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Kern River Valley Pickleballers Advocate for Public Courts to Accommodate Growing Player Base

The KRV Pickleball Club has 140 members, but there are only two dedicated pickleball courts in the Kern River Valley, and they are on private land.
Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 20:42:29-04

KERNVILLE, Calif. (KERO) — Currently, the only pickleball courts in the Kern River Valley are at United Methodist Church in Kernville.

  • Pickleball players in the Kern River Valley are advocating for public courts to be built
  • I joined them on a sunny weekday morning to learn how to play the rapidly growing sport
  • The KRV Pickleball Club has 140 members

“As you can see we only have two courts, serving 140 plus people and during the week it’s busy enough, but on the weekends it gets really busy here,” Harvey Feinstien, a member of the KRV Pickleball Club, said.

Harvey is a member of the KRV Pickleball Club, a group 140 members strong. He and other members have a vision of a public pickleball courts in the valley that could accommodate their growing club and bring in tourists.

Feinstein says that pickleball players travel long distances for tournaments, and with the KRV being the ‘Gateway to the Sierras’ tourists would come for pickleball tournaments and outdoor recreation.

“We could travel 200 miles or so to play in other tournaments and we are hoping to get reciprocal membership back here for our tournaments we hope to have if we can get these courts built,” Feinstein said, “Our goal is to try and get a complex built here of eight or more courts to accommodate not only our growing club but the tourist industry that comes up here on the weekend and is looking for games.”

Feinstien says pickeball helps bring people together of all-ages because it is accessible.

“ We have youngsters, as young as eleven, and as old as their late seventies that play, and we all play together, and they’re all very good,” Feinstein said.

Currently, the only pickleball courts in the valley are at United Methodist Church in Kernville.

While Feinstein says the club appreciates their support, the days the courts can be utilized are limited, and only having two courts makes tournaments unfeasible for the rapidly growing sport.

“Every week we have people inquiring about it, joining our club.”

People like 20-year-old Eli Wertz, who has been playing for a few months now.

“There’s a really good community down here, really nice people,” Wertz said.

The social aspect is one of the key draws of pickleball.

“The better players help the beginners, and we have no problem playing with each other,” Feinstein said.

Feinstiens words to the test, as he and some other members showed me how to play.

“It is easy getting started, and once you get started and you find competitive people, it’s easy to get addicted to it and stay into it,” said Wertz.

And although my team lost, I understand the addictive qualities of the game.

Feinstein says they have determined a couple of areas of land they could see the courts built at, either the old golf course, which is U.S Forest Service land, or near the Kernville Airpark, where Kern County owns land. They estimate the building for the courts will cost roughly 1 million dollars, and hope to seek grants to cover these costs.

Feinstein used to play hockey and tennis when he was younger.

“As this has come into my life it’s brought back a lot of those memories and some of those feelings of playing competitive sports again.”

Members of the KRV Pickleball Club told me that they're incredibly thankful for the support of the United Methodist Church in Kernville that allows them to use their courts.

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