Is Pickleball The New Golf?

Is Pickleball The New Golf?

Pickleball has been gaining traction among outdoor sport enthusiasts of all ages over the past few years. This hybrid of tennis, badminton, and ping pong has been rapidly growing in popularity in the US and globally, sparking a debate among leisure sport players: Is pickleball the new golf?

First, let’s look at the numbers:


  •   There are an estimated 36.5 million pickleball players in the United States according to the Association of Pickleball Professionals compared to 25 million golfers (pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America for the past three years)
  •   Pickleball participation has grown an average of 223.5% over the last 3 years according to the SFIA whereas 3.2 million Americans played golf for the first time in 2021 alone
  •   There are currently 13,969 pickleball courts in the United States compared to 16,000 golf courses in the US
  •   The pickleball paddle market size was estimated at $152.8 million in 2021 and was forecasted to grow at 7.7% CAGR through 2028 whereas The U.S. golf course industry market size is $26.1 billion as of 2022


Pickleball and golf share some similarities. They are both outdoor recreational sports that can be enjoyed with groups of four friends or colleagues. However, the comparisons between the two diverge significantly when considering factors such as accessibility, time commitment, and physical activity.

One of the main arguments in favor of pickleball as the new golf is its accessibility. While golf requires access to a golf course, which can often be expensive and exclusive, pickleball courts are relatively easy to find and can be set up in community centers, parks, or even in one's own backyard. This accessibility makes pickleball more inclusive and appealing to a wider range of individuals.

Another point of comparison is the time commitment required for each sport. Golf is notorious for its lengthy games, which can take up to five hours or more to complete a round cutting significantly into your weekend Honey Do list. In contrast, pickleball games are typically much shorter, with matches lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. This makes pickleball a more time-efficient option for those with busy schedules who still want to enjoy a recreational activity with friends.

Furthermore, pickleball typically offers a more dynamic workout compared to golf unless you run from hole to hole. Pickleball requires constant movement, agility, and quick reflexes whereas golfers must engage their brain in strategic thinking and deep concentration in order to get the 327 perfectly choreographed movements in the right order. The fast-paced nature of pickleball makes it a great cardiovascular workout and helps improve balance, coordination, and endurance whereas playing a round of golf can increase relaxation, mindfulness, and presence.

That being said, golf still holds its own appeal for many individuals, including this one. It offers a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience, a chance to enjoy nature and the sun, and the opportunity for socializing in a beautiful setting. For some, the slower pace of golf is part of its allure, allowing for time to connect and socialize on the course. And let’s not forget the fact that one can enjoy a cold, frothy beverage in a much more socially acceptable manner on the course as opposed to on a pickleball court which is highly inadvisable.

If this post sounds as if it leans more favorably towards pickleball, it doesn’t. It leans evenly towards both as these sports are wildly different and equally enjoyable (for different reasons). If you ask me, they are complementary activities that appeal to the same individual and personally, I love the fast action and cardio workout from pickleball as well as the focus and grace of golf. So get outside and get your PickleByrd on!

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