You’re building a Pickleball club, and you want the most attractive court setup for building a loyal player base. Do you build indoor courts? Outdoor courts? Covered courts? Or some combination of the above. Well, it depends….but I’ve got a preference — you can skip to the end here and find out what it is.
Ok there is no question that playing outdoors, on a beautiful day, when the sun is at the correct angle, when there is no wind, when the temperature is 60-80 degrees, when the courts are dry and when there is no smoke in the air….is an awesome experience. Unfortunately, as a business owner, you have zero control over any of those factors.
The most beatiful outdoor pickleball courts I ever played on were in Princeville on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Guess what, Princeville gets over 90 days of rain per year….if those courts were a business, at least 25% of the available court time would be eaten up by weather.
No, you cannot replicate the outdoor experience indoors, but you can create consistent, predictable, high-quality court conditions 365 days a year. You may lose some perfect-weather business to outside courts nearby, but there is a core of players who crave the regularity you can create with indoor courts. Indoor courts have a different financial profile in terms of build out and maintenance but at the end of the day, you control the experience.
A middle ground, if your real estate permits, would be covered courts or courts with movable side-walls or curtains. This allows some play during bad weather, but also allows the fresh air experience under a roof in certain conditions.
The reality for most club starters, is that this decision will be driven by the real estate available in the area you are considering. That said, your core court strategy should be a solid base of indoor courts (or hybrid courts if they can be closed and climate controlled) that allow consistent, year-round play. If real estate permits you to supplement this with some outdoor courts, all the better. The better climate you live in, the more helpful outdoor options might be, but
I believe this ‘primarily indoor’ approach makes sense in virtually every region of the country. MORE IMPORTANT THAN INDOOR VS OUTDOOR COURTS is the community, programming and vibe you create at your club.
Pickleball Business Advisors is brothers Bill and John Pryor. We provide a variety of consulting services based on extensive experience in fitness business development, and research into the fast growing pickleball marketplace. To initiate a feasibility assessment for your pickleball club, or for other consulting, contact us so we can learn about your project.