New Rhythm & Rally Facility in Macon, Georgia, Draws Rave Reviews As Golden Ticket Host

The “world’s largest indoor pickleball facility” features 32 courts in a former Belk department store.

By Stephen Hunt
Red Line Editorial

As pickleball has continued its recent growth, the sport’s increased footprint has been especially evident in several ways. Of course, the number of picklers has increased accordingly along with sales of pickleball equipment and other gear.

However, one ancillary effect has been the opening of many sparkling, new pickleball-themed facilities.

One of these newest pickleball destinations is Rhythm & Rally Sports & Events in Macon, Georgia, which features 32 indoor, climate-controlled courts as well as lockers, showers and, soon, a pro shop. Located inside the Macon Mall, Rhythm & Rally opened to members in December 2023 and to the public on January 1, 2024, billing itself as “the world’s largest indoor pickleball facility.”

So, it’s only fitting that from May 29 through June 2, 2024, Rhythm & Rally hosted the eighth USA Pickleball Golden Ticket tournament of 2024, the UTR Sports Macon Open Golden Ticket Presented by HearingLife, and the facility earned rave reviews.

“The first couple days of UTR Sports’ first Golden Ticket event have been fantastic. The players are having a great time, and the level of play has been superb,” said Chase Hodges, vice president for UTR Sports, said during the tournament. “Hosting the event at a world-class venue like Rhythm & Rally has made everyone’s life — organizers, players, sponsors — easy and fun.”

The opening of Rhythm & Rally is the latest example of how Macon continues its strong push to be known as a true pickleball destination, the largest in the Southeast. In 2017, a local tennis facility was converted entirely to pickleball, and the number of courts dedicated to the sport across the central Georgia city has grown considerably over the past few years.

Another popular spot is the Tattnall Square Pickleball Courts, a complex of 26 dedicated courts near downtown Macon with plenty of restaurants nearby. The John Drew Smith Tennis Center also has six pickleball courts of its own.

Macon Mall opened in 1975 and at over 1 million square feet it was for many years one of the largest malls in the Peach State. However, like many malls, in recent years it lost its anchor tenants and became mostly empty. But projects like Rhythm & Rally, which now occupies two floors of a former Belk department store with its 32 courts and other amenities, have helped revitalize the former retail destination.

The 2024 Macon Open marked the facility’s first time hosting a Golden Ticket, the only guaranteed path for amateur players to secure a spot in the 2024 Biofreeze USA Pickleball National Championships set for Nov. 10-17 in Mesa, Arizona.

Champions at these marquee tournaments not only receive a nice fringe benefit — an exclusive opportunity to pre-register for nationals — but they also benefit from an unrivaled player experience, including an exclusive gift bag while competing at some of the best and most state-of-the-art pickleball facilities in the country.

Hosting these events at facilities such as Rhythm & Rally aligns with USA Pickleball’s joint goals of effectively governing the sport to meet the needs of its membership while also ensuring pickleball maintains its consistent growth, said USA Pickleball Chief Executive Officer Mike Nealy.

“Golden Ticket events are our marquee events, and of course are the path to qualifying for the Biofreeze USA Pickleball National Championships,” Nealy said.

“We want these events at great venues and throughout the country, and having one in Macon, Georgia, at such a fantastic indoor facility has really delivered. We’re grateful to the entire UTR Sports team for hosting such a fantastic tournament that has been smooth, well-run, and competitive.”

While this is Rhythm & Rally’s first taste of hosting a Golden Ticket event, it is not the Georgia venue’s first high-profile event. In December, it hosted the Southern Pickleball Association’s Georgia Candy Cane Classic, a holiday-themed tournament which attracted 650 picklers from 11 states.

And according to Steve Wong, USA Pickleball’s vice president of competition, Rhythm & Rally has proved to be a perfect fit for USAP and for what it looks to accomplish with its Golden Ticket events.

“UTR Sports and their team has done a phenomenal job with this tournament, and we’re proud to partner with them on the Path to Nationals,” Wong said. “This venue is a top-notch facility that has been a fantastic host for our community and players vying for a Golden Ticket.”

Stephen Hunt is an accomplished freelance writer and sports statistician who has been blessed to cover a multitude of subjects and sports in his time. He is a contributor to USA Pickleball on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

The post New Rhythm & Rally Facility in Macon, Georgia, Draws Rave Reviews As Golden Ticket Host first appeared on USA Pickleball.

*article is courtesy of USA Pickleball