ROSWELL, Ga. — Ace Pickleball Club is set to open Roswell’s first indoor pickleball club on Market Boulevard this spring. The club will feature 14 professional grade courts members can access anytime.
The membership-driven, indoor pickleball court will be the first location for Ace Pickleball Club. It will function as the headquarters and “beta-testing site” as the franchise expands nationally.
Pickleball is a sport that has skyrocketed in popularity since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020. The sport is similar to tennis but employes paddles and whiffleballs on a smaller court.
Ace Pickleball Club co-founder and CEO Jay Diederichsaid the sport became popular with older age groups, then grew to include the younger set.
“There are millions of people pouring into the sport and it’s no longer that retiree age group,” Diederich said. “The average age was 64 and a-half, and now we’re headed to the mid-20s.”
Diederich said the sport is starting to expand into high school programs as well. People as young as 12 and as old as 80 can play, and the gender split is even.
The club co-founder started playing the sport with his wife while living in Florida at the start of the COVID-19 shutdowns. It was one of the few ways the couple could get out of the house.
“We were hooked immediately,” Diederich said.
Within weeks, the pair had already met upwards of 40 new people who also played pickleball. For Diederich and others, the sport replaced the gym.
But the Florida weather wasn’t ideal because of the “brutal” heat, and many tournaments and matches got cancelled or rescheduled last minute.
When Diederich’s wife suggested the sport move indoors, a lightbulb went off.
Diederich has worked in development for Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park franchise for the past decade, so he was familiar with the concept of indoor athletic spaces. He met with Joe Sexton and Vincent Barrios, both Sky Zone employees, to “take a hard look at moving pickleball indoors.”
The co-founders knew they wanted something different than the typical entertainment establishments, like Pickle and Social or Chicken N Pickle which are primarily restaurants that use pickleball to drive traffic.
Pickle and Social had originally committed to developing a location in East Roswell in 2020 but backed out of the deal in 2022 after they deemed the property too cost-prohibitive. The pickleball facility and restaurant opted to develop a location in Alpharetta instead.
Diederich said those places are creating family-friendly environments, but he wants to prioritize an all-ages pickleball club that’s “welcoming to all players.” That welcome extends to costs, too.
“For the price of one trip to Pickle and Social, that’s monthly access (to Ace Pickleball Club),” Diederich said.
The Roswell location will be open play-oriented, and members will have priority access. For a monthly fee, members can come in at any time to hop into a game. There will also be member-focused events and tournaments.
“Everything revolves around the game itself, and activating more people to the sport, whether you’re playing for fun or socializing or training to get on tour,” Diederich said.
The co-founder picked Roswell after he moved his search out of Florida. He said the establishment could work in most markets, but Roswell “blew him away.” The location is close to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, a perk for future business travel, and Diederich was drawn to the area’s growing film industry.
As the Ace Pickleball Club franchise headquarters, the location will be the site of future advancements, like livestreaming, instant replay and instant highlight reels.
“The Roswell players are going to be on the cutting edge,” Diederich said.
While the club will likely not open until late May, Diederich said interested players should join the waitlist now. The club has a cap on memberships to provide adequate playing time for everyone.
“We have the leg up to figure out what this can look like, what the model can look like,” Diederich said.