One of my goals for this year is to visit and take pictures of all the locations in the Wichita area that offer open play to make it easier for new pickleball players to connect with other players and find places to play. There’s information on USA Pickleball‘s Places 2 Play site but sometimes it’s helpful when you see pictures.
Linwood has 3 courts with portable temporary nets. The floors are vinyl tile and indoor balls are used. Everyone lines up on chairs along one wall. They use the “four on, four off” system for rotation. As games finish, the player shift up a court so that waiting players always feed into the nearest court, which minimizes game interruption resulting from players coming on or off the courts.
One of the major advantages of the “four on, four off” system is that it gives more players opportunity to play more games compared to the “winners stay and split method” but the biggest disadvantage is that you end up playing with the same group of four people when there is an even number of players. The only way to mix it up is to hang back and allow other players to move ahead of you. Sometimes other players show up and get in line and mix up the rotation but when all of the players have already arrived and there’s an even number of players for the three courts, then you do end up in the same group of four.
The player demographic at Linwood, much like most of the rec centers in town, is on the older side. Members of the Downtown Senior Center play for free so lots of senior players tend to play here. The nice thing is these players have been playing the game since the beginning of time so they are knowledgeable about the rules and have plenty of experience. It’s great for beginners because the skill level and style of play is more recreational, and the drop in fee of $2 is also very affordable. It’s also a great way to meet other pickleball players. They average about 20 players (sometimes more, sometimes less depending on the day).
Right now the open play at Linwood is on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM, and 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Saturdays. Check the Open Play Schedule for the latest information on open play times. During the week you’ll see mostly retired, older players but there are a few young people who play here on the weekends.
The floor surface is not ideal but it’s a great option in the winter time when there are no indoor courts available to rent or if you’re more cost conscious – $2 for two hours of play is a bargain.