Can you play pickleball on grass?
Yes, of course, you can play pickleball on the grass, with a few changes…
Imagine the scenario. A beautiful day, the sun is out, your friend is over, and you are in your backyard that just happens to be large enough to play pickleball. Great food, great drink, great company, what could ever make this scenario better?
Since pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the USA with many people of all ages playing, pickleball courts are popping up everywhere.
Although there are more and more courts popping up, setting up your own pickleball court on grass is a great way to have fun without having to leave home.
Even though it may not be the “cup of tea” for professional pickleball players, there’s nothing better than giving a Nasty Nelson in the comfort of your own backyard!
Some players say it is one of the best surfaces to play on.
However, there are a few things that you will need to prepare to make your dinking on grass courts fun for everyone.
These things are:
- Preparing the grass surface
- Setting up the court
- Selecting the right pickleball ball
- Using the right paddle
Preparing the Grass Surface
Does the grass length matter?
Absolutely! The longer the grass, the less you’ll see the ball bounce because the longer grass will absorb the bounce of the ball. Long grass means less bounce, making dinks almost impossible to return with a regular pickleball.
An alternative pickleball ball is needed unless you are on a grass tennis court with a hard surface. This is discussed under “Selecting the right ball”.
Check the area that you plan to play for the contours of the ground.
Since no ground is perfectly flat, it could change how the ball bounces.
This is one of the reasons why pickleball on a grass court is so much fun, and why it adds an extra challenge to the game.
Some players like to scout the court first to identify all the dips and mounds. Others don’t bother so they can just enjoy the element of ball bouncing surprise.
One step that you can take is to mow the grass prior to the game. Although grass is still a soft surface, mowing the grass gives a more uniform surface to the grass and allows players to better see the contours.
Setting up the Court
You could setup a regular-sized court, a mini practice court, or a “skinny singles” court (half the court for singles play) depending on your space and how many players you have.
The first thing that you want to do is grab a measuring tape and measure the space that you want to use for the pickleball court and see if you have enough space.
If you don’t have enough space, that’s okay, you can adjust the length and the width of the court.
As long as you have a reasonable amount of room for a temporary court that’s intended for a casual game, it should be fine.
You can put up a temporary net such as either a pickleball or badminton net if you already have one. A tennis net can also be used but they may be a bit big and heavy for a friendly game on a grassy surface.
Pickleball Court Dimensions
An outdoor pickleball court is the same size as an indoor pickleball court.
Pickleball court is 44 feet long with the net running horizontally across the middle leaving 22 feet on either side of the court. The non-volley zone runs the width of the court (20 feet) and is 7 feet from the net. The net height is 34″ inches in the middle and 36″ at the poles.
The court dimensions are below:
Regular Pickleball Court Dimensions
Skinny Singles Court
You may have noticed that the regular pickleball court is almost the same as a badminton court!
If you already have one, you may as well use it. If not, there are many ways to mark the court outline on grass, however, the most common are:
- Court markers – These markers outline the boundaries of the pickleball court, and are reusable.
- Court markers in a pickleball kit – This may be one of the best methods to setup the court for people new to playing on the grass. It has everything needed to setup court, except for paddles and balls (net with frame, court marking kit, carry bag, and rubber pads).
- Nets – If you don’t have a net at home but have everything else, this would be a good option.
Using the Right Ball
Since you are not on a regular court, you have a bit of flexibility on what ball to use.
If you have firm ground with short grass or plan to mow it, you may be able to get away with a regular outdoor pickleball.
If not, you will need to select a ball that will work for the grass surface.
A tennis ball might do if you don’t have any other options but it’s heavier than is ideal with less bounce than
You will need something light that will bounce on grass and/or soft ground while being as close to the size and weight of an official pickleball. You might find a rubber ball that will work.
The official diameter of a pickleball is between 2.874 and 2.972 inches (7.3 and 7.549cm). The official weight is between 0.78 and 0.935 ounces (22.113g and 26.51g).
Here are a couple of choices of balls that can be used that have different advantages and disadvantages:
Outdoor pickleball balls are the most common used for outdoor play. They generally have smaller holes, the plastic is a bit thicker, and it bounces slightly more than an indoor pickleball ball that is used for indoor play. It is a plastic ball, sometimes called a wiffle ball that is usually played on hard courts.
- Diameter: 3 in (7.62 cm)
- Weight: 1.7 oz (48.19 g)
- Number of Holes: Generally, 40
- It’s an official pickleball
- Plays well on hard dirt surfaces with low grass
- May not bounce properly on medium to long grass surfaces
This is a good option for firm soil and short grass. You may want to try it out first to make sure you have enough bounce on the surface you are using.
The Spalding High Bounce Handball
This handball is a good choice for playing on grass or soft surfaces. It has a good bounce and is close to the same size of a pickleball.
- Diameter: 3 in (7.62 cm)
- Weight: 1.7 oz (48.19 g)
- Number of Holes: 0
- Good bounce
- Close to the same size of a regular pickleball
- Commonly used by clubs that play on grass and soft surfaces
- Heavier and bigger than a regular pickleball
- More expensive than regular pickleball balls
This is a good option that works on most grass surfaces. It is close to the size of a pickleball and will give a good game whether just having fun or playing more serious pickleball players.
A racquetball ball is smaller than a pickleball but also has a good bounce for grass surfaces so you’ll experience fewer bounce issues. It is about the same cost as a pickleball and can make for a fun game on grass.
- Diameter: 2.25 in (5.715 cm)
- Weight: 1.4 oz (39.689 g)
- Number of Holes: 0
- Good bounce
- Less expensive than other options
- More likely that you may already have one
- Much smaller and slightly heavier than a regular pickleball
This is another good option that works on grass.
It is also more likely that you may have a racquetball around your home just waiting to be used, instead of having to buy one.
This may be a good option for just having a fun game.
Whether you are an expert or just having fun with friends, pickleball is a lot of fun.
Playing on the grass, especially in the back yard offers another dimension to that fun, which usually includes food, drink, and crazy shots.
Either way, pickleball is always the answer!
FAQs – Can you play pickleball on grass?
Are there any groups that can provide more information on playing pickleball on the grass?
Yes! The US Lawn Pickleball Association has discussions and ideas for people who like to play pickleball on the grass. They call themselves “The Wimbledon of Pickleball”. It has great information and I’m sure that there are many contacts to be made there.
Are there other balls that can be used aside from the balls listed above?
Yes. The balls listed above are balls that are commonly used when playing on grass.
As long as the ball is generally the same size as a pickleball, and can bounce on grass, you really could use it to play. Grass play is usually for fun so you can use whatever works.
Why do outdoor pickleballs have more holes?
Since outdoor pickleballs are made with thicker plastic, it has a heavier weight and is less impacted by the wind.
Even though it has 40 smaller holes instead of 26 larger holes, the smaller holes are less affected by wind.
It makes outdoor play easier, however, you really don’t want to get hit by a hard shot!
Can you play pickleball on a basketball court?
Yes, you can play pickleball on a basketball court and just about any hard court surface including a concrete surface.
In fact, many recreational players and families set up a pickleball court on their driveway or in a cul de sac.
A smooth surface makes all the difference in how a ball bounces so playing on a driveway or on the road isn’t ideal but for many people, its the best option.
Do you play pickleball on outdoor courts or indoor courts?
You can play pickleball on outdoor courts or indoor courts. Outdoor courts are usually made of a harder surface such as clay, concrete or asphalt surface. And on occasion outdoor courts are made of artificial turf.
What is sandy pickle?
Sandy pickle is a game that is very similar to playing pickleball but there are a few differences.
The main difference is that it’s played on a sandy or grassy surface.
Other differences include: the ball can’t bounce before being returned, the net is higher to help prevent smashing of the ball, and the non-volley zone or non-spike zone is only 5 feet deep instead of 7