“They’re real pickleball courts — something that we haven’t had at all,” said Grand Haven resident Joe Legatz, organizer of a local pickleball club.
The new courts — two for tennis and six for pickleball — are on the site of the old tennis courts between the new tan backwash tank and the Grand Haven water filtration plant.
“I think that it’s going to be fantastic,” Legatz said. “Some of our club members have played there already and have come back with rave reviews. They love it.”
The opportunity for new courts came when contractors began to build the new backwash tank for the Northwest Ottawa Water System.
“When we relocated the backwash tank, we had to have a staging area for the construction," Ottawa County Road Commission engineer Pat Staskiewicz said. "We worked out a deal with the city to use the existing tennis courts. They were in pretty poor shape.”
Staskiewicz said the project's total budget was about $150,000, with $25,000 coming from the city. The county agreed to reconstruct the courts; the city put in money for the nets, some of the painting and other expenses.
“We’re very happy with the way it turned out,” Staskiewicz said. “The original plan was to do an overlay on the existing tennis courts — but by reconstructing them, it gave us the opportunity to get the right dimension for the pickleball courts and to design it to be a better facility overall.”
Prior to opening the new courts at Mulligan’s Hollow, pickleball enthusiasts in Legatz’s club relied on the tennis courts at Lakeshore Middle School. Legatz said the school's courts "are in bad shape."
Legatz said the advantages to having a dedicated pickleball facility — which are smaller than tennis courts — include having dedicated lines for players and a specialized net.
“We don’t chase the balls forever (on a pickleball court),” he said. “On a tennis court, there is so much wasted space.”
Despite the poor condition of the middle school's courts, Legatz said he is grateful for the school for allowing his club to utilize them.
“The school was really great,” he said. “There’s just a lot of advantages to having a real pickleball court.”
You're going to have to hurry if you want to use the new courts this year. Grand Haven Facilities Manager Dan Vivian said the courts will likely be closed for the winter later this week.