IBM computer scientist builds a tool to map pickleball tournaments

PickleballTournamentsMap.com helps pickleball players find courts, clubs, tournaments and coaches.

John Vergo had a problem that many competitive pickleball players have: finding nearby tournaments.

It’s not that there aren’t local tournaments. There are plenty, but the amateur tournaments are listed on numerous sites around the web like Pickleball Brackets, Pickleball Tournaments, YMCA websites or a pickleball club’s Facebook page.

Vergo was frustrated with the search functions on the big sites. Even when he zeroed in on one state, it could be a long list of tournaments in unfamiliar towns. He would cut and paste the addresses into Google Maps to see if the tournament was nearby.

“I started keeping a Google spreadsheet to track and manage all of this,” Vergo said in an interview with Pickleball518. “And I thought there had to be a better way. So I put my fingers to my keyboard. What we’ll talk about today is the result.”

RELATED:

Vergo is a retired IBM computer scientist who specialized in data visualization, artificial intelligence and usability. He had the unique skills to solve his pickleball problem.

Vergo built PickleballTournamentsMap.com, an automated computer system that searches the internet everyday for tournaments and places each tournament on a map. Pickleball players can sign up for free notifications that alert them when a new, local tournament appears.

The email notifications even tell players how long a drive the tournament is from their home.

His map also shows the location of 10,000 courts and venues, has contact information for thousands of pickleball ambassadors and he is adding pickleball instructors to the map.

“I wanted to make it super easy to do all the most common tasks that are out there,” he said.

Vergo lives in Peekskill, N.Y., in Westchester County. He started playing pickleball about five years ago and was immediately hooked.

“I just love the game, I love the social aspect of it, and I love the competition,” he said. “I’ve always been a competitive athlete in a variety of sports over the course of my life, and pickleball is just so much fun.”

PickleballTournamentsMap is Vergo’s way of giving back to the game he loves so much. It is free to use the site and tournament directors can list their events on his map for free, which is a deal since getting listed on major sites like Pickleball Tournaments can cost organizers $500.

“One of the nice pieces of feedback that I’ve gotten is that small local tournaments, I call them mom and pop tournaments, really don’t have a way to advertise their tournaments if they’re not using one of the big platforms to advertise and run their tournaments,” he said. “My site is free to use for anybody who wants to put a tournament up there.”

You can check out the site and register for notifications here: PickleballTournamentsMap.com.

Subscribe to Pickleball518, news about pickleball in Upstate New York: https://www.pickleball518.com/subscribe/