The new spot gives Austin locals a convenient and state-of-the-art facility to join the pickleball train.
The Austin Pickle Ranch, a new facility boasting eight pickleball courts situated atop a parking garage, is set to open its door to the general public today.
Evan Floersch, president and co-owner of the Ranchers, explained, “What we’re doing together here on this rooftop is putting more courts in Austin in underutilized space and on a parking garage or rooftop that would otherwise probably not be used most days out of the year, overlooking the skyline with food and beverage.
“This is something we think is a perfect use of this space.”
Chief “Fun Officer”
Tim Klitch, the founder and Chief “Fun Officer” of the Ranchers, has a background deeply rooted in tennis due to his father’s profession as a tennis professional.
After realizing he wouldn’t make it to the professional tennis circuit, he pursued a career in investment banking.
Klitch spent over three decades in this lucrative field before recognizing that much of his life had been dedicated to obligatory pursuits rather than those he genuinely enjoyed.
Even tennis, which he played at the Division 1 level in college, had become more of a grind than a pastime.
Introduced to Major League Pickleball by Steve Kuhn, Klitch envisions this new endeavor as a source of enjoyment not just for himself but for all who are willing to explore the sport:
“I think it’s (tennis) got a much steeper, longer learning curve. Pickleball, you can be halfway decent in 30 minutes, and you can be having a lot of fun in a couple of hours.
“Within three months, you can be pretty decent if you put your mind to it.”
You Can Figure It Out As You Go Along
Payton Leihgeber, another tennis enthusiast, had only her second encounter with pickleball at the new courts.
However, Leihgeber is unhesitant about inviting her friends to pick up a paddle for the first time, confident they will grasp the game. “With pickleball, you can just kind of fight your way through,” she noted.
However, Floersch emphasized the difference between casual players and seasoned pros: “There’s a big gap between where we’re at here today and where pros are at. It takes them thousands of hours to get to that point of where they’re at as pro athletes.”
Open To One And All
The new courts are open to all, including professionals seeking a competitive match. Ben Johns, regarded by Klitch as one of the finest players in the game, was already utilizing the new facility hours before Leihgeber set foot on it.
Klitch’s confidence in the Ranchers’ growth stems from their aesthetic and alignment with the city’s culture, which he believes is an impeccable match: “You’re a 22-year-old, a pickleball pro, [you] can live anywhere in the country. But, you want to have a good social life, have good dining, and be somewhere fun, cool, and hip. Where better but in Austin, Texas?”
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