a real pickle
Is pickleball more fun to watch, like baseball, or is it more fun to play, like softball? Houstonians can ponder these questions when the first-ever professional pickleball tournament ever to be hosted in the Bayou City comes to town in October.
The APP Sunmed Houston Open swings into Memorial Park from October 19-23. A showcase of some of the world’s best pickleball players, the tournament features action in pro, senior pro, and amateur divisions.
Registration to participate APP Sunmed Houston Open Golden Ticket Qualifier for Amateurs and Pros, which promises a $60,000 prize purse, is open through October 10 and can be found online. Importantly, interested players must enroll as a member of USA Pickleball if they are currently not registered with the organization.
As for spectators, admission is $10 online or at the gate during tournament times.
With more than 4.8 million people playing worldwide — an increase of 40 percent since 2020 — pickleball is currently America’s fastest-growing sport. (Interestingly, Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been playing pickleball for more than 50 years, according to Forbes.)
Currently, more than 10,000 Houstonians are estimated to play pickleball.
Jumping on that trend, the City of Houston helped organize the tournament in a joint effort between Council Member Abbie Kamin, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Greater Houston Pickleball, and the Houston Pickleball Association.
“It doesn’t stop at this tournament; our District is leading the way and making the investment when it comes to supporting Houston’s love for Pickleball— one of the fastest growing sports in the country,” Kamin noted in a statement. “We’re the first office to partner with the incredible team in our Parks and Recreation Department to bring pickleball courts to five of our district’s parks, which should be ready for all Houstonians to enjoy very soon.”
The APP Sunmed Houston Open will run at Memorial Park (1500 East Memorial Loop Dr.) from October 19-23. For more information, registration, or tickets, visit the official site.