts.
“Usually, we just play by ourselves,” Chandler said.
“We’d just go to the tennis courts and knock it around,” Todd said. “We didn’t want to interrupt anybody’s game. They’re doing couples.”
“Yeah, they’re doing it the right way,” Chandler said. “It’s a couple’s game. So we’re renegades.”
They, too, like that you don’t run as much in pickleball as you do in tennis.
“Tennis courts are massive, so you have all the running,” Chandler said. “I played tennis in high school but this cuts the court in half, so it’s more fun. It’s like a large ping pong court.”
“Especially with partners, you’re kind of just right there,” Todd said. “There’s not as much cardio but there is more hand-eye (coordination required) and more people get into that.”
The area features one more pickleball court at Ronnie and Diane McDaniel Community Park in Star Valley.