How does USAP’s Pickleball Magazine determine top pickleball ‘paradises’?
The business of journalism.

September 14, 2021

The cover story of the September/October 2021 issue of Pickleball Magazine — the official magazine of USA Pickleball — is entitled “PIckleball in Paradise.” The first “paradise” featured in the article: Banning Lewis Ranch in Colorado Springs, Colo. The magazine refers to Banning-Lewis Ranch’s 16 pickleball courts as “beautiful”–part of the “amazing amenities” in the community.

It so happens that Dinkheads’ editors play at Banning Lewis Ranch from time to time. We are fans. The brand new eight-court facility at The Retreat subdivision (open only to Retreat residents) is gorgeous. But Banning Lewis’ other eight courts–the ones located at Vista Park–are aging. We enjoy these courts but were surprised to see them referred to in such a glowing manner in a cover article about the top pickleball paradises in the United States.

Here are some photos Dinkheads’ editors took of these courts recently:

These are not cherry-picked photos. All eight courts exhibit similar (or worse!) damage.

We can definitely attest to these courts’ utilitarian value. Unlike many of the other major facilities in Colorado Springs, the Banning Lewis Ranch courts at Vista Park are rarely crowded and are conveniently lighted. However, calling these courts “beautiful” is a stretch.

Now take a look at a few of the pickleball communities that were omitted from Pickleball Magazine’s feature article:

Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Sun City Grand in Surprise, Ariz.

Dinkheads reached out to Pickleball Magazine Editorial Director Julie Talerico to ask her why Pickleball Magazine featured Banning Lewis Ranch (listed first among all of its choices, no less!) in its cover article. No reply as yet; we will let you know if we hear back.

Just to be clear: We are not putting down Banning Lewis Ranch, which is a lovely community. What we are questioning is how USAP came to pick this community over so many others nationwide. Really makes you wonder what drives the editorial priorities and “journalistic” decisions of USAP’s magazine. Things that make you go hmmm…

Update: Shortly after publication Ms. Talerico replied to our email. Interestingly, she did not answer our question about whether her magazine received payment in exchange for favorable coverage. Nor did she defend her magazine’s characterization of Banning Lewis Ranch’s Vista Park courts as “beautiful.” The entire email exchange is below.

Ms. Talerico:
I am curious why you included Banning-Lewis Ranch in your cover story article, but not better-known communities such as Pebble Creek (Goodyear, Ariz.), Sun City Grand (Surprise, Ariz.), and Hot Springs Village (Hot Springs Village, Arkansas).  Attached are some photos I took this morning of Banning Lewis Ranch’s primary pickleball complex (the one located at Vista Park). Do you stand by your magazine’s characterization of these courts as “beautiful”? By any chance, did Banning-Lewis Ranch or an entity connected to it pay for favorable coverage?

Thank you,

Jesse Malkin

* * *

Hi Jesse,

Thanks for your email. As we state at the end of the article, there are many resorts that offer pickleball, and this is not the last article we will publish on pickleball resorts. I’ve already put the three communities you mentioned on a list for a future article we are planning specifically on pickleball communities.

Thanks again for your feedback.

All best,


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