The Great Pickleball Noise War

I was an adult when I started playing tennis seriously,  but try as I might to ratchet up my game I seemed to have plateaued at intermediate level 3.   I was too good to enjoy playing with beginners,  and not good enough to play with advanced players who certainly didn’t want to play with me.   So my tennis life was not a happy one.

Then I discovered pickleball,  the relatively new racket sport that’s all the rage.  Once I started playing I found I was much better at it than tennis,  and I found it much more fun!  (See Pickled!)

We spend half our time in a community that has both indoor and outdoor pickleball courts,  and so for the past several years I’ve been playing all year round.   Of course when the weather permits,  playing outdoors is undeniably preferable,  and recently with summer approaching we were all eagerly waiting to get back outside.  But then the infamous pickleball noise battle began!

As you may know pickleball is played with paddles and whiffle balls.   And when paddle and ball make contact the loud  “whack”  is actually music to our ears,  but apparently for those who live within earshot of the courts the constant whacking sound can be disturbing.

In fact in many towns and communities the fight over pickleball noise has led to litigation,  and in some cases the pickleball courts have been closed and the sport banned.

Sad to say that has now happened on my turf.  Our lovely tree-lined pickleball courts have been shuttered until further notice,  and in frustration we write angry letters,  sign endless petitions,  and argue with our neighbors at loud and contentious town meetings.

And while we anxiously await a resolution to the great pickleball noise war,  out on those empty pickleball courts the silence is deafening.

– Dana Susan Lehrman


  • OUCH……very difficult situation. On the one hand…all those passionate pickleball players who can’t wait to get out on the court. On the other hand….those forced to listen to that “whack” for many hours each day. As a person very sensitive to sound pollution, I would not be able to live with that constant sound. Yes, I have read that there are legal issues because “unreasonable sound intrusion” violates your privacy in your home. Perhaps the only solution is to move the courts to areas that do not abut homes. That takes time and money; I can see both sides of the dilemma.

    • Yes Ellen you see both sides of the issue clearly. We are waiting some resolution and the possibility of relocating the courts.
      Hoping for a solution!

  • A great essay.! Both sides have merit. And what about trading places with the gardening area. This is such a great healthy activity I think the community administration should be able to solve this.

    • Thanx Paula, yes both sides have merits, and the garden area was considered and rejected as a location for new courts – too great an expense. However some compromise may be in the works – here’s hoping!

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