Local Athletics

Published on April 6th, 2023 | by TLV News


The Pickleball Craze Comes to Oxford

Pickleball, the sport that’s taking America by storm, is growing here in Oxford. There are numerous places to play here, and there’s even an Oxford Pickleball Association. If you haven’t played yet, get out there and give it a go, you won’t regret it!

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball is an addictively-fun game which mixes elements of ping-pong, tennis and badminton. It’s played on a court about a third the size of a tennis court, usually in a doubles format . This makes for a lot less running around than most racquet sports, and is part of the reason that pickleball is so appealing. The other attraction is how easy it is to learn to play.

Almost anyone of any age can play pickleball and enjoy it. You don’t have to be athletic or particularly quick on your feet and pickleball is famed for its sociable, fun-loving atmosphere. Which is why it suits Oxford down to the ground, and explains why so many L-O-U residents have joined the 36.5 million Americans who played Pickleball last year. 

Where To Play Pickleball in Oxford

There are over 11,000 places to play pickleball listed on the largest court finder website, Pickleheads. With popularity for the sport increasing year on year, and Major League Pickleball airing on our TVs, you’ll be sure to find a pickleball court near you without too much trouble.

Here are some that we’ve picked in and around the town. 

Popular Public Courts

The following public courts are managed by the Oxford Park Commission which hosts indoor and outdoor pickleball tournaments throughout the year. See their website for information. 

Oxford Activity Center

The Oxford Activity Center on Price Street offers 6 indoor, climate-controlled pickleball courts. Pickleball is played here 7 days a week, and sessions are open to the public for free.There are restrooms on site and plenty of space in the parking lots. 

Open play sessions run Monday through Thursday from 5:30 pm to 8 pm, and Saturday mornings from 9 am to noon. These sessions are ideal for beginners to try out the sport, and there are paddles and balls available for use. 

Coach Howell Center

The Ulysses “Coach” Howell Center is a $12 million multi-sports facility that opened in 2019. Here, the state-of-the-art courts can be used for basketball, volleyball and any other number of sports, including pickleball.  

There are 6 rubberized courts, with drinking water and restrooms available. Open play pickleball runs Monday through Saturday 9 am to noon, and court time is on a first come, first serve basis. Balls are provided for use during these sessions, and there are some paddles available; but participants are encouraged to bring their own. 

Popular Private Courts

Goose Creek Club

Set on 17 acres of scenic forest, Goose Creek offers a wide range of sporting facilities including a swimming pool, fitness center, and 3 outdoor pickleball courts. This facility offers unique extras like childcare, shower, and locker rooms and the Center Court Bar and Grill, where you can refresh and refuel after a hard session on the courts

Limited memberships are available on multiple levels, and guests are welcome when accompanied by a member, having paid a $15 fee. 

The Farmstead

The Farmstead on Woodson Ridge is a rural oasis that offers a wedding venue, rental cottages and cookery school, as well as a pickleball player’s paradise. 

With two pickleball courts built directly beside the lake, and a convenient pergola with seating for breaks between matches, there aren’t many more scenic places where you could play pickleball. 

The Farmstead even offers 2-3 day pickleball packages which include lodging in their gorgeous lakeside cottages, pickleball lessons, meals, and unlimited play. 

The Country Club of Oxford

This members-only club is a luxurious estate offering everything you would expect from a country club — a golf course, swimming pools, fitness centers, and, of course, tennis, and pickleball courts. 

Various memberships are available for the club, including a sports and social membership that gets you access to the pickleball courts as well as the clubhouse and all its facilities. Every Saturday, the club hosts an all-levels pickleball clinic from 9-10 am, for $15 per person. 

New Court Openings Planned

Avent Park

There are already several outdoor pickleball courts open to the public for free at Avent Park. These are open 7 days of week on a first come, first serve basis. The good news is that the city is now looking at a proposal to create a whole new dedicated pickleball court facility using the existing 12 tennis courts. Watch this space!

With so many great places to play pickleball in Oxford, you have no excuse not to join in the fun. And once you do, you might just be hooked.

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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