Videos by OutKick
With pickleball noise complaints on the rise and courts being closed across the country after citizens complain at city council meetings, Rachel Stuhlmann, the world’s No. 1 ranked tennis influencer has a message for the complainers — tough luck.
“Pickleball isn’t going anywhere. People are still going to find a way to play,” Stuhlmann told OutKick when asked for her reaction to the news that courts are being closed over noise complaints.
Just this week in Walker, Michigan, the city took the drastic measure of closing courts until further notice due to “unauthorized pickleball games” at a city park that were causing headaches for neighbors who were hearing the constant noise of paddle making contact with the pickleball.
It’s not just Walker, Michigan taking drastic action. In Lake Bluff, IL, the village and the park district are battling over the use of pickleball courts. The village told the park district to suspend play over citizen complaints. The Chicago Tribune reports that play was suspended “for a few days” only to be reopened.
Lawyers were soon called in to battle it out.
In an attempt to find a solution to make everyone happy, the city of Mashpee, MA decided this summer to close courts on Sundays. The closure lasted a couple of weeks. Now the city will pay for a sound study to determine whether the complainer has a valid point that is backed up by codes on the books.
Emotions got so high in Mashpee during the court closure that pickleball players allegedly pushed through a locked gate to play which turned into neighbors calling the police to have the pickleball players removed from the courts.
Meanwhile, Stuhlmann doesn’t see this as a big problem. She says this is isolated and it’s not going to hurt the rise of the sport.
“People are entitled to their opinions and feelings,” Stuhlmann added. “If the sound is keeping people up at night, maybe there could be some kind of mutually agreed upon Pickleball curfew where Pickleball play stops by a certain time so people can sleep peacefully.”
But for the homeowners in the “Pickleball Noise Relief” Facebook group, this isn’t about just trying to get some sleep at night, it’s about the constant whopping of the ball that just won’t stop during the day and it’s driving them insane.
Susana Cruciana of Laguna Beach, California claims she’s measured the pickleball noise outside her home at 77-80 decibels before the city installed acoustic fencing around the courts. On a balcony elevated above the fenceline, Cruciana says those decibels reached 90.
Did the pickleball sound barrier work?
According to Cruciana, the barrier isn’t working. She claims the “noise seems just as loud,” but now she’s also dealing with an “echo effect.”
“This is not a solution,” she concluded.
In an exchange with a fellow Pickleball noise complainer, Susana seemed pretty defeated. “I truly am so tired of Pickleball taking over my every waking hour!” the longtime local resident wrote.
The nightmare for Susana and other pickleball complainers is just beginning — the sport is growing
According to the latest data, 36.5 million have played pickleball in the last year, making it the number one growing sport in the United States. Between 2021 and 2022, the sport saw an insane 86% growth rate in the number of players participating.
Based on the power behind the sport, it could take a monumental court battle out of noise complainers to keep courts closed. As Stuhlmann told OutKick earlier this year, the sport is a freight train.
“It’s amazing how many people have picked it up,” the influencer said. “I love how it’s a way for people to get out of the house and stay active and have fun. It’s so accessible and generally easy for people to pick up. I’ve spent some time with the Professional Pickleball Association community and it’s filled with happy, passionate, and fun people. The tour has such a positive vibe and I love how happy pickleball makes people.”
That happiness leads people to push through locked courts and to play at all hours.
Good luck to the complainers. You have a fight on your hands.