First Indoor Pickleball Facility to Open in Moore County

Katie Carpenter, a co-owner of The Racquet Club of Seven Lakes shows a rendering of the 10,500 square foot indoor pickleball court coming to Moore County this April. Maggie Beamguard/SLI

By Maggie Beamguard

Insider Editor

Pickleball is not a fancy, new dish for your church potluck, but the fastest growing sport in America, according to industry experts like the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. It’s been spreading its way through the Sandhills. 

There are several places to play pickleball locally, including courts at Seven Lakes West, Memorial Park in Southern Pines and Pinehurst. But enthusiasts will have a new option for play when The Pickle Place opens in May. It will be the only indoor court dedicated specifically to pickleball in Moore County.

Co-owners of the Racquet Club of Seven Lakes, Katie Carpenter and Canyn Russell added their first outdoor pickleball courts in 2021. As they’ve watched the sport grow along with the passion of local players, they dreamed big of a way to elevate the game for locals. 

Co-owners of the Racquet Club of Seven Lakes, Canyn Russell (left) and Katie Carpenter (right) pictured at the opening of their first outdoor pickleball courts in 2021.

The original outdoor pickleball courts Carpenter and Russell installed were previously used as soft-surfaced tennis courts. While that surface is kind to joints, pickleballs, which are really wiffle balls, just don’t get a satisfying bounce. Rather than just replace them with hard courts, the co-owners set their sights on a bigger project. 

Their 10,500-square-foot, climate-controlled facility, The Pickle Place, will feature four indoor hard courts with a rubberized surface. Players will appreciate the bounce of the court and the ease of play on the body.

“It’s not a gym floor,” Carpenter said. “One of our huge selling points is it’s going to be a hard court, but it’s cushioned to where it’s easier on your joints.” 

This surface doesn’t come cheap. “It’s ridiculously expensive. But we thought our clientele and I myself would appreciate it. We’ve actually played on the surface and it’s incredible.”

You have to go to Charlotte to play on a surface like this, although there is another similar court coming to Cary. “They are going to start popping up because the demand is there. And I’m a part of that. I just can’t get enough of it,” said Carpenter, who learned how to play tennis as a kid on the very racquet club she now owns and operates with Russell. 

There will also be a pro shop and a bar area serving beer and wine where players can unwind after a game. 

“We wanted to make it to where people would come and hang out even if maybe you weren’t gonna play,” said Carpenter, for whom the sport is as much about community building as skill development and play.

Carpenter attributes the popularity of the sport to its multigenerational appeal.

“You can play it as a kid and you can play it as a 90-year-old. There aren’t many sports that you can play at all ages. With tennis you age out at some point.”

It’s also easy to learn and fun. Carpenter says she can teach the game, which she describes as a mix of tennis, volley ball and ping pong, to a new player in about half an hour. ​​The smaller courts, paddles and wiffle balls make for quicker games.

In all her years working in the sports industry, Carpenter says she has never seen anything like this. She is inspired by the passionate pickleball community of all ages and abilities. She has seen even non-athletic folks become avid devotees and people with prior injuries and joint replacements able to pick up the game.

“To me one of the greatest things is how it has pulled people off of couches and out of homes to become very active and have this amazing community around them,” said Carpenter. 

The construction of The Pickle Place began in November and is being completed by Bartels Construction Solutions out of Matthews. The $1.2 million dollar cost has kept both Carpenter and Russell awake at night, but they have a lot of confidence in the project and the popularity of the sport which only continues to grow.

Carpenter believes that the sport, which does have a pro level, isn’t close to peaking and will be played competitively in high schools, colleges and eventually the Olympics.

“The construction of our new indoor pickleball facility is a testament to the dedication and hard work from Katie,” said Russell “It has been an extremely stressful project for us both, but the stress of the process is outweighed by the excitement of what this facility will bring to our community.”

Katie Carpenter, co-owner of the Racquet Club of Seven Lakes. The new indoor pickleball facility “The Pickle Place” is seen on the left. Maggie Beamguard/SLI

When Carpenter pictures The Pickle Place in its finished form, she imagines the courts all filled and people enjoying themselves. “I’m looking forward to just having the people here, because it’s happy, right?” said Carpenter. “I’m thankful to have the job that I have because when I see people, a lot of times, this is the best part of their day.

“They’re coming out to play tennis or to play pickle and I’m getting their best. And hopefully I’m giving them the best part of their day as well.”

The community building aspect is important to Russell as well. “Not only will it provide a space for physical activity and social interaction, but it will also boost the overall well-being of our community. We can’t wait to see the positive impact it will have on all who utilize it.”

Located in the community of Seven Lakes North, the Racquet Club is privately owned, so you do not have to be a resident of Seven Lakes to join. Three levels of membership are available but membership is not required to enjoy the facility. Court rates, an industry standard, will apply.

The Pickle Place will host open play days for specific skill levels, adult and junior clinics, private lessons and tournaments for those with a competitive nature. All are welcome to play.

Carpenter wants everyone to give it a try from experienced tennis players to people who have never stepped foot on a court. “For two hours a day, you’re gonna go out, and you’re gonna have fun and move and be part of a wonderful community.”

Contact Maggie Beamguard at