Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ave Maria neighborhood pickleball paradise

April 28, 2012, Ave Maria, FL,

Residents of Del Webb say pickleball makes their community special and unique. They love the sport and the friendships they have made on the court.

“It’s a great game,” said Joe Rivera, a Del Webb resident. “It’s just a game for everyone. I think it’s going to be the dominant game before long.”


Friday, April 27, 2012

Pickleball makes the news in South Carolina

The "Pickleball" Craze! 
(Apr 27, 2012 Sun City Hilton Head, SC,

Sun City resident Tom Kopytko and Sun City Pickleball Club president Michael Wallick say it's a sport the almost anybody can play. It's played on a court the size of a volleyball court, with a ball that resembles a wiffleball.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Del Webb Ponte Vedra Spring Tournamant

Submitted by: 
Bob Dean, Ambassador
Ponte Vedra, FL

"I wanted to send you photos from our in-house Spring Tournament April 21, 2012 from Del Webb Ponte Vedra, FL.

 We had 6 mens teams, 6 womens teams and 10 mixed teams. The round robin format proved to be very popular, as it allowed every team to play every team and kept the tournament moving fast.

 We enjoyed great snacks, camaraderie, and wonderful weather completing the last game just as the rain sprinkles started!

The First and Second place teams are as follows:


Mens First place:

Larry Hutton / Don Kracker

Mens Second place:

David Herring / Ken Lanifero

Womens First place:

Gwen Iyobe/ Beverly Lovings

Womens Second Place:

Pam Herring / Pamela Peters

Mixed First place:

Michael Harris / Judy Dean

Mixed Second place:

Harlan Barbe/ Beverly Lovings
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pickleball at the Long Center

The Long Center is one of the newest places to play pickleball in Florida and is located in the Tampa Bay area in the city of Clearwater. Susan Forget, of Ontario Canada is one of the main reasons that pickleball was introduced to the area. She winters here in Florida and wanted a place to play and the information reported below was submitted to us by Susan.
"On March 12, we held our FIRST TOURNAMENT. By just spreading the word around among players we know, we had 54 players registered; 10 women's double, 15 men's double and 20 mixed double. We did not expect such a crowd, even though we were very pleased with it. The tournament lasted all day. Everybody was tired, but all the players were pleased with our facilities and enjoyed the double elimination format.
Here are the winners of our March 2012 tournament:
Men’s Doubles: Stu Kennedy and Keith Reynolds

Mixed Double : Keith Reynolds and Cheryl Kinnebrew

Women’s Doubles : Cheryl Kinnebrew and Mitsuko Onisihi
We are now playing 4 days a week : Monday, Wednesday and Thursday morning from 9:00 to noon,  Friday afternoon from 3:30 to 6:00 pm and STARTING MAY 22ND, we will play TUESDAY NIGHT from 6:00 to 8:30 pm  .We will keep that schedule all summer.
Players who join our group are added to our e-mail list and when ever something comes up and we can't play we send out an e-mail to everyone. We also have a player, Alan Butler who just started an Advanced League for 4.0 players and up. This league plays a round robin format once a week on Wednesday from 11:00 to 1:30 pm.
It has been a great winter for us at The Long Center.  For the summer Bob Cicetti will be the person in charge and keep Pickleball going.  Bob and I love the game so much, we want to keep it here at The Long Center."

The players at the Long Center were fortunate to be interviewed on Fox news, and hope that more and more people who listened to the show will come and try the game. And Susan has this to say to those of you tennis players wondering if you should learn to play:
"for those who used to play tennis, THIS IS THE 2nd GENERATION OF TENNIS!"
. For those of you who missed the FOX 13 segment on Good Day Tampa Bay

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cherokee County Senior Olympics comes to Lake Arrowhead, GA.

Submitted by
Bill and Carole Hess,
Lake Arrowhead, GA

On April 20, 2012, Pickleball became the first Senior Olympic event to be held in Lake Arrowhead. Twenty three senior players from north Georgia braved a wet morning to play in this event held on the new Pickleball courts at the Red Cloud Sports Complex.

Competition was held in beginner, intermediate, and advanced divisions. A round robin changing partner every game format was used. Division champions were: Beginners: Jim Bennet, Intermediate: William Criswell, Advanced: Dr. Tom Earley.


Back Row: John Chastain, Vic Alcott, Joe Coppolo, Jim Bennet, Steve Dun, Bob Mathews, Ken Riordon, Steve Conner, William Criswell, Chuck Fahn, Tom Heppel, Ken Terrell, Bill Marshall
Front row: Bill Hess, Carole Hess, Ann Earley, Judy Vonesh, Jill Conner, Pat Dunn, Tom Earley, and Wayne Page.

North GA Pickleball Club player Ann Earley adds: "This was the first time a tournament was held at the Lake Arrowhead Pickleball and Tennis Courts.  Despite the morning rain, I think it was a success....  Special thanks to tournament organizers, Bill & Carole Hess who did the lion’s share of the work."

Saturday, April 21, 2012


While the pickleball group at the Racquet Center has certainly grown close, they encourage anyone to come out and bring their paddle. “The beauty of this game is that pickleball players travel with their paddles. So we have a lot of visitors from other states who come in and play while they’re here,” states Rodgers.

Pick up a paddle today and head to the Marco Island Racquet Center at 1275 San Marco Road. For questions about rates and play give them a call at (239) 394-5454.   READ MORE

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pickleball thrives at Sun-N-Fun RV Park

Submitted by
Marcia Bingham,
Ambassador, Wilmington, NC
Pickleball thrives at Sun-N-Fun (SNF) RV Park and Resort in Sarasota, FL. John and Roberta Hirth, affectionately known as Mr. and Mrs. Pickle, are the driving force behind the tremendous growth.

PB was initiated at SNF six years ago when Jack
Koenig, a retired physician, rigged up some nets, put down some chalk lines on the cement floor of the pavilion and encouraged folks to give it a try.

The Hirths, who spend 6 months of the year at SNF, got behind the sport at SNF in 2008 and pickleball really blossomed. They developed schedules, organized events and just recently drafted plans for additional courts to submit to management. With a cadre of other volunteers and the support of SNF management, SNF has become a destination for pickleball.

In addition to those three original courts, which now have painted lines and official nets, there are six new dedicated outdoor courts. Volunteers hold a clinic once a week for beginners, so that new players can become comfortable before heading out to the open social play where players of varying abilities have the opportunity to play together. Open social play for all ability levels is scheduled four mornings a week; one morning a week is set aside for advanced play, one afternoon each week is reserved for ladies social play and one evening, under the lights, for social play. In addition to the scheduled play times, everyone is invited to use the courts at other times as well. Supplied by management, there is plenty of quality equipment available.

The 2008 roster had 71 names when the Hirths took over from Jack Koenig. In the four years from 2009 through 2012, 605 new players have been taught at the beginner clinic – 196 in 2012 alone. There were 272 people registered to play in 2012, almost exactly half men, half women as has been typical. In addition unofficial tournament play was initiated in 2011.

The second SNF unofficial annual tournament was held over Valentine’s Day this year with Mr. and Mrs. Pickle as Tournament Directors. Twenty-two teams played 15-point doubles matches in two divisions, each in a separate double elimination format. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to the top teams in each division at a Potluck Dinner following the tournament. Interestingly, five of the twelve medalists first learned to play pickleball just this season at SNF.

While not “official” ambassadors of the USAPA, The Hirths epitomize the role of the ambassador. With the help of many other volunteers and support from management, they have created an inclusive environment for players of all ability levels that encourage sportsmanship, camaraderie, skill development and fun.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dedication of Daytona Beach Shores Courts

Submitted by Anita Rimler, Ambassador, Daytona Beach Shores

"On Tuesday April 10, The Mayor of Daytona Beach Shores , Harry Jennings unveiled a plaque dedicating the new pickleball courts in McElroy Park.  Mayor Jennings was proud to announce  that not only were these the first and only, newly constructed pickleball courts in Volusia county but also the first public/private partnership in Daytona Beach Shores 54 year history.

Surrounded by a large very enthusiastic crowd of pickleball players,The Leo and Lydia Amiel Pickleball Courts became a reality  .As you can see from the picture below the final painting is being completed.
The play on the courts is expected to begin by next week.  Play in the area started with 6 people a year ago and has grown to more than 40.  In addition this dedicated group of players has done demonstrations in the adjoining counties and helped start pickleball in Port Orange and Ormond Beach with a demonstration planned on the 26 the April in Deland . 

 A lot has transpired in a year thanks to Roni Jackson and Mike Pascale and the foresight of our Mayor and City Council."

A few of the local players take to their current lined courts to play a few games, waiting for the final touches on their new Leo and Lydia Ameil Pickleball Courts.


  A special thank you to George and Anita Rimler who contributed significantly to making these courts a reality in memory of Anita's parents - pioneers of Daytona Beach Shores, FL

On April 16th - the players were enjoying their brand new courts. 
CLICK HERE for all the pictures of the court's dedication.

Pickleball in Sun City Carolina Lakes .....and Hilton Head Island

Submitted by Jane Harvey
Ambassador, Indian Land, SC

With an active group of over 400 players, the Pickleball Club in Sun City Carolina Lakes is one of the most popular groups in the community.  This past winter, we were able to avail ourselves of an indoor venue at the Leroy Springs Recreation Center in Fort Mill.  In January, we offered beginners' lessons. Mild as our winter was this year, we all enjoyed playing indoors when it was cold and rainy outside.

USAPA members Roy and Marlene Williams, and Fred Harvey graciously assisted at our classes for beginners. Several of our newest players joined the USAPA, too. One of our newest players, Byron Parrish, from our indoor class, (standing, 3rd from the right), joined the USAPA and hopes to hook up with an ambassador in Virginia.  In his eighties, Byron is a tennis player who wants to introduce pickleball to his Del Webb community there.

In March, we again offered our popular Pickleball 102 class for folks who want to move from beginner to more competitive play.   And USAPA member, Sharon MacKenzie, who has 30 years experience coaching and teaching physical education, led a new class called Pickleball forRookies.  Our goal was to encourage folks who are not natural athletes to try pickleball in a safe, progressive learning environment.  Even though I've been playing for 4 years, I learned a lot about maintaining balance in her class and went home after each session with tired knees.

At the end of the classes, USAPA “pros” Luis Burgos, Fred Harvey, Ed Born, Bernice May, and Sherri Bruton paired up with the rookies for our first ever Sun City Pro-Am Tournament.
 Perhaps most exciting for us was to be invited to teach pickleball at a nearby community, Four Seasons in Ft. Mill, SC.  Thirty people showed up for the introduction, and we have been holding skills clinics weekly. Our contact, Marge Kitterman reports that the PB court is always busy and there are now more pickleball players than tennis players!

I am also pleased to tell you that in April we visited our friends,USAPA Ambassador Don and Mary Wheeler, who are working incredibly hard to get a pickleball program going on Hilton Head Island.

Don and Mary dutifully chalk four courts five days a week, set up portable nets, and install “Border Patrol” barriers to reduce the number of balls that need to be chased. They have developed a very devoted and appreciative following. Hopefully, some day, the Rec Dept. will find space to dedicate to “real” pickleball courts.

We were joined by friends and fellow USAPA members Joyce and Richard Henzel, from Webster, NY, for a reunion of sorts. The six of us used to play in NY on chalked tennis courts before anyone else had heard of  pickleball.

It was a special treat to reunite with old friends from NY on the courts in Hilton Head. Left to right, that's Joyce Henzel, Fred and Jane Harvey, Mary and Don Wheeler, and Richard Henzel.

Here's Don, toting one of the ball barriers.

Mary's carrying portable nets at the end of the play time.  Joyce holds the pickle jar which is used to collect donations to help defray the cost of nets and chalk.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pickleball at Long Center with Fox 13's Charlie Belcher

 Charlie Belcher of Fox 13 in Tampa, Fl  recently visited the seniors playing pickleball at the Long Center in Clearwater Florida.  Thirty minutes of pickleball news aired on the Good Day Tampa Bay morning show.    

CLICK HERE - for more videos from this location with Charlie Belcher.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

More Pickleball Growth on Florida's East Coast!

It wasn't too long ago that  Ambassador Scott Nelson reported on the phenomenal growth of pickleball players and places to play along Florida's Space Coast.  But the most recent explosion is taking place a little further up along the central east coast, specifically in Volusia County.

Anita Rimler, Ambassador -  Daytona Beach Shores has this to say: " Daytona Beach Shores Pickleball Players , the first area in Volusia County to start Pickleball has  reached out to our sister area's, with demonstration in Port Orange, at their newly lined courts. 

They have another demonstration planned to kick off Ormond Beach's newly  lined courts and later next month they will travel to Deland to kick off their new courts.  What fun to have so many new places to play and so many new people in our area love'n Pickleball" !!

On April 10th at 10am The Lydia And Leo Amiel Pickleball Courts will be dedicated in The Shores.  Anita and her husband George have contributed significantly to the county to erect these courts as a memorial to her parents, pioneers of The Shores. " We now have 20-30 regular everyday players.    Pictures will follow."

Ambassador Cathy Stansbury - Daytona Beach  shares some recent news!

 “Here are a few new things happening here. March 24, Pelican Bay Pickleball Club had a round robin and potluck. We limited it to 20 people and were able to use our 4 courts, so there wasn't a lot of waiting to play. However, people were rather tuckered out after playing 5 rounds with only one sit out. The winners from each court played a round robin, to determine the overall winners, who received cash for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place. Our club is open to anyone in Daytona Beach to play free until May 1. Because of the number of people who have been coming from outside our development, there has been an increased interest in the sport within our development. I think I have over 70 names on my list and more are showing up on our regular scheduled days, Tues, Thurs and Sat.

Also Channel 6 out of Orlando came out to video about 30 players at Pelican Bay and did a pickleball segment on their nightly "Making a Difference" segment. CLICK HERE to view this segment.

And Both Anita and Cathy provided information and pictures on these two recent events.  We'll wait to hear more from Anita on the Grand Opening and the upcoming demonstration in Deland.

Port Orange

The Adult Center on 4790 South Ridgewood Avenue, Port Orange, has now lined their two tennis courts for pickleball. On March 29th there was a demonstration at the Adult Center. There were about 25 people.  These pictures were taken by the center's supervisor. Several players gave a demonstration and an experienced player gave lessons.

Those attending were given the chance to play with paddles that are available at the center. Everyone had a good time and plan on coming next week to play. They have scheduled Wednesday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 for regular play and Port Orange is listed now in "places to play.

Ormond Beach:
And as reported in the Daytona Beach News Journal, The Nova Community Center at 440 N. Nova Road in Ormond Beach, offered a free Pickleball Clinic on Monday April 2nd from 9 to 11 a.m.

 Mike Pascale (pictured giving helpful hints to the group before they take to the courts) and several players from Daytona Beach Shores provided a tutorial of the rules and a demonstration of how the game is played. This was followed by open play. About 25 avid learners now know about pickleball and are excited to play on their new indoor courts.

The Center is open to pickleball Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 and is free to residents of Ormond Beach.

It's great to see pickleball expanding along Florida's east coast!!!