The Story of Pickleball
Pickleball is a comparatively new sport with quite a remarkable story behind it. It was invented in 1965 by a married couple on Bainbridge Island in Washington. Joan and Joel Pritchard, and their friends Barney McCallum and Bill Bell, were all trying to come up with a ball game to amuse their children in the Pritchards’ backyard.
After some experimentation on the badminton court, the friends—with help from their kids—came up with the ideal ball and racquet, the height of the net, and the size of the court. They also began refining the rules. From such ordinary beginnings, pickleball has spread so much that there are now estimated to be close to five million players in the United States. Pickleball was also made the state sport of Washington in 2002, less than forty years after its invention.
Playing Pickleball in Denver, CO
Denver is an excellent choice for the keen pickleball player (and for outdoor pursuits in general) as the Metro area gets almost 300 days of sunshine each year. It’s true that there are spells of severe and snowy weather in winter, but days of snow are often followed by warm and sunny days when the snow quickly melts. In that respect, the area avoids some of the downsides of other popular states for retirees, such as Arizona, with its fierce summer heat, and Florida, with its humidity and hurricanes.
While many of Denver’s parks have public pickleball courts, and Colorado Springs recently opened the state’s largest indoor pickleball facility, with eight courts and a practice area, you can’t beat having a choice of pickleball courts right on your doorstep. Here are the 55+ communities near Denver, Colorado, which have their own pickleball courts. Most of them also have active pickleball groups.
Mid $600s - Mid $1Ms
Anthem Ranch is in Broomfield, a 30-minute drive due north of Downtown Denver. The pickleball facilities include four courts for this 55+ community of 1,300 single-family homes. Anthem Ranch is a 15-minute drive from the center of Broomfield, a city of about 75,000 people midway between Denver and Boulder.
Other outdoor amenities in addition to pickleball include courts for tennis, bocce, and shuffleboard; a softball field; 48 miles of hiking and biking trails; fishing lakes; an amphitheater; and a resort-style pool and whirlpool spa. Indoors, there’s also a lap pool, a walking track, a ballroom, a coffee bar, a library, a craft room, a fitness center, and an aerobics and dance studio.
Residents can join in the numerous clubs and other activities in this very active community. Options include skiing, yoga, several card and board game groups, craft groups, golf, gardening, billiards, fitness, dancing, and of course, a pickleball group.
There are 24 home models in all, with the smallest being 1,200 square feet. These homes have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage. The largest homes offer 2,875 square feet with two bedrooms, a den, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and a three-car garage.
High $600s - Mid $1Ms
Hilltop at Inspiration is a 25-minute drive from the center of Aurora, 30 minutes from Denver International Airport, and 35 minutes from Downtown Denver. Pickleball courts are among the amenities offered by this 55+ community of 1,650 single-family homes. Aurora is a city of just under 400,000 people, and it has around 100 parks, six award-winning public golf courses, and many more private courses.
As well as pickleball, outdoor amenities include tennis and bocce courts, a pool, hiking and biking trails, and a lawn where community events are held. Indoors, there’s another pool, a fitness center, a cafe, an aerobics studio, a ballroom, and a library.
There are plenty of clubs, activities, and classes for Hilltop at Inspiration residents to enjoy, including tennis, soccer, swimming, hockey, hiking, biking, barbecues, and other community events.
There are 34 good-sized home models in this community, with even the smallest providing 1,694 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage. The largest homes are the Montana-Boulder collection, and these have 2,897 square feet, two bedrooms, a den, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and a three-car garage.
Low $500s - High $600s
Fairway Villas at Green Valley Ranch is the only one of these four pickleball communities to be located in Denver itself, a 35-minute drive northeast of downtown. It’s a smaller 55+ community of just 220 single-family homes, but it does have its own pickleball courts.
Other outdoor amenities include a pool with a sundeck, an outdoor kitchen area with a dining terrace, hiking and biking trails, a scenic pond, a park, and bocce courts. The groups and activities available to residents include bocce, golf, a book club, poker, Pilates, potluck dinners, and holiday parties.
There are 17 home models, but each one has a choice of configurations. The smallest starts at 1,413 square feet with one bedroom, a den, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage. The roomiest homes have 3,840 square feet, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a two-car garage.
Low $600s - High $900s
Skyestone, like Anthem Ranch, is also in the city of Broomfield, on the edge of the 5,237-acre Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge yet only a 30-minute drive from Downtown Denver. Pickleball courts are among the amenities available to residents of this 55+ active adult community with 532 single-family homes.
Other outdoor amenities include a pool and whirlpool spa, a lawn for events, hiking and biking trails, and a community garden. Indoor options include a fitness center, an exercise room, billiards, and a library.
The community has eight home models, with the smallest offering 1,584 square feet. These have two or three bedrooms, a den, two or three bathrooms, and a two-car garage. The largest models have 2,858 square feet with three to five bedrooms, a den, three to four bathrooms, and a three-car garage.