Pickleball courts are typically made of concrete, with some sort of synthetic coating that boosts performance and keeps the courts durable.
However, not all pickleball players who want to play pickleball in their homes will have a concrete court readily available. So, can you play on a grass pickleball court instead? The answer to this is a little bit complicated, but let’s get into it.
Is It Possible to Play on A Grass Pickleball Court?
Yes, but with some compromises.
Unfortunately, you can’t play traditional pickleball on grass because the pickleball simply can’t bounce well enough. The grass absorbs too much energy and stops the ball from bouncing, making traditional pickleball next to impossible to do.
So, what can you do? Well, creative players who still want something to play despite being at home have come up with a customized version of pickleball. “No bounce pickleball” is a type of pickleball where all the shots must be volleys. The ball can’t hit the ground, the net is higher, and the court is usually smaller.
What Does No Bounce Pickleball Mean for The Sport?
Let’s get this straight: no bounce pickleball is not the official version of pickleball and is not recognized as a sport among official organizations.
Does this mean you shouldn’t play it? No. Pickleball should be enjoyed by anyone and everyone, and if it means you have to twist the rules a bit in order to adapt to certain situations, then go right ahead.
The sport of pickleball originated as a make-shift, family game in someone’s backyard. So, there’s no reason for you to avoid playing pickleball, even if all you have to play on at home is a backyard full of grass.
That being said, if you do have access to some harder surfaces, a proper pickleball court surface beats everything else.
What Are the Best Pickleball Court Surfaces to Play On?
The best pickleball court surface to play on is one with a specialized surface coating like polyurethane or acrylotex on top of concrete or asphalt.
These courts have the best bounce, great cushioning for your joints, non-slip material to avoid injury, and many more features. We’ve already made a complete guide on this topic, so if you’re interested in finding the best pickleball court surface, check that out.
How to Play Pickleball on A Grass Court
For those of you who are still interested in playing pickleball on a grass court, here’s everything you need to know. No-bounce pickleball is an easier version of pickleball, although the factors for a good game depend largely on the state of your grass.
Wet grass is very prone to slipping and there’s nothing worse in the world than getting a papercut from grass. The very thought of it makes the hair behind my neck tingle, so I hope you listen to this warning with some importance. Grass burns or cuts take a long time to heal and they’re some of the most painful, searing wounds you can get. Ugh.
Grass Pickleball Uses a Smaller Court
Because the ball isn’t allowed to bounce in no-bounce pickleball, playing on a normal-sized pickleball surface is much harder to do. There’s less time to catch a ball before it hits the ground. Also, the grass surface doesn’t grip very well, unlike polyurethane- or acrylotex-coated court surfaces.
What you can do is you can shrink the court width and length by around two to four feet, depending on if you’re playing singles or doubles.
For context, a traditional pickleball court is 44 ft by 20 ft (13.4 m x 6 m). If you’re curious about the other dimensions of a pickleball court, we have a whole article about the topic.
Standing Nets for Pickleball on Grass
Having a low net makes it easier to score with spikes or smashes if you’re playing no-bounce pickleball. A downward strike straight to the grass is almost impossible to return, especially since the ball can’t bounce.
That’s why the standard height for pickleball nets on grass is around six feet. If you’re playing with people who are shorter than that, then for recreational play, the net should be the height of the tallest player.
The No Spike Zone
Spiking is still an issue for some pickleball grass courts, especially if the players are athletic and love jumping.
To fix this problem, the kitchen becomes the “no spike zone”. Any shots made in that area can’t be done overhead, in the same way, you can’t volley on the kitchen in traditional pickleball. This fixes the problem of playing against trigger-happy players who enjoy spiking the ball.
Overhead Serves Are Allowed
Overhead serves are legal when playing pickleball on a grass court. It helps provide enough momentum for the ball to clear the net, all the way from behind the baseline.
What Are the Rules to Playing No Bounce Pickleball on Grass?
The rules for playing pickleball on a grass court are pretty much the same as normal pickleball. The only exceptions are that the ball can’t bounce, the court is generally smaller, and the net is taller.
Outside of that, the scoring and penalties are all identical.
How to Make a Pickleball Grass Court
Having a lawn isn’t the only requirement for you to play pickleball on grass. You also need to mark the court properly, level the grass and ground to avoid injuries, and trim the grass for easier movement.
Marking the Pickleball Court on Grass
You can use a can of spray paint or sprinkle some chalk to mark your grass pickleball court. Just make sure that the spray paint isn’t toxic to the grass or to the insects around your lawn. Alternatively, you’ll want powdered chalk that’s very fine, so that they stick to the grass best.
Leveling the Grass to Avoid Injury
An uneven playing field is an invitation to ankle injuries and tripping.
Remove any big rocks or loose stones, add some dirt on uneven areas, and level your pickleball grass court so you can have a good time. It’s best to do this right after trimming your grass to a small height. This makes any unevenness much clearer and easier to see.
Trimming Your Grass Court Before Playing
Maintenance is usually the biggest problem people have with playing on a grass court. However, it’s not as difficult as some people make it out to be.
You don’t have to mow your court every week. Instead, simply mow your court before a scheduled game. Mowing will also warm up your legs and arms and get you in the mood for some outdoor sports!
Buy Some Poles for Your Net
The net on a grass pickleball court is much higher. Thankfully, a couple of PVC water pipes are cheap and strong enough to hold up a net over that distance. Sure, it isn’t the sturdiest setup out there, but it works.
If that’s not good enough for you, there are tons of options for portable pickleball nets you can look into on Amazon.
Is Playing Pickleball on Grass Okay?
Yes, it is okay to play pickleball on grass if you’re playing just to have a good time. In fact, since you’re already bending the rules a bit for grass pickleball, we recommend that you bend the rules even further to fit whatever makes your life easier.
Pickleball is a fun sport and should remain that way, even if you don’t have the necessary equipment to play it professionally. Make your own rules, and play the game that you enjoy.