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Guelph pickleball players plea for more courts


The sport of pickleball has gained a lot of popularity over the last several years, but in the City of Guelph there’s so much interest, that finding a spot to play has become quite tricky.

“We have to kind of fight for space,” said Elden Morais, who is on the board of directors for the Pickleball Guelph Association (PGA).

Members from that group say there aren’t nearly enough spots to meet the demand.

At Margaret Greene Park, city staff have added dedicated pickleball lines within the tennis courts. But players say that mashup creates a bit of a pickle within itself.

“In pickleball, we’re looking at about a 34-inch height. Tennis – a 36-inch height. So a smart pickleball player is always carrying a wrench to lower the nets,” said Cheryl Diefenbacher, PGA founding director.

Cheryl Diefenbacher and Elden Morais are members of the Guelph Pickleball Assocation. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV News)

The players say the lines act as a visual distractionduring the game as well.  

Their main focus though is on bringing dedicated pickleball courts to the city.

“Four courts are presently behind us,” said Diefenbacher, holding up a rendering of a possible solution. “By taking the present four courts here, we could create five dedicated pickleball courts.”

A rendering from the Guelph Pickleball Association showing how they'd like to see Margaret Greene Park transformed. (Source: Cheryl Diefenbacher)

Over 160 people on waitlist

Over at the Evergreen Seniors Community Centre, the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association (GWSA) is echoing the same concerns.

“We have about 160 people on a waitlist and some have been on that waitlist for up to two years,” said Pat Gage, GWSA president.

Pat Gage from the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association says they have a pickleball waitlist because there aren't enough courts. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV News)

With no additional space for new players to join, many have had to sit on the sidelines.

The City of Guelph recognizes the increased demand and over the past five years had added pickleball lines to 17 existing tennis courts to try and catchup with the demand.

In an emailed statement to CTV News, the city’s parks general manager Gene Matthews says staff are exploring opportunities to convert a shared court or two to specific pickleball use to help meet playability needs.

“From the indoor lens – South End Community Centre, opening in fall of 2026, will have two gymnasiums, that will be multi-lined to include pickleball,” Matthews said in part.

Longer-term, Matthews said as part of their parks and recreation master plan, they are considering building 11 new hybrid tennis-pickleball courts.

“GWSA is going to be right in there like dirty shirts saying ‘we want some space please,’” said Gage.

It’s encouraging for people like Morais who says those courts won’t sit empty.

“Then 20 or so people would not just be on the side waiting,” he said, pointing to pickleball players standing around the courtWednesday.

As founding director of the PGA, Diefenbacher is waiting anxiously for the necessary changes to come to Guelph. But she is encouraged that city staff are hearing their concerns.

“Pickleball players are dreamers. And you have to dream big.” Top Stories

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