By Mia Alva
Burbank is becoming a pickleball-positive community, with about 27 courts to play on.
With the help of Pickleheads, a website dedicated to helping people find pickleball courts to play on in the United States and Canada, residents can find the court for them.
Co-founder of Pickleheads, Brandon Mackie, said that website became available in March 2022. Mackie’s partner is Max Ade.
“Just how you might use Yelp to find a restaurant that you want to go to, you’d use our site and put in your location or a location you’re interested in,” said Mackie. “And you can browse a comprehensive list of all the places to play in the area you’re interested in.”
The website allows you, like Yelp, to put in your city or a city you would like to play in to see what courts are in the area.
“We count 27 total pickleball courts in Burbank, and four of those are dedicated to pickleball,” said Mackie.
Designated pickleball courts have distinctive lines drawn and nets specialized for the growing sport.
In Burbank there are three popular facilities:
• Larry L. Maxam Memorial Park
• Burbank Tennis Center
• George Izay Park
The website also offers details like how many courts are available, if there is a court rental fee and what other amenities they offer.
“Burbank has 0.39 dedicated courts per 10,000 residents and 2.63 total courts per 10,000 residents, compared to a national average of 0.65 dedicated and 1.67 total,” said Mackie. “Burbank is behind the average in dedicated court density, but above average in total court capacity.”
The birth of the Pickleheads website grew from Mackie’s own experience in trying to find a court to play.
“Living in West Los Angeles and getting into the sport, but not really knowing where to turn to find places to play,” said Mackie. “I knew word of mouth, a local place in Santa Monica. But there were other places, whether I’d be traveling or just wanted to check out some other courts. The courts in Santa Monica weren’t dedicated, meaning you had to bring your own net, and just to find a dedicated facility, I had no real way to do that. So, I thought it would be a good resource for players.”
Now, Mackie sees hundreds of thousands of players visit the website every month.
“Also, you’ll be able to see games,” said Mackie. “You can find out when the open play times are, or even pick-up games, maybe you can find a game that’s open, and it’d be the fourth in someone else’s game, which is pretty cool.”
But how is Mackie able to keep up with pickleball courts popping up daily?
“The way we design the site is like a [Wikipedia page]. Anybody can submit court edits or add courts anonymously,” he said. “That’s been a powerful way to crowdsource the information, because as you can imagine, it would be almost impossible to keep up otherwise, there’s so many courts popping up, and you can set up a court almost anywhere.
“So, we decided early on that would be the best way,” he added. “And now we’ve got hundreds of thousands of players [who] help keep the database up to date, and I think it’s ultimately a good resource for players.”
To learn more about Pickleheads or to find a nearby pickleball court, visit pickleheads.com.
First published in the June 24 print issue of the Burbank Leader.