The Sea Ranch pickleball. A long and winding road.

By Nil Zilch II

Pickleball is a racquet sport created in Seattle in 1965, where you whack a hard plastic ball over a net at someone standing about fourteen feet away, who is holding a paddle only the size of a pie pan to defend themselves and a scoring system inspired by the Rubik’s Cube. It is the last-hurrah-at-greatness for the remaining baby boomers with at least one working knee. No one is really sure why it is called pickleball. Actually, they all forgot. Hey dude, this was the late 60s, after all.

Many Sea Ranchers have embraced the sport, so about four years ago the then TSR Community Manager and a few pickleball players developed a secret plan to convert a TSR tennis court to pickleball at the Del Mar Recreation center using a $50K slush fund and bypass TSR Board of Director’s approval.

The plan was leaked. Things got weird. The weird turned pro.

Public hearings were scheduled and battle lines were drawn. It was pickleball players vs. tennis players vs. people who had no idea what pickelball was but could not resist a podium, microphone and room full of Sea Ranchers to agitate. Presentations included charts, diagrams, photo renderings and HAKA ceremonial war dancing. Each side presented persuasive arguments why anyone disagreeing with them was an idiot.

An abundance of sites for NEW pickleball courts were recommended including:

  • Ohlson Recreation Center
  • Del Mar Recreation Center
  • TSR Airport
  • Afghanistan
  • Uranus

Ohlson was quickly eliminated when it was stated that the noise would startle horses. (I am not making this up). Del Mar was to be considered after an expensive, scientific “WIND STUDY” to determine if there was, in fact, wind there. (Not making this up, either). The TSR airport idea was nixed after the FAA would not return our calls. (True). At a cost of $16,000, someone suggested a feasibility study of One-Eyed-Jacks. (Also true). And the proposed re-striping of an Ohlson tennis court was redacted after death threats. Afghanistan is still under consideration.

To support their agendas, the tennis players and pickelball players each collected Court Usage Data — years of it — which according to the pickelball statistical findings, the six tennis courts were used 0.087395% of the time, while tennis players concluded that pickelball players were morons 100% of the time.

And just before the angry, riotous (and perhaps armed) mob marched on the TSR Administration Building, the BoD took control and made an executive decision to have more meetings [six] and public hearings [four]. (True!!).

After many public hearings with the Planning Committee, a recommendation was made to build courts at The Del Mar Recreation Center. The BoD unanimously voted in favor and all was well until it wasn’t.

The Community Manager at that time sent a permit application to the Sonoma County Planning Commission, but uh… they somehow lost it. Then COVID shut down everything. Then $90,000 of the Pickleball Court funds got siphoned off for a new A/V system.


OK, SO…, recently, the BoD has (re)approved the construction of NEW pickleball courts at The Del Mar Recreation center. The current cost projection is Three Million Dollars and 48 Cents* due to recently requested line-items, which include:

  • Court striping with pearl inlays
  • Chinchilla fur bench cushions
  • Nanoparticle court surface material with AI
  • Gravity Phase Inhibitors to ensure cross-court parity
  • Romanesque urn fountains

We expect this project to proceed smoothly, but there are rumors that SCOTUS may overturn this decision. Time will tell.

*Funds siphoned off from defunct TSR Administration Compound Project.

%d bloggers like this: