Unlisted courts: Some pickleball is just private

As I pulled together the list of places to play pickleball in the area in the area, there were a few venues on the list that I kept seeing over and over, but had never met anyone who had played there.

Were these secret pickleball clubs? Did you have to know a special password to enter? I’ve unraveled a few of the mysteries.

St. Vincent’s PAL (Police Athletic Association) on Madison Avenue in Albany. PAL sponsors many sports programs for kids in Albany and runs after school programs. Local pickleball instructor Ed Pieper told me he was close to putting together a pickleball program at the PAL gym in 2018, but things fell through and it never came to fruition. Pieper had been working with the Boys and Girls Club and USA Pickleball to sponsor the program. A few people left their positions and Pieper moved north to the Lake George area. Pieper had already submitted the location to the USA Pickleball Places to Play database and it is still listed there.

411 Union in Schenectady shows up on a lot of lists as a place to play. It is a large, old brick building owned by an engineering firm. The building has a gym that the firm rents to the DAGS Basketball program, which sublets it when it is not used for basketball. Some pickleball players rent the space, but since there are no open play sessions or drop-in opportunities, it is not on my list.

The Lake George Club is listed on a local tourism website as a place to play pickleball, but the club manager suggested that it should not be on my list. It is a private, members-only club and offers no open pickleball play nor programs for non-members.

Lake George RV Park at 74 State Route 149 in Lake George has six dedicated pickleball courts under lights. It is a pickleball player’s dream. Alas, only residents of the park get to live the dream. Dave King, owner of the park, said the courts are very popular and get much more use than the tennis courts at the park. He did not object to the courts appearing on my list, as long as it was clear that they were only available to registered guests of the park.

So, if you want to play, buy an RV.