The JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa expands its pickleball footprint with 17 professionally surfaced, world-class courts, including a Center Court with a 400-person capacity. And that’s not all!
With 17 state-of-the-art pickleball courts, including a spectacular Center Court, the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is bringing its A-game to Arizona’s newest pickleball paradise.
“Pickleball is an amenity that is every bit as important to us as our world-class spa, 36 holes of golf and beautiful pool environment—it fits right in,” says Steve Hart, General Manager and Area General Manager of the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort.
“We’re completely dedicated to promoting pickleball, but most importantly our guests thrive on their experiences here—families, couples or people who just want to get away. We have everything to offer, and pickleball is just another extraordinary opportunity to differentiate why you would stay here.”
Even the Four Diamond resort’s award-winning culinary team has caught the pickleball bug, offering pickle-themed catering menus tailored for private parties and special events including pickled fruits and vegetables, many of which are grown on the resort’s 20,000-square-foot Chef’s Garden.
In 2017, after attending the USA Pickleball National Championship in Casa Grande, Arizona, Hart was hooked on the sport. “We were flabbergasted by what we saw in terms of the number of people, the extraordinary courts, and vendors,” he recalls. “We fell into a trance watching everything that went on at this tournament.”
Hart also was struck by the wide range of players—of all ages. “The tournament was serious, but people were joyous as they played. It was festive and wonderful, and really brought to life what we needed to do here,” he says.
Serendipitously, in 2018, the resort was needing to resurface its tennis courts. But as a 950-room luxury resort, one or two pickleball courts didn’t fit the luxury brand. So it took three tennis courts out of service and converted them into 12 dedicated pickleball courts. “We’ve been having a ball with the sport ever since,” says Hart.
As the courts filled and the sport continued to grow, however, he wanted guests to be able to play pickleball at their convenience and on their own time frame. So, two more tennis courts were repurposed to create four additional dedicated pickleball courts. “Then we had a pickleball epiphany,” explains Hart. “To make the resort distinctively different, we created a center court. Whether we’re hosting a great tournament or our house guests or members are playing, it’s a way for them to say, ‘Maybe I didn’t win the championship, but I got to play Center Court!’”
In its 19th year, the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge blends everything it stands for with the capacity to play pickleball. “This wonderful sport is an incredible, natural fit for us,” says Hart. “It’s really fun, really dynamic, and it was taking advantage of space we had—bringing a whole new level of energy and enthusiasm.”
If you love to play pickleball or want to learn to play, the resort is the place to experience it, according to Hart: “We have all the equipment and amenities and delightful people who will coach you on the basic fundamentals. You won’t find a better opportunity to play within a luxury environment and with so many other options to enjoy your time at the resort.”
What’s next for pickleball at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge? Plans are underway to convert the three remaining tennis courts—under a pavilion. “If you’re staying with us during one
of the hottest times of year, you and your family can still play pickleball on a hot afternoon in the shade,” says Hart.
In a place that offers everything—from swimming pools and championship golf to mountain views and relaxing outdoor spaces—the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is a
bucket-list essential for the pickleball passionate.
The JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa hosted the top 100 pickleball players in North America during Pro Pickleball Association (PPA) Foot Solutions Grand Slam, which took place Feb. 16-21. Simone Jardim and Ben Johns ended the week by capturing the triple crown—gold medals in every event! What an incredible six days of play! With an exciting winning purse of $70,000, the tournament featured the largest prize money payout in Arizona history and was an unforgettable experience for pickleball enthusiasts. The event allowed 300 participants to safely compete during the weeklong tournament for locals and visitors alike.