As a fun and fast-paced sport for people of all ages and sexes, Pickleball is gaining more popularity all the time. Typically, people play the game on hard and smooth surfaces, such as asphalt and concrete. However, you may be one of those players who wonder if it’s possible to play the game on a softer surface, such as grass.
So, is it possible to play Pickleball on a grass court? This post will answer this and more, beginning with a very important question.
Why Do We Play Pickleball on Hard Surfaces?
Since its inception, people have played Pickleball on hard surfaces. These have varied from concrete and asphalt to clay and, sometimes, even metal. But why the preference for hard surfaces, especially since this is the case for most racket or paddle games?
Well, for one, it’s quite easy to make a nearly perfectly flat, hard surface free from undulations or contours. This means the ball bounces along more predictable paths and will be easy to follow. Furthermore, hard surfaces are very durable and can withstand years of abuse, unlike softer ones.
Why People Consider Grass Courts
As we’ve seen, the hard surface courts are ideal for many reasons. However, there are downsides. For instance, knee injuries, fractures, bone breakage, etc, are more common on hard surfaces than on softer ones. This is one of the reasons many players opt for softer surfaces, and grass is one of the softest options to consider. Still, there are a few more reasons why people consider grass.
- The desire to experiment with something new or different
- There may not be a legit court available at the moment. For instance, a family on a picnic may decide to play a little Pickleball, but there isn’t a court around.
- Pickleball on a grass court produces a billion times less noise than on a hard surface. For one thing, while the paddle is the same, the outdoor Pickleball balls are usually softer than balls for indoor Pickleball games. This means less noise from the ball hitting the paddle or the floor.
- Grass pickleball fosters a relaxed, friendly environment, and you can play barefoot if you want to or bring your kids along. It’s a terrific opportunity to demonstrate the game to them and give them the basic skills they need to enjoy it.
- Given the non-standard nature of grass pickleball, the rules don’t necessarily have to be standard. Considering grass pickleball is a gateway to more fun variants with fun new rules. That is, after all, how the game was invented.
- It costs a lot less to make a grass pickleball court than it does to construct a hard-surface one.
Can You Play On Grass
So, can you play Pickleball on a grass court? The answer is a slightly reluctant Yes. You can, but only if it is possible to condense and level the earth. However, strictly speaking, it’s not advisable.
To be fair, though, it doesn’t matter what material you play on as long as the firm surface can support a sufficient amount of bounce. However, playing pickleball on grass will not yield the best results since the court must have the appropriate amount of resistance. With sufficient resistance from the floor, the Pickleball ball you use can bounce high enough to allow for easy play. Aside from these, however, playing on grass has a few other downsides.
- Faults will be harder to come by, and they’re the substance of scoring in Pickleball. For instance, letting the ball bounce too many times is a fault. But playing on a grass platform may make you decide to go volley-all-the-way, making it hard to get faults from too many bounces.
- The surface of grass is uneven, and it may lead to unpredictable bouncing—at least if you’re not playing an all-volley game.
What Ball Should You Use for a Grass Court?
A typical hard-court rubber ball will usually do the trick if you play the sport on a grass court. Obviously, a dead drop with no bounce is an absolute game killer! If you want better performance, a softer rubber ball that’s designed to perform on softer surfaces is your best bet. However, again, the bounce will still be subpar compared to what obtains on a hard surface. As such, you might want to try volleying your way through the game to avoid letting the ball bounce.
In any case, there are one or two cool benefits to using a rubber ball, most significantly the bounce. Even though it doesn’t come near what you get with a standard plastic ball on a hard surface, it’s still good enough to give you a fun game. At the very least, a rubber ball bounces a lot better on a grass surface than a plastic one would. However, keeping the weight as close to the standard ball (about 0.9 ounces) is important.
Modifications Necessary for Playing on a Grass Court
Suppose you have something to work with, such as a pitch or some lawn; what modifications do you have to make in order to play Pickleball? Let’s look at some.
- If you have a lawn tennis court, you can use it to play Pickleball. However, you must adapt it to the game by drawing the necessary lines to demarcate the court. The lawn tennis net is already close to the ideal height for playing Pickleball, so you can leave that intact. The type of grass in a standard lawn tennis court is the gold standard here.
- In America, pickleball courts are frequently constructed in backyards and called lawn pickleball courts. While some players might not be able to choose the surface they play on, playing on grass makes it necessary to compact the turf in line with strict standards to adhere to professional courts’ rules. If the idea of using your own lawn for a pickleball court appeals to you, then try to level it out to minimize bounce problems. To accomplish this, carefully mow the overgrowth of grass down to prevent future damage to any grass or flower blades.
Now, let’s look at setting up your own court.
How to Set Up Your Grass Pickleball Court
Setting up your own grass pickleball court can be a difficult project to undertake. However, it’s not too much if you know what to do. With little more than a measuring tape and some chalk to draw the lines, you can quickly and easily make a temporary court on any asphalt or concrete surface! Want to see how? It’s pretty easy if you follow these steps.
Step 1: Find the Right Surface
The first thing you need to do is find a big, flat surface to work with. What you want is a flat area with enough room for a 20 by 44-foot court.
However, it may be that you just want to play for the fun of it, and you don’t really care about the size of the court. In that case, going with a smaller space is perfect. You can put up the net in the centre of the field by creating an enclosure out of temporary tape or rope.
Step 2: Measure Out Your Court
Having gotten your space, it’s time to take measurements. Take out your measuring tape and set the beginning a foot from the end of the net. Then, walk 22 feet perpendicularly to create one side of your court. By returning to your starting point and adding an additional 22 feet to your length, finishing at baseline, you will create the other side.
Once you’ve done that, take a 20-foot measurement perpendicular to the place where you left the tape or string. The baseline of your court is measured at this distance. You are to measure from one end back to that temporary net over its entire width and depth, then modify it until it resembles a square.
Step 3: Draw Your Lines and Determine the Non-Volley Zone
Once you’ve measured the layout for your court, the next order of business is to draw along the outer edges with chalk (or any reasonable alternative). Remember to mark your baseline at the halfway points.
Next, find the non-volley zone, then mark it out with tape or thread by moving to a meeting point that is 7 feet from the net. Repeat the process on the portion of the first hashmark that is now halfway down your baseline after reaching the halfway point of another line. The next marker should be put down 3’6″ from the intersection of those two lines.
Step 4: Trace Out the Line From the Non-volley Line To the Baseline
This is the final step in setting up your court— marking out the court alley. You can accomplish this by drawing a line beginning at the extreme end of the non-volley zone, extending it up to the baseline, and ending it with an “X” (ensure this line is no less than four feet long).
So, can you play Pickleball on grass? The answer is yes. However, as we have established here, it will not be like normal pickleball in many ways. Yet, it depends on what you are looking for; if you’re okay with a few changes to playing pace, style, and the game’s general feel, go right ahead and enjoy Grass Pickleball.
Must I use the same rules of standard pickleball for grass?
You don’t have to. You can make your own variations.
How well will a standard pickleball perform on a grass court?
Not very well, unfortunately.
Can I play Pickleball on any type of grass?
In theory, yes. However, you need something more like carpet grass to get the best performance.