LuAnn Thibodeau 

I must say that for the past year and a half or so, I’ve been intrigued by the sport of pickleball. So, when the assignment came my way, and I found myself getting ready to write about a new business in West Boylston, I was more than delighted. 

That new business is Rt. 12 Pickle, located at 184 West Boylston Street, in the Wachusett Plaza in West Boylston. The owner of the business is a gentleman named Ben Minsk. Ben, who retired from his job in IT and computer sales 5 years ago, began playing the sport of pickleball a couple of years ago. He would travel to Hanover to Pickles to play. He soon realized that there was a need for a place to play that was closer to the Worcester area, and the idea for the new business was formed. Ben said that the owner of Pickles offered to help him get started, as geographically, they wouldn’t be competitors. So, Ben hired him, and the work began. 

A location was secured, and after a lot of hard work, the indoor pickleball courts were ready to welcome players. The official grand opening, with both the Wachusett and Worcester Chambers of Commerce on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony, is February 15th

When I asked Ben about the game, he said “there are unique rules, especially in the scoring system”, and he also said that “there are great YouTube videos that explain it well”. He certainly wasn’t wrong in that- I learned a lot by taking his advice. In addition to learning the rudimentary basics, I asked about lessons being offered at the new club. Ben said that “there are currently five certified instructors who teach everything from the very beginning level to the intermediate focus level. And there is also the opportunity for private and semi-private lessons”. 

Asking Ben about the average age of the folks who seem to really be into the game, he said that the “demographic is 45-75 years of age”, but there are certainly many people who are outside of that range. “It’s a game enjoyed by young and not so young people”.

At Rt. 12 Pickleball, “a membership is not required to play at the facility”.  They welcome members as well as non-members to join in on the fun. But membership does have some perks, and are offered at different levels, including the founders’ level, senior level for those 65 and older, and student level. They are available with annual as well as monthly payment options. 

In addition to the 8 courts, there is also a practice “dinking” court. And for those who might want to just watch the game, there is a concession stand that offers drinks and light snacks. The beverages available include water, soda, sports drinks, beer, and hard seltzer. There is also a pro shop, where you can buy or rent the needed equipment. Rt.12 Pickleball is open from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday through Wednesday, and from 7 am to 10 pm on Thursday through Saturday. And you can also host a private event or party at Rt. 12 Pickleball. 

Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but I am ready, willing, and able to lace up my sneakers and head over to Rt. 12 and check out the new pickleball location. And the best part is that since everything is inside, the sometimes-tricky New England weather isn’t a factor. So, soon I’ll be crossing off learning to play pickleball from my bucket list, thanks to Ben and his staff. The only thing is- are they ready for me!

For more information, check them out on the web at