GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The popularity of pickleball is reaching new heights in Grand Rapids.
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel will celebrate the grand opening of its rooftop pickleball courts Thursday with a private invitation-only event. The hotel says the courts overlooking downtown are the first of their kind in the city.
Amway Grand added the four courts to the fourth floor of its glass tower months after a separate $40 million facelift of the historic hotel by Chicago-based architectural firm Gensler. Hotel regional general manager Ross Bartlett says contractors completed the courts about two weeks ago and they opened immediately thereafter for us.
“We’re seeing the demand and we’re really excited for it,” Bartlett said.
Thursday’s invitation-only grand opening celebration will include a beginner’s pickleball camp, followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony and pro exhibition by Andrea Koop, who ranks fourth in the world for women’s doubles pickleball. Guests are welcome to stay for refreshments and open play on the courts.
Bartlett says the pickleball courts are open to the guests and the general public. Rates are $20 per hour for one court and $5 to $8 per hour for a paddle, depending on the type you choose. Players interested in reserving a pickleball court should call 616.774.2000 and ask to be connected to Amway Grand’s fitness center.
Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. NPR reports pickleball participation has nearly doubled in just five years to 4.8 million players.
Amway Grand’s courts are opening just before the Beer City Open pickleball tournament takes over Grand Rapids’ Belknap Park July 20 through 24.
Amway Grand management company AHC Hospitality is a title sponsor for this year’s event, which organizers say will be the largest Beer City Open since the tournament was founded in 2018. That’s thanks in part to more courts and new stadium seating paid for by the Grand Rapids Pickleball Club and the city.
Tournament officials say registration to play at the tournament sold out in 12 minutes. They expect the Beer City Open to draw more than 950 athletes from 38 states and six countries, including the world’s top-ranked singles pickleball player, Zane Navratil of Chicago and Koop.
Visitors are welcome to attend the Beer City Open for free. Food trucks will be on site.