A well-known venue in the Foothills has gone through a major rebrand.
Lynwood Ranch in Aldersyde, known as an event space and caterer for decades, is now a dedicated pickleball facility.
Those familiar with the space may see the change as an odd choice, but co-owner Gus LeDuc says it came about in a pretty organic way.
“When COVID hit, we were shut down cold, as many businesses were. We didn’t know how to restart. I played pickleball, Wendy, my wife, played pickleball, our kids did, and we started playing inside the facility because it was dormant. Then it evolved into our brothers and sisters and their kids coming over, and the neighbors.”
Seeing some potential, having seen more and more private facilities opening in the states, and knowing the sport’s popularity in the Foothills, LeDuc and his family decided to go through with the renovations to convert the building into a pickleball facility back in November.
Though many sports facilities support a wide array of netball sports including pickleball, according to LeDuc, Lynnwood is the second dedicated pickleball facility, the other being in Edmonton.
Lynnwood has four courts and a seating/spectating area, which is planned to function as a cafe later down the line. They plan to continue operating their BBQ food truck as well.
They’re already seeing success with drop-in sessions and leagues, and they’ll soon be hosting tournaments as well as a professional clinic in the near future.
LeDuc says the demand was there and has been for quite some time.
“It’s the fastest-growing sport in North America. I think in Canada in the last two years, the number of pickleball players has tripled. It’s really taking a hold. It’s been around for a long time but in the last ten years growth has been phenomenal and in the last three to four years it’s really skyrocketed.”
He attributes that to the sport’s accessibility.
“It’s very affordable, you just need a paddle. The learning curve is very fast. You can go out and watch and get the rules down and go out with some friends and you’re playing the game. You don’t need a bunch of lessons or anything like that… It was predominantly seniors until the last few years. Now the younger generations are loving it. I think you’re going to see a lot of growth in middle-aged people and the youth.”
A lot of the space’s old flavour is sticking around, notably, the ranching equipment and memorabilia that adorns the walls.
Luckily, the whiffle balls aren’t likely to build up enough force to knock anything over, but the items have been secured in place.
It’s a drastic change to be sure, and one that’s sure to be met with shock by some locals.
LeDuc understands why some people may be dismayed to hear about the rebrand, but he’s also getting to meet so many more people who are thrilled about it.
“We’ve had people that are disappointed in the change, but Wendy and I are 67 this year and the event business is a considerable amount of work. We looked at the labour situation right now and felt it was going to be too much for us to open in the event business again, it broke our hearts too but when we came up with this new vision, it sure helps things going forward. We love it, we love the people in pickleball, and every day is a fun day. It’s going to keep us young.”