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Why pickleball is the new golf for your business networking needs

January 12th, 2024 | 4 min. read

By Jen Azevedo

Professionals have always needed to utilize fun and engaging methods to build connections and collaborate with others on projects. Taking networking out of formal settings and into the outdoors helps put people at ease and facilitates friendships as well as business partnerships.

The golf course and country clubs have been the number one destination for movers and shakers, but in the last few years, the locale has begun to change from the putting green to the pickleball court.

If you are a business owner looking to network (and what business owner isn’t?), have you updated your strategy? You don’t want to get left behind by always looking for talks over the fairway. 

The Paseo Club is a social club in the Santa Clarita Valley that hosts a variety of services and amenities, including pickleball and tennis courts, fitness and Pilates studios, a junior Olympic pool, a cafe, and a spa.

In this article, you will learn about the latest trend in taking business meetings from the golf course to the pickleball court and the benefits of using pickleball as your next meeting destination. 

crop_comp_IMG-2698 (1) - Edited (1)Why do people take business meetings out of the offices and boardrooms? 

Networking with clients and peers is an opportunity to get to know each other and discuss how you can benefit one another professionally. Traditionally these discussions happen in a formal work environment. But a percentage of businessmen and women chose to take these talks to the club — the golf club that is.

There are many reasons why meetings can be more productive outside of the office and boardroom. 

  • Getting out of the office often creates a more casual setting that allows participants to relax and connect better with each other, which in turn assists with creativity and teamwork.
  • Being in a more neutral location can also impact the mindset of participants, giving them a space to build trust and communicate better.
  • Meetings that take place in the office are at risk for disturbances and distractions from colleagues and assistants. When you remove yourself from the office, it allows you to focus and give your undivided attention. (Especially if you put your phone on silent). 
  • A meeting away from an office is helpful if you need to be discreet.
  • Meeting out of the office can be a logistical necessity when you need to meet at a central location. 

compressedIMG-9236 (4)How did golf and country clubs become the prime destination for these casual networking meetings?

Although golf started in the 14th and 15th centuries, its rise in popularity as a corporate destination kicked off in the 20th century. 

Golf courses provide open space and a discreet location to discuss confidential business. Professionals appreciated that golf is a multi-hour sport, lending several hours of uninterrupted time to get to know one another. 

Golf clubs have several amenities, making the environment relaxing and luxurious. After a game, business can continue at the restaurant, spa, bar, etc. 

Golf has always been perceived as prestigious. If you were on the golf course, you were assumed to be a certain “caliber” person — wealthy, socially elite, and a great business person. For professionals who prioritize these shared values, golf was a great place to play, dine, and work.

Why is the pickleball court now the most popular place to network? 

Research shows that pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the US, and many of those picking up pickleball paddles are in the peak of their careers. Meeting at the pickleball court shows your guests you are health-conscious, active, social, and trendy.

Much like golf courses, pickleball is often located within clubs with many supportive amenities — pools, spas, dining and clubhouse facilities, and event spaces for private meetings. 

The needs of this demographic, whether in sales, marketing, law, hospitality, or another industry, remain the same. They need to be able to meet others, collaborate on projects, and build professional connections.

compressedIMG_7026 (1) (5)7 reasons why pickleball is the superior choice for networking

Pickleball offers unique attributes that meet the needs of businesspeople more now than ever.

1. Inclusive

Business on the golf course can feel less inclusive to working-class people or young people just getting started in their careers. Pickleball is more accessible, and you can meet people at all levels of business on the court — and let’s face it, so many great ideas and insights come from people who work at the grassroots. 

2. Addictive

The game is fast-paced and a lot of fun — most people who try it get hooked straight away even if they aren’t the sporty type. 

3. Affordable

The costs associated with pickleball are considerably lower than golf, making it more accessible and inclusive to more people. 

comp_Colton in the kitchen (2)-min (1)4. Pickleball is hip

Since pickleball is gaining so much popularity, it is seen as the trendy sport to play  — relegating golf as the more outdated choice. 

5. Upbeat culture

There is a lot of competitiveness in pickleball, yet the overall culture is focused on fun. Business meetings riddled with laughter create more camaraderie, trust, connection, and engagement.

6. Accessible to newbies

Pickleball isn’t as technical as golf. It is an easier game to learn, making it more accessible to more people. You don’t have to have years of training under your belt to be a decent player. Pickleball is made up of newbies and people of different ages and fitness levels.

7. Great for when you are pressed for time

Pickleball games are shorter than golf, so if you don’t have a full day available to play a game of golf you can meet over pickleball for as little as an hour (or longer if you wish). Efficient and productive!

Comp_LAFirefighter_Pickleball2Making the most out of your networking

Business is not just about the bottom line. It is about relationships. Nobody understands that better than the Paseo Club. We have areas for you to work out, eat, drink, relax, and host meetings, parties, and other corporate events. 

Learn more about our pickleball program — drop-in play, drills, leagues, and tournaments. Or if you want to host your own corporate gathering or pickleball networking event at the club, reach out to our event coordinator to get all the help and advice you need. 

The Paseo Club offers over 60 fitness classes per week, plus small group and private training for when you are looking for more personalized guidance. Jump into our tennis or Masters swim program if you want to diversify your activities.

If you haven’t yet visited the club, come in for a tour. See all eight acres of our facilities and meet staff, instructors, and members.
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Jen Azevedo

Jen Azevedo is a tennis professional, pickleball professional, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the general manager of the Paseo Club. She loves the community at the Paseo Club and that it is also a safe and fun place for her daughter. Jen’s favorite activities are joining her tribe for trail races or her partners for tennis matches. Occasionally Jen slows down to relax with a book — she reads over 100 a year!