Sunday, December 11, 2016

Pickleball Facility Grand Opening - Central Park, Plantation, Florida

Published December 11, 2016 -

Join the City of Plantation Parks & Recreation Department, along with the Plantation, Florida Pickleball Association, for the grand opening of 6 new courts on January 6, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.

They will also host a small round-robin tournament.  Pre-registration is required. There will be music, free raffle door prizes, and light refreshments.

Central Park
9151 N.W. 2ND Street

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pickled Peach Valentine Classic Pickleball Tournament


The Athens Area Pickleball Association will be hosting the 3rd Pickled Peach Valentine Classic Tournament at The Classic Center February 10-12, 2017.

Pickleball is a combination sport of ping-pong, tennis and badminton played on a miniature tennis court with an oversized paddle and a ball that is similar to a whiffle ball.

“We are thrilled to have so much support from the community and all of our sponsors,” said co-chair Diane Carroll.

“Our main goal is to generate funds in hope of acquiring a dedicated pickleball venue and court in our community,” co-chair Iva King explains. “The Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services has certainly helped in getting our sport out in view of the public.”

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Pickleball Tournament Raises Contribution to Ocala (FL) Domestic Violence Center


Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the United States.  It is commonly played in retirement communities which generally don't have much of an opportunity to compete against players from other areas.  The Rotary Club of Ocala Southwest organized a regional tournament hosted by the On Top of the World Pickleball Club in Ocala in early November.  The event attracted almost 100 players who enjoyed the competition and lunch.  More than $2000 was raised from partners, exhibitors and players for a donation to the Ocala Domestic Violence Center.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cocoa Beach Pickleball Inaugural Play

The Space Coast's 16th pickleball facility opened on November 2, 2016.

Cocoa Beach Recreation Center and Gym
321 Ramp Rd
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

Play Schedule:  Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12 noon – 3 p.m. and Saturdays, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

All skill levels welcome.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Englewood Price Reduction and Registration Deadline Extension

Due to increased sponsorship, the Englewood Classic III Tournament price has been reduced to $40 and the registration deadline has been extended to November 13, 2016!  (For those who have already registered at $45, you will receive a $5 refund.)

So let's review the details:

Tournament registration deadline:  Sunday, November 13, 2016

ProLite Skills Tune Up registration:  Sunday, November 27, 2016

Englewood Sports Complex
1300 S. River Road
Englewood, Florida

Thursday, December 1st –Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Thursday, 9am-6pm:  ProLite Skills Tune Up Day
Thursday, 9am-5pm:  Skinny Singles/ Practice Play
Friday, 9am-4pm:  Ladies Doubles
Friday, 6-8pm:  Free Social and Cookout
Saturday, 9am-6pm:  Men’s Doubles
Sunday, 9am-7pm:  Mixed Doubles

To register, click HERE.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pickleball, pet parks popular perks in Southwest Florida

Published October 16, 2016 -

It used to be that things like tennis courts and bocce ball were a must have in Southwest Florida communities, but now the popular perks are pickleball and pet parks.

Not only are new communities putting them into the plan, but older developments are adding them to their list of amenities.

When Neal Communities put together its new Watermark community it added pickleball and a pet park and many other Neal communities are adding those amenities.

“Pickleball is growing in importance,” said Leisa Weintraub, vice president of marketing for Neal communities. “As people start to include it in their communities, people will look all the way from Tampa to Naples at different housing options and they will start asking about it.”

CLICK HERE to read more.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

‘Cool’ pickelball now played at Genesis Center (FL)

Published October 13, 2016 -

LAKE PLACID –– The game called pickleball has swept the country. It’s a game often referred to as a mix of tennis, ping pong and badminton. It’s most popular with seniors, as it is easier on the knees and ankles compared to tennis.

Until recently, if you live in Highlands County you could only find outside courts and usually had to play early morning or evening to avoid the heat.

That all changed in mid July when First Presbyterian Church in Lake Placid opened its new Genesis Center to pickleball players. Making it even more attractive is Lake Placid residents no longer have to travel miles to find a court. And the biggest plus: It’s inside and air conditioned.

Sam Klatt, who manages the center, was approached by former tennis player Bill Putmam, along with Sam Lindskoog and his wife, Cindy.

“We sat down and worked out a plan to bring the sport to town,” said Klatt. “We hold many youth activities at the center, namely basketball and volleyball. We wanted to find a sport to serve the seniors. We purchased the nets, balls and paddles. Now we have 20 folks coming each week.” The players rotate so all get a chance to play.

CLICK HERE to read more.

City of Auburn (AL) adds pickleball courts

Published October 13, 2016 -

Over the last couple of years, one sport has been spreading rapidly in the United States — pickleball.

The U.S. Pickleball Association calls the game the fastest growing sport in North America. That growth trend was recently recognized by the city of Auburn, which opened two new regulation pickleball courts last week.

The new outdoor courts are located next to the Frank Brown Recreational Center, where a shuffleboard court was also built.

While many still don't know what pickleball is, they usually remember it by its peculiar name.

"The guy who developed it, his dog was Pickle," said Debbie Rusk, Auburn resident and pickleball player. "It's hard to tell what it is when you hear the name, but the guy who made it named it after his dog."

CLICK HERE to read more.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New pickleball, shuffleboard courts open in Auburn

Published October 11, 2016 -

Tucked behind Frank Brown Recreation Center and the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center, extra space for a quickly growing sport is open for play in Auburn.

Two pickleball and two shuffleboard courts opened to the public last week, inviting players young and old to test out and enjoy the sports every day of the week.

Becky Richardson, Auburn parks and recreation director, said the idea for the courts was birthed out of brainstorming ways to get more seniors in the area involved in programs offered through Auburn’s parks and recreation department. With pickleball’s popularity and national growth, Richardson said the courts have been used almost every day since they were opened.

“Our vision when we built the facility and did the fitness center and were on the same site with the arts center, is that, let’s say somebody wants to come and they can play pickleball, then they can go play bridge, then they could take an art class—there’s something that they could do pretty much any time of day. So that’s the idea behind it,” Richardson said.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Landings hosts first annual Special Pops Pickleball Open

Published September 17, 2016 -

Pickleball has officially arrived in Savannah, and if what took place Saturday at The Landings Club’s pickleball courts is any indication, the sport has come here to stay.

The Special Pops Pickleball Open is the first official pickleball tournament held in Savannah. The event’s 108 participants came from across the Southeast, with some players coming from as far away as Virginia.

Pickleball, a sport whose popularity is growing, combines elements from tennis, table tennis and badminton.

Ralph Ferrone, the executive director of Special Pops Tennis, couldn’t say exactly why the sport is growing so rapidly, but when you hear the passion with which he and other tournament organizers talk about the game, it’s clear to see that pickleball has plenty of “growing” coming its way.

“Unlike other sports like tennis or golf, this sport is in its infancy,” said Ferrone in between gulps of Gatorade after playing in a match of his own.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Annual Pickled Peach Valentine Classic

Play in the Annual Pickled Peach Valentine Classic Tournament, February 10-12, 2017, at the Classic Center in downtown Athens, Georgia!

This is a USAPA-sanctioned tournament. 

The Title Sponsor is HUMANA.

Competition will include age groups with ratings and open play for 5.0 players. Singles will be on Friday, Men's and Women's Doubles on Saturday, and Mixed Doubles on Sunday. 

Grab your Partner and Dosey Do(e)!

CLICK HERE to register.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

East Naples is now home to a pickleball academy – Naples Daily News

Published September 7, 2016 -

Want to learn pickleball?

Or just get better at it?

There's an academy for that — in East Naples (FL).

The U.S. Open Pickleball Academy has swung open for business at East Naples Community Park at Thomasson Drive, off U.S. 41 East. It's an outgrowth of the first U.S. Open Pickleball Championships held at the park in April.

The first "academy," or camp, will be held Oct. 7-10.

The head instructor is Simone Jardim, the U.S. Open singles champion. She will recruit other instructors certified by the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association for the camps.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Pickleball For All

Published September 7, 2016 -
 Florida is the vanguard of a movement that is sweeping the nation: the sport of Pickleball. It has taken speed beyond all bounds and few have known how to harness its force like Jim Ludwig. There are pickleball players. There are pickleball pros….and then there are individuals whom have become ambassadors of the sport, free of charge, donating their time and admiration for pickleball’s growth and prosperity. Jim has been a major proponent in bringing to Naples hundreds of designated courts, multiple USAPA (United States of America Pickleball Association) tournaments, as well as creating a nonprofit organization known as Pickleball For All.

This organization’s mission statement is to instill encouragement, integrity, strength of character and strong sense of self in mind, body and spirit. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation we have supported and will continue to support one of the many means with which Pickleball For All has worked towards accomplishing their mission statement: focusing on our youth.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Georgia Pickleball / Club 4.0


In developing the 2016 Summer invitational tournament, we sought to bring a new team effort to Pickleball competitive play. Rather than a round robin format we selected to use the example of team rosters. Where a team of 8 top tier players from their home locations would come compete head to head with other teams of the same caliber in the Atlanta area. We wanted to partner with an indoor climate controlled environment to allow Pickleball players the ability to play competitively during extreme mid-summer and winter conditions. We were excited in partnering with the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta to host this advance level of Pickleball play. This beautiful facility currently houses 9 indoor Pickleball courts that will allow us to continue to grow and invite additional teams to participate. When we opened up the tournament registration the rosters were full in less than a week. This was a clear example for the demand of advance play in the Atlanta area. Our plans are to grow this as an ongoing event twice a year in the months of early February and mid-August to not interfere with most outdoor tournaments being held in the spring and fall months. This year the teams represented were the YMCA Lawrenceville / Athens Team / MJCCA Center of Atlanta /& YMCA Norcross. We will be expanding to allow additional advanced teams for the 2017 Winter Invitational.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pickleball starts making inroads with younger players

Published August 24, 2016 -

Kyle Yates is proving that pickleball isn’t just for the 50-plus crowd.

Yates, 21, a Fort Myers native, is ranked No. 1 overall in the world and No. 2 in singles. He recently returned from playing in four tournaments in Washington and Oregon. He won gold in eight of nine events. At the U.S. Open in Naples last spring, he won gold in the men’s pro and 19-plus doubles divisions while earning the silver in men’s pro singles.

Pickleball has been around since 1965 but didn’t make much of an impression until 2008 when the game hit the senior market. Studies show 68 percent of the players are 60 and over.

About 2.5 million are playing the sport now in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Netherlands, India, England, Australia, China and Spain.

In the next two years, participation is expected to triple, according to the USA Pickleball Association.

Yates said a pro tour may start as early as 2017 and that USAPA has been working on a variety of programs to get youths ages 11-17 involved.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Special Pops organization to host pickleball tournament fundraiser

Published August 21, 2016 -

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Pickleball players will soon have the opportunity to compete and help a good cause.

The first Special Pops Southern Motors Pickleball Tournament is looking for participants.

The two day competition will be September 17th and 18th at the Landings.

The tournament benefits the Special Pops organization, which works with intellectually disabled people and gives them tennis lessons.

Organizers came up with the pickleball tournament when thinking of ways to raise money.

"Instead of every year, begging for money, we should start a program that would have ongoing capabilities, and we came up with pickle ball," said Special Pops Executive Director, Ralph Ferrone.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Grand Opening of a New Venue on the Florida Space Coast

The first day of Pickleball play at the Max K. Rodes Park Community Center in West Melbourne, FL will be August 22, 2016.  The session will run from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Park management is very excited about the prospect of Pickleball play at the Center.  However, before they jump in with both feet, they’d like to know that their commitment will be rewarded by the players' commitment.  In other words, if they see that we will be there ready to play, they will reward us with more courts to play on and more times to do so.

So...on Monday, August 22 between 9:00 a.m. and noon, PLEASE stop by Max K. Rodes Park, even if you don’t play that day. Check out the facilities, and before you leave, make sure you let them know that you will come back!

Max K. Rodes Park Community Center
3410 Flanagan Avenue
West Melbourne, FL 32904
(321) 952-3215


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Wake Forest embraces pickleball

Published August 16, 2016 -

WAKE FOREST (NC) -  By 9 a.m. on a recent Tuesday, the wait to play pickleball at Flaherty Park’s gymnasium had stretched to nearly a half-hour.

Aaron Cooke, 22, sat on the bleachers and watched three simultaneous games being played while he waited his turn. When he started playing the sport two years ago, Cooke said, the gym wasn’t nearly as busy.

“Now you come here and have to wait 30 minutes to play a match,” he said.

Wake Forest has embraced the growing popularity of pickleball, which is similar to tennis but is played on a smaller court with a paddle and a Wiffle-style ball. The town will build four outdoor permanent pickleball courts at Flaherty Park in the coming year, a $122,000 project.

Now, players gather at 26 basketball and tennis courts throughout town where crews set up pickleball nets and paint lines.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Read more here:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pickleball continues growth in the area

Published August 13, 2016 -

Aiken is now the place to go to play the game of pickleball, and it’s getting pretty big.
Whether someone is from the area or elsewhere in the state of South Carolina, for the past two years especially it has been the up and coming sport thanks to the folks at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center and the club team Pickledillys.

Odell Weeks hosted its fourth annual pickleball tournament this weekend, featuring doubles tournaments for men and women for 22 different skill and age groups. Several Aiken residents participated again this year, and people from ages 19 to 90 have been playing.

“It’s really expanded the last two or three years. We now have about 300 people who play pickleball here regularly,” said Aiken resident Marian Garcia, who took bronze in the 3.5:50+ Women’s Doubles tournament Saturday. “I want to thank the City of Aiken for making two gyms available to us. It’s really been fantastic and helping us to grow pickleball.”
CLICK HERE to read more.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Venice Community Center to offer evening pickleball

Published July 15, 2016 -

SARASOTA CO., Fla. (WWSB) - The Venice Community Center will begin offering evening pickleball on Mondays beginning July 18.

The open play session will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. each Monday. This is in addition to the morning open play on Monday from 9 a.m. to noon and the afternoon advanced play from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Seniors participate in Delray Beach Senior Games, quality for state competition

Published July 1, 2016 -

A total of 110 pickleball players from across South Florida recently participated in the 27th Annual Delray Beach Senior Games, a qualifier for the Florida Senior Games State Championships, which will be held Dec. 3-11, in Clearwater.

While the 2016 edition of the Delray Beach Senior Games was dominated by pickleball play at Pompey Park, 1102, NW Second St., and Delray Beach Community Center, 50 NW First Ave, events for basketball skills, billiards, bowling, Croquet, golf, swimming, racewalk and track & field, took place at venues across Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach.

“I started playing pickleball about two years ago. I would describe pickleball as mix of tennis, ping pong and racquetball,” said Jack Donadio, a resident of Palm Isles in Boynton Beach. “Pickleball is easier on my knees than tennis. I play about three times a week.”
Donadio won two medals in the competition.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Myrtle Beach Seaside Classic

The Myrtle Beach Seaside Classic will be held September 9-11, 2016, at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center in South Carolina.  The sports center is a beautiful indoor facility that will accommodate 25 indoor pickleball courts.  

The event will kick off on Thursday, September 8 with player clinics in the afternoon. A meet-and-greet dinner will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with great food, entertainment, and door prizes!

Singles has been added to this tournament and they will be played on Sunday, September 11. There is an additional $5 fee for the singles events.

You may register online at

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Georgia State Games Pickleball Championships

Pickleball Madness Heads for the Georgia Games
150 participants register for Championship event 

MARIETTA, Ga.— The Georgia State Games are excited to kick off the second annual Pickleball Championships this weekend at Kennesaw Mountain High School in Kennesaw, GA.

The tournament runs Friday through Sunday with singles starting at 12 p.m. Friday, doubles at 7 a.m. Saturday and mixed singles and doubles at 7 a.m. on Sunday.

Last summer was the first year Pickleball was offered as a Georgia Games Championship Event and has already grown to become one the largest Pickleball tournaments in the state in year No.2 , with more than 150 registered participants.

“We knew the sport of Pickleball was growing pretty rapidly when we introduced it last summer,” said Georgia Gamed Executive Director Eric Pfiefer. “We only opened it up to Georgia residents last year, but this year we have people coming from as far as New York, we’re really excited about how popular it has become.

The tournament will be a professionally operated event and will follow all USA Pickleball rules and regulations. Competition will be divided into six age groups and will be combined if necessary. 

Participants receive a Georgia Games t-shirt and a Pickleball Central drawstring bag as part of the registration fee. 

For additional information about the 2016 Georgia Games Pickleball Championships visit, or contact Wesley Long at or 757-593-7130.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Jaffe’s Jewish Jive: How I Got Pickled

Published June 15, 2016 -

Being one to stay fit and well read on topics of senior fitness, I wondered what all the fuss was about pickleball. I read that The Villages community in central Florida has 162 pickleball courts and a line to play starting in the early morning.

A combination of tennis, badminton and ping-pong,
pickleball started in Seattle in 1965. It’s a game for all ages; thus, it’s not so senior-oriented. You have to have quick reflexes and be able to move about the court.

Linda Cahn, an ex-tennis jock, said: “It’s a misnomer that Pickleball is for older people. I get a good workout, and it’s quick, quick, quick — and more fun than yoga.”

The serving is easy. The court is smaller than a tennis court, and you have to wait for a bounce before charging the net.

Learning about five basic rules is a priority and is not difficult. I was told about “the kitchen area,” a sometimes forbidden, lined-off rectangle close to the net. (I wonder if that term originated from men who want to stay out of the kitchen and not do dirty dishes.)

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Amazing Suncoast Woman: Babs Dembroski

Published June 8, 2016 -

Babs Dembroski will turn 89 on October 15th. But she's more active than most teenagers.

"I run every morning and then I do yoga and then I go to the gym to work out, then I do pickle ball."

She plays pickle ball several times a week since discovering it here at the Euclid, when she moved to Sarasota (FL) a couple of years ago.

"It keeps you young, it makes you feel good and keeps you active so you can meet a lot interesting people and get out of the house."

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Spring pickleball classic held in Towns County

Published May 26, 2016 -

The Georgia Mountain Spring Pickleball Classic was held at the Towns County Pickleball Complex in Hiawassee, Friday-Sunday, May 20-22. More than 260 players from the local area and from a dozen states traveled to Hiawassee for the event. Competitors and spectators traveled from as far away as Florida, Michigan and Colorado.

Volunteers from the Georgia Mountain Pickleball Club as well as several members of Hayesville's Mountain Lakes Pickleball Club assisted in setting up for the tourney and managing other activities.

Professional players presented clinics on Thursday prior to the tourney for players to improve their game skills. Nationally-ranked players Deb Harrison, Dee Ahern and Byron and Marsha Freso led the well-attended clinics.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

USA Masters Games: Big News!

USA Masters Games

Pickleball will be included for the first time as one of the sports at the USA Masters Games for the first time, July 22-24, 2016.  The Games fee has been reduced to $60 per person.  Registration is open through June 30, 2016.  Get in the Games today!

CLICK HERE for more information.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Atlantic South Regional Players Take Home the Hardware

From Regional Director Karen Parrish
What an amazing experience it was for everyone in attendance at the 2016 US Open Pickleball Championships! The Atlantic South Region showed that we are a force to be reckoned with:

Gold Medals – 33     Silver Medals – 41     Bronze Medals – 37

Congratulations to our very own District Ambassador Jim Ludwig and the Spirit Promotions Team of Terri Graham and Chris Evon as well as Creative Director and Social Media Director Johnathan Clay, Co-Tournament Directors Dan Whitley and Tom Utterback, and US Open Media and Hospitality Director Connie Martin in addition to the countless number of volunteers including referees. There aren’t enough words to say how much we appreciate your hard work and dedication and look forward to next year’s tournament. 

Pickleball was on the map before, but this tournament has launched us to the next level. For complete results and pictures make sure you check out their website at

IMPORTANT:  Play from the tournament will be televised on CBS SPORTS NETWORK on May 20 and May 23 at 7PM (ET).

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Goose Creek Pickleball Tournament

The first Pickleball Tournament held at the Goose Creek Community Center on April 28, 2016 was a huge success!  Twenty-six (26) teams, with players from all over the Charleston, SC area competed in the double elimination, random draw tournament. There were five (5) beginner teams, twelve (12) intermediate teams, and nine (9) advanced teams.

Beginner Division:

1st place: Kelly Bocock & Leticia Kenty

2nd place: Linda Crace & Jim Moseley

Intermediate Division:

1st place: Mark Cohen & Gene Borzendowski (our Recreation staff member who filled in last minute!)

2nd place: Mike Hutchinson & Charlotte Proper

Advanced Division:

1st place: Kim Fravhiger & Sam Shaw

2nd place: Paula Belfiore & Barb Doughty

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Funny name can’t dissuade pickleball’s loyal following

Published April 29, 2016 -

A little-known sport with a funny name, pickleball inspires a passionate following. Just look around the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships at East Naples Community Park this week.

Nearly 1,000 players have descended on Southwest Florida from all over the country for what is the sport’s largest tournament ever. It’s not only people in town, but entire pickleball clubs that travel nationwide to compete.

Groups from Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, Virginia and Utah popped their tents and flew their flags in East Naples Community Park on Friday. The clubs set up lawn chairs and dipped into coolers between the hundreds of skill-level matches during Day 3 of the U.S. Open.

“We all love the game,” said Mike Murphy, 61, who traveled with a group of six from Cleveland, Ohio. “We love the competition, and you need to travel to play the better players.”

While they came from all around to test each other, Sheena Maclean-Bell likely traveled the farthest to seek out top competition. The 39-year-old tennis coach crossed an ocean to be in Naples this week.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Published April 26, 2016 -

NAPLES, FLA., APRIL 25, 2016 – Eight hundred and thirty-five athletes will compete on 47 courts at East Naples Community Park in Naples, Fla. April 27 through May 1 for prestige and $25,000 in prize money in the first-ever U.S. Open Pickleball Championships while over 3,000 fans descend on the area, filling hotel rooms and RV parks in advance of the courtside action.

Pickleball is America’s fastest growing recreational sport and Collier County tourism officials and the pickleball championship’s promoters hope to make Naples and Collier County “ground zero” for pickleball, now played by more than 2.5 million people worldwide. The tournament agreement with the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau extends three years through 2018.

“The pickleball championship event brings national and worldwide attention to greater Naples and Collier County as a community that supports healthy lifestyles and offers a warm welcome and plenty of amenities for fans of this fast-growing sport,” said Jack Wert, executive director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau.

There are registered players from 39 states and eight countries outside the U.S. - the U.K., the Czech Republic, Australia, Aruba, Canada, Japan, India and the island city-state of Singapore.

Thousands of spectators and players are expected to fill the adjacent U.S. Open Village hospitality zone, the U.S. Open Expo vendor and sponsor tradeshow, and fill the 700 ticketed stadium seats at the Zing Zang Championship Court where pro pickleball players will battle it out for $25,000 in prize money. Ticket proceeds support the charities Pickleball For All (based in Collier County), the Macular Degeneration Partnership and the Conine Clubhouse at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.

To open the tournament on Tuesday, April 26, a press conference and ribbon cutting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., followed by a pro exhibition from Noon to 1 p.m. Following the pros, it’s Kids Day, with 75 local school children invited to learn the game. Open play and adult clinics begin at 3 p.m. The full tournament schedule gets underway on Wednesday with 2,100 matches played over a five day period. The tournament schedule is available online at

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pickleball: 21-year-old Kyle Yates of Fort Myers bringing national game to U.S. Open in Naples

Published April 23, 2016 -

For someone who had never heard of pickleball, Kyle Yates sure took to the sport quickly.

The first time Yates entered a national tournament, he walked out with a gold medal the same day. Just two years later, the 21-year-old Fort Myers native is one of the best pickleball players in the country.

At the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships, starting Wednesday at East Naples Community Park, Yates hopes to take home the tournament's top prize and the winner's check. One of the youngest players on the national circuit, he's also hoping to show the local crowd that pickleball isn't just for retirees.

"Pickleball gets a bad rap," Yates said. "When I started playing (nationally), I realized it wasn't an old person's game. The guys I play against are in their mid-20s and former college tennis players."

Yates has won more than a dozen titles at pickleball tournaments from California to the Midwest to the East Coast, all before he could crack a cold adult beverage to celebrate. Yates turned 21 just last week.

For once, Yates won't have to get on a plane or drive overnight to get to a national event. With more than 800 players, the U.S. Open in Naples is the biggest organized pickleball tournament is the sport's history. Yates expects to be on center stage just down the road from his hometown.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sun City residents organize pickleball tournament

Published April 20, 2016 -

The Low Country Pickleball Classic was held over the weekend in Sun City and the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Hilton Head Gateway campus.

More than 200 players took part in the event, including 57 locals. The round-robin format allowed each team to play four to five competitive matches, tournament director Reuben Oder said.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

East Naples (FL) Hosts Inaugural Pickleball Championship

Published April 17, 2016 -

The U.S. Open Pickleball Championships was founded by racquet sport professionals and life long athletes, Terri Graham and Chris Evon. Graham and Evon spent over two decades working for Wilson Sporting Goods in Chicago, where Graham was the Business Director for indoor racquet sports and spearheaded racquetball, squash, badminton, platform tennis and most recently, you guessed it, pickleball!

The two recognized the time was right for a world-class international pickleball event and in 2014 they started Spirit Promotions, LLC to organize the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships. To their delight, these Marco Island part time residents needed to look no further than neighboring Naples for the perfect venue. In January 2015 Collier County CVB signed on for a three-year commitment to host the tournament.

Donna Fiala, Collier County Commissioner says, “East Naples is the fastest growing community in Collier County. Hosting the fastest growing sport in America seemed like the perfect fit! We are committed to investing into this event and into the park to make it the best place for people to play! Kids, parents and grandparents are learning the game. It’s great for families and great for the community. We look forward to being a part of this event for many years to come.”

Graham and Evon teamed up with the local USA Pickleball Association District Ambassador, Jim Ludwig, and the three set to work in early 2015 to organize a world class sporting event. Ludwig is equally passionate about pickleball and founded the nonprofit “Pickleball for All” to introduce the sport to every school in Collier County and beyond. “The U.S. Open Pickleball Championships has opened doors to not only help us grow this charity, but to help us make Naples the pickleball mecca of the world!” says Ludwig.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fun sport, funnier name: Pickleball enthusiasts looking forward to inaugural championship coming to

Published April 14, 2016 -

Richard Nadeau was an avid tennis player for more than 20 years.

The Toronto native and part-time Naples resident had a number of back surgeries and couldn't effectively execute the overhead serving motion in tennis that had once come easily.

In a pickle, he turned to a sport with a peculiar name. Pickleball, a racquet sport blending elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton, is rapidly gaining popularity throughout the United States. Naples will soon be the sport's epicenter, with the first U.S. Open Pickleball Championships set for April 26 through May 1 at East Naples Community Park.

Nadeau, 63, said he's been playing pickleball since last January and can't get enough of it.

"I enjoyed tennis, but I've found pickleball to be much more addictive and fun," Nadeau said. "In tennis, if you have a really big serve, the rallies are short. You see some pros crank up a serve to 135 miles per hour and just blow the other guy off the court. In pickleball, the game is structured in such a way, that you have to rally. There's a tremendous amount of strategy involved."

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Atlantic South Regional Tournament

Congratulations to Regional Director Karen Parrish on another successful tournament!  The tournament was held this past weekend at the Mobile Tennis Center in Alabama.  The weather was beautiful and the venue was super.  Sixteen temporary Pickleball courts were set up on 8 of the center's 60 tennis courts.

185 players from 18 states played 344 matches.  There were 75 mixed doubles teams, 45 men's doubles teams, 36 women's doubles teams, 30 men's singles players, and 15 women's singles players.  The matches ran without a hitch under the management of Pickleball Tournaments (Melissa McCurley).  Spectators enjoyed seeing some fierce battles on the courts.

Referees got to experience calling the matches while sitting in the tall chairs used by tennis chair umpires.  What a different perspective!

The sponsors supported the event in grand style.  Paddletek, Pickleball Rocks, Pickleball Up, Engage Pickleball, WhipperSnapper, and Pro-Lite Sports had extensive displays of their products for all the Pickleball enthusiasts to peruse and purchase. 

In addition to all the great play, Joe Borrelli, District Ambassador for North Carolina Coastal Plains, received the 2016 Pickleball Pioneer Award.  Joe has done a phenomenal job of growing the sport in North Carolina.  Although Joe was unable to attend the tournament, he made an appearance by FaceTime at the reception on Thursday evening.

A BIG THANK YOU to all the volunteers who helped make this tournament so impressive!

CLICK HERE for the tournament results.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Local pickleball players trying to find place for burgeoning sport

Published April 8, 2016 -

The sport of pickleball has grown rapidly throughout the nation in recent years, and Cherokee County (GA) has not been exempt from that trend.

The Earley family’s farm has emerged as the area’s destination for top players, while neighborhood clubs have developed for beginners in communities such as Lake Arrowhead and Harmony on the Lakes.

However, with the rise of the sport — particularly popular with senior citizens — there has been a divide between those who strictly want to play recreationally and those who want more competition.

“There are really two groups of pickleball players,” Chip Hullender said. “There are people who want to come out for the fun, exercise and social aspects of it, but there’s another group who really are a little more competitive.”

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pickleball picks up fans in Decatur

Published April 6, 2016 -

Pickleball, a sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and ping pong, is picking up fans in the city of Decatur (GA).

Decatur Active Living Program Supervisor Portia Langley brought the sport to the city last year and said it has taken off. “It is gaining a lot of interest, not just here in Decatur, but throughout the state,” Langley said. “When I attend different conferences I see rec centers that are offering it. It’s definitely picking up some momentum, especially here in Decatur with our program.”

Langley said she played pickleball in college and when she started working with the city about a year and a half ago, she wanted to bring it to Decatur residents. She applied for and received a grant from the USA Pickleball Association which sent two free nets. Now residents can play for free at the Ebster Recreation Center Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. It’s free for residents and costs $3 for non-residents.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Women hold first pickleball shootout

Published April 2, 2016 -

In 2011, the South Central Florida Pickleball League was formed to give players in various communities the opportunity to test their skills against other pickleball devotees. Local teams have done extremely well with Highlands Ridge taking the league title in 2013, 2015 and 2016 while Tanglewood captured top honors in 2014.

Each team in the league put four doubles teams on the courts to battle for supremacy. Although women were more than welcome to play, teams seldom had more than one or two women on a team of eight players.

From time to time, the ladies from Tanglewood, Highlands Ridge and Del Webb-Orlando got together for fun tournaments. This year it was agreed that the women needed to take the next step and have a more formal competition. Recently the three teams met at Del Webb. Each team fielded four pairings ranked from one to four. The top two teams from each community competed in the Tier One round robin with each team playing against the other five teams in games to eleven points. The remaining teams competed in the Tier Two round robin.

In Tier One play, the Highlands Ridge team of Donna Landers and Sandi Cisler plus sub Susan Price and the Tanglewood pairing of Sandie March and Tracy Vernesboth took 50 out of a possible 55 points but the Ridgers were awarded first place having defeated the Tanglewooders in their match. Tanglewood’s Alisa Blackburn and Tracy Smith combined to take third place having accumulated a total of 46 points while Sue Schinderle and Ellen Nesbitt (a recent defector from Tanglewood) plus their sub, Susan Shaner, finished fourth with 43 points.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Pickleball easy to pick up regardless of age, athleticism

Published April 1, 2016 -

Invented on the west coast, pickleball shot across the nation in recent years and is now rallying a growing fan base in Neptune Beach.

The quirkily-named sport combines tennis, badminton and pingpong into a fast-paced game that can be played inside or outside. In Neptune Beach, however, pickleball aficionados — and pickleball amateurs — gather almost daily at Jarboe Park, which boasts the largest concentration of courts in the area. The outpouring of response since the beachside city began offering pickleball is unprecedented, according to the Senior Activity Center Director Leslie Lyne.

Coming in May, the city plans to hold its second pickleball tournament in Jarboe Park as a small fundraiser for the Senior Center. The event will be held May 14 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and city staff expects approximately 75 players to participate. Both the tennis courts and the pickleball courts will be unavailable for general use that Saturday.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Naples (FL) – World Pickleball Capital

Published April 1, 2016 -

Save the date! On April 26 Collier County will become the pickleball capital of the world when the gates open for the first-ever Minto U.S. Open Pickleball Championships.

For six event-filled days, America’s fastest growing sport will take Naples by storm when over 800 athletes compete for top prize money while thousands of spectators fill the hospitality village in East Naples Community Park. This premier event will feature special Gold Box seating, parties, live entertainment, charitable fundraising activities, a Kids Day, a unique Zing Zang Championship Court, and of course the greatest pickleball players in the world.

Saturday night CBS Sports Network will be filming the finals of the Pro Mixed, Women’s and Men’s finals. For ticket information contact,

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pickleball Tournament at the Goose Creek Community Center

The Goose Creek (SC) Community Center will hold its first Pickleball Tournament on Thursday, April 28, 2016. There will be divisions for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players. This is a coed, double elimination tournament with random draw teams. You must register in advance: $10 for Goose Creek residents, $12 for non-residents. Visit, email, or call 843-569-4242 for more information.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pickleball getting new South County home

Published March 29, 2016 -

VENICE (FL) -- On any weekday morning, it might be hard to tell that Sarasota County has expanded its permanent pickleball courts at By-Pass Park.

With about 100 players regularly volleying or just queued up to get into the next game throughout the week, the six new permanent courts at the Foxworthy Campus in Venice are almost always full, says Jack Beck, an avid pickleballer and game organizer.

Beck and Sarasota County officials showcased the new courts in a special ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday, along with a demonstration of the increasingly popular racket sport that crosses full-scale tennis with ping pong for a fast-paced game that's attracting droves of retirees.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Alabama Senior Olympics registration deadline nears

Published March 25, 2016 -

The Alabama Senior Olympics brings together hundreds throughout the state to compete annually in more than a dozen events.

This year's competition will be held April 13 through May 4 in Birmingham, and is sponsored by St. Vincent’s Health System, the Homewood Parks and Recreation Department, Hoover Parks and Recreation Department, Trussville Parks and Recreation Department, UAB Recreation Center, Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau and Governor’s Commission on Physical Fitness and Sports.

This year is a qualifying year in 19 sports to go to the U.S. National Senior Games, also to be held in Birmingham, June 2-15, 2017.

And the sport with the fastest growth? Pickleball.

CLICK HERE to read more.

US Open Pickleball Championships News Update

Published March 25, 2016 -

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

By-Pass Park to host grand opening for pickleball courts

Published March 24, 2016 -

SARASOTA COUNTY - Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources will host a grand opening celebration at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 29, for its newly designed outdoor pickleball courts at By-Pass Park in the Foxworthy Campus, 1101 Gulf Coast Blvd., Venice (FL).

This free event will showcase the six permanent pickleball courts and feature demonstrations from the Venice Pickleball Group, loaner paddles and balls for recreational play and light refreshments. The recognition ceremony will take place from 10-10:30 a.m., followed by open court time until noon.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mixed doubles take center stage

Published March 23, 2016 -

Pickleball, considered to be the nation’s fastest growing sport continues to attract new players, especially seniors, the target group of the Heartland Games. This year, pickleball drew the largest turnout of any event in the Heartland Games as it has in previous years. It was also the most popular sport at the 2015 Florida Senior Games.

The fact that the pickleball court is smaller than a tennis court, requiring much less running, isn’t the only reason for the sports phenomenal growth. The action is fast-paced and can consist of heavy hitting smashes or soft, controlled “dinking” where the players stay close to the net while dropping the ball just over the net. It is a great spectator sport as evidenced by the crowds watching the play in the Heartland Games pickleball tournament last Saturday and Sunday at the Sun ‘N Lake Racquet Club.

Pickleball has an appeal to both men and women and is a sport that couples can enjoy together. One third of the teams entered in the mixed doubles play were married couples.

CLICK HERE to read more.

By-Pass Park to host grand opening for pickleball courts

Published March 23, 2016 -

SARASOTA COUNTY - Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources will host a grand opening celebration at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 29, for its newly designed outdoor pickleball courts at By-Pass Park in the Foxworthy Campus, 1101 Gulf Coast Blvd., Venice (FL).

This free event will showcase the six permanent pickleball courts and feature demonstrations from the Venice Pickleball Group, loaner paddles and balls for recreational play and light refreshments. The recognition ceremony will take place from 10-10:30 a.m., followed by open court time until noon.  

This event is open to the public and a great opportunity to see this one-of-a-kind facility in Sarasota County and learn about this popular game.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Conway Recreation Center to host pickleball tournament this Saturday

Published March 10, 2016 -

It's a popular sport with a funny name and it's a growing trend along the Grand Strand.

The game is pickleball and it incorporates a court, paddles and a ball.

A mixed doubles tournament is being held in Conway (SC) this weekend at the Conway Recreation Center at 9 a.m.

The sport started four and a half years ago at the Conway Recreation Center, and popularity skyrocketed.

"Really in the last year, we've seen it grow to where we started with one court, now we have four courts at least five days a week," said Foster Hughes with Conway Parks and Recreation. "When people walk in they always ask, what is pickleball?"

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

U. S. Open Pickleball Championships – April 26 – May 1, 2016

Published March 9, 2016 -

First Ever US OPEN Pickleball Championships

The first ever U.S. Open Pickleball Championships begin April 26 through May 1st in Naples Florida. The US OPEN Pickleball Championships will not only have the most courts for one tournament with 48 courts, but it will also have the most players and spectators. According to Terri Graham, US OPEN Pickleball Championships founder, this tournament has more players registered than any other tournament in the history of the sport. With close to 800 registered players at this time, and still 5 weeks remaining to register, this is bound to be a historic event. It promises to display the finest players in the world before the largest crowds in the 700-seat ZING ZANG Championship court.

CBS Sports Network Coverage

CBS Sports Network will broadcast the Pro Doubles finals within 30 days after the actual event. With over 50 million subscribers, pickleball will be introduced to millions of people that will potentially become new players. The popularity of this sport is ready to explode and we are so excited to be a part of the growth process. Entertainment offerings abound, including the ZING ZANG challenge: two players hit as many balls back and forth as possible within a minute. There will also be a KID’S DAY on April 26th with 200 local elementary students and celebrities, a US OPEN VILLAGE where food and entertainment will be served, and an endless array of parties and music in the evenings. The US Open will be much more than a tournament; it will be a Pickleball Carnival!

CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Registration underway for Fifth Annual Pickleball Slam

Published March 7, 2016 -

SARASOTA COUNTY - Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources is now accepting registrations for its Fifth Annual Pickleball Slam, which will take place March 23-25.

This year's tournament will take place at three locations to accommodate more players and skill levels. Competitions will be held on the outdoor courts at the Englewood Sports Complex, 1300 S. River Road, and the indoor courts at Arlington Park, 2650 Waldemere St., Sarasota, and Laurel Park, 509 Collins Road, Laurel.

The slam will be an open play tournament, double elimination, United States of America Pickleball Association rules. Players may compete in up to two events in the men's, women's or mixed double's divisions. Cost is $10 for first event, $5 for second event.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Minto Communities named title sponsor of inaugural US Open Pickleball Championships in Naples

Published 7, 2016 -

Minto Communities has been named title sponsor of the first ever US Open Pickleball Championships (USOPC) to be held in Naples, April 26 through May 1, 2016, at East Naples Community Park. More than 1,000 athletes are expected to compete for top prize money. The US Open Pickleball Championships will be held in Naples for the next three years with the goal to make it an ongoing annual event.

According to USOPC founder and President Terri Graham, “We are very excited that Minto has joined us as title sponsor. It is the perfect partnership as Minto’s target audience is our target audience. Sixty-eight percent of Pickleball players are over age 55 so there is a perfect correlation between our audience and Minto’s homebuyers.” Graham notes that organizers estimate that approximately 10,000 spectators will attend during the Championships dates.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Brunswick County loves Pickleball, Wilmington is catching on

Published March 2, 2016 -


The game of Pickleball has been around since 1965. It originated in Bainbridge Island, Washington when two men decided to use an old badminton court to get their families out of the house and give them something to do. They couldn't find badminton rackets so they improvised and used ping pong paddles with a perforated ball.

More than 350 people are members of the Brunswick Forest Pickleball club. They play on brand new pickleball courts in the community almost every day.
The courts are similar to tennis courts but they are much smaller in size. Don't be fooled, the game can be very challenging.

"They say you're not really supposed to be doing a lot of running. If you're really good you're supposed to be at the net doing this kind of thing (pivoting with the paddle) said Nancy Camden, pickleball player.

Pickleball is played with a smaller version of a wiffle ball and a paddle, NOT a racket.

CLICK HERE to read more.

More than 150 compete in pickleball mixed doubles

Published March 3, 2016 -

After great play in the men’s and women’s doubles competition, 79 mixed doubles teams took over Tanglewood’s courts on Saturday and Sunday in the fourth annual Winter Classic Pickleball Tournament. Competing in 12 separate age/ability classifications, the players provided some very exciting entertainment for the spectators.

In some events, such as the upcoming Heartland Games pickleball tournament, competition is based solely on age. In the Winter Classic, as with many other tournaments, both age and the player’s skill level are considered. Pickleballers are rated from 2.5 to 5.0. The ratings can be based on prior tournament experience or simply a self-rating comparing oneself to a chart of skills. More and more 2.5 level players are stepping forward to test their talent in tournaments each year. By doing so, they are able to improve their play and provide some very exciting matches.

As in the doubles competition, locals performed exceedingly well in mixed doubles play. June and John Sproule of Sebring Village took gold at the 2.5 level with Joanne Tripkovic and Larry Colley, also of Sebring Village, taking home silver in the same category.

In 3.0 play for those 50 to 59, Tanglewood’s Alisa and John Blackburn earned silver medals. There were so many 3.0 players in the 60 to 69 bracket that they had to be broken into two double elimination groupings. Group A was swept by Tanglewood players. Finishing on top were Sophie Stoneman and Doug Aman. Leslie Ellis and Dan Pilliterri came in second while Marilyn and Glenn Bradley placed third. The B group saw Darlene Powers of Lady Lake partner with Don Crone of Tanglewood to capture gold. The 70 plus age group saw Karen Hensel and John Sonafrank of Lakeside Village in Lake Placid head home with bronze medals.

Pickleball tends to be played by older athletes with tennis being favored by more youthful competitors. Occasionally, relative youngsters show up to compete in pickleball tournaments requiring wide ranging age brackets. Such was the case in the 3.5 classification where Tracy Smith and Aart DeVos of Tanglewood walked off with a bronze medal in the 19 to 59 year old category. Barb Danklefsen of Crystal Lake and John Prentice from Sebring Village took silver in the 60 to 69 year old 3.5 bracket while Betty Schleis and Tom Stadler paired up for bronze in the 70-and-over group.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Winter Classic Pickleball Tournament held

Published March 1, 2015 -

SEBRING — Tanglewood held its fourth annual Winter Classic Pickleball Tournament this past weekend, drawing players from such places as Fort Pierce, Okeechobee, Port St. Lucie, Punta Gorda, Sarasota, The Villages, Venice and Vero Beach, as well as Avon Park, Lake Placid and Sebring. The event was coordinated by Nancy Meyers of Pickleball Specialties. Tanglewood’s organizing team was chaired by Tom Stadler who oversaw a very large group of dedicated volunteers.

Competition was by age and ability level. The rating scale goes from 2.5 (relative beginner) to 5.0 (expert). The number of participants in a particular grouping determined whether it was a round-robin or a double-elimination competition.

Men’s and women’s doubles play took place on Friday. It was a chilly start to the day but warmed up to a very comfortable temperature for pickleball. The wind did affect games as it sometimes played havoc with the light plastic whiffle-type balls.

Men’s play saw locals sweep the combined 2.5/3.0 competition in the 50 to 59 age group with Larry Colley and John Sproule of Sebring Village taking gold, Joe Doyle and Walter Finhert of Tanglewood capturing silver, while Kevin Butler of Sebring and Don Boltz from Tanglewood combined for bronze. Butler demonstrated great dexterity playing in a wheelchair against his able-bodied competitors.

CLICK HERE to read more.