Pickleball Magazine: Pickleball in Paradise

Pickleball Magazine: Pickleball in Paradise

Cover story for the Pickleball Magazine September/October 2021 Issue. Read the full issue HERE.

Pickleball in Paradise

By Laura Gainor

As the fastest-growing sport in the country continues to expand its footprint, vacationers are choosing travel destinations with pickleball in mind. So, if you’re looking to play pickleball in a little bit of paradise, here are just some of the amazing destinations waiting for you.

Banning Lewis Ranch

If you’re looking for a master-planned housing community to surround your growing family with breathtaking views and award-winning schools, or you’re seeking a retirement community to fulfill your desire for an active lifestyle that includes playing pickleball every day, be sure to check out Banning Lewis Ranch. Banning Lewis Ranch is the fastest-growing community in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with 75+ acres of trails and open space, community parks, water park, and community centers with amazing amenities, including 16 beautiful pickleball courts.

Banning Lewis Ranch offers leagues and regular programming-eight in Vista Park open to the entire community and eight newly opened courts exclusively available to residents of The Retreat—Colorado Springs’ first 55+ active adult, resort-style community, and private enclave within Banning Lewis Ranch.

For more details, visit BanningLewisRanch.com

Horseshoe Bay Resort

Just 45 minutes west of Austin, Texas, the Horseshoe Bay Resort is nestled next to one of the most “Instagrammed” beaches in the Texas Hill Country overlooking Lake Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ). The upscale resort offers a unique lake resort experience, featuring eight pickleball courts, championship golf on three courses, casual and upscale dining overlooking Lake LBJ, fun family activities on the water or s’mores next to the fire, and annual entertainment and food events such as the Beer by the Bay Music Festival.

Whether you’re visiting the resort as a guest or joining The Club as a member, the resort offers daily lessons and clinics with on-site IPTPA-certified instructors Get your doubles partner and book one of the resort’s Ultimate Pickleball Weekend Camps, which includes a two-night stay, nine hours of professional instruction and supervised match play, lunch on Saturday followed by beer and wine, pickleball drills on Sunday morning paired with mimosas and Bloody Marys. A pickleball enthusiast’s dream vacation!

Visit hsbresort.com to explore the resort’s amenities and view the upcoming calendar of events.

JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

The JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa saw the opportunity early on to create a pickleball getaway like no other for the avid players, as the number of pickleball players continued to increase year over year.

The 17 pickleball courts, plus an expansive center court with a 400-person capacity, offer spectacular views of the gorgeous Arizonian desert. On-site private lessons, daily clinics, group one-on-one instruction and ball machine rentals provide pickleball enthusiasts the opportunity to improve their competitive game, or simply join in on some pick-up games. With the new USA Pickleball corporate offices onsite, you never know who you’ll get the opportunity to play against!

While staying at the resort, guests can also enjoy the endless relaxation serenities at The Revive Spa, sip a cocktail inside one of the poolside cabanas, join friends on one of the two picturesque, 18-hole Championship courses and learn about the Arizona history, flora and fauna on a leisurely trail walk or bike ride.

Visit Marriott.com for details on JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.

Las Vegas Plaza Hotel & Casino

Stunning, picturesque pickleball, Las Vegas’ best tourist entertainment, and incredible city view is what the Las Vegas Plaza Hotel & Casino has to offer. It’s a stop you don’t want to miss on your pickleball vacation tour.

As a host to one of the largest pickleball tournaments of the year, the Las Vegas Pickleball Open, the Plaza Hotel has 12 permanent pickleball courts and one championship court, which is convertible to four temporary tournament level courts.

In addition to its outstanding pickleball amenities, guests can enjoy all the best that a Vegas experiences a vacation has to offer including the casino festivities, bingo, and the 70,000-sq.-ft. pool deck, giving plenty of space for relaxation and entertainment. Plus, right next to the pickleball courts!

Visit PlazaHotelCasino.com for more information and a full list of upcoming entertainment events and pickleball tournaments.

Latitude Margaritaville

With Pickleball being a major part of the brand’s DNA, Margaritaville—the global lifestyle brand inspired by the songs and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett—is the title sponsor for the USA Pickleball National Championships. In addition to Latitude Margaritaville 55-and-better-communities, developed with Minto Communities, it has courts at a few resorts including Margaritaville Lake Resort—Lake Conroe, and the soon-to-open Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana.

Latitude Margaritaville communities are located in Daytona Beach, Hilton Head, and Watersound in the Florida “panhandle.” These active adult communities offer pickleball clinics and lessons, and feature 10 courts each.

Latitude Margaritaville offers an irresistible concoction of fun, food, music, and friends. Amenities include a state-of-the-art Fins Up! Fitness Center with indoor whirlpool and lap pool; Latitude Bar & Chill restaurant; lagoon-style Paradise Pool with beach-like entry and swim-up Tiki Island; and Changes in Attitude poolside bar, along with nature trails, pickleball and tennis courts, and a Barkaritaville Dog Park.

Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach residents even have their own private Beach Club on the Atlantic Ocean, with shuttle service from the community to the beach and back. Phase Two amenities open soon and include a Workin’ N’ Playin’ Center with arts & crafts and multipurpose rooms; Last Mango Theater for performances, dances, and banquets; Hangar Workshop for golf cart tune-ups; even more tennis courts, pickleball courts and bocce ball courts with lighting for night play; and a Barkaritaville Pet Spa.

For more information, visit LatitudeMargaritaville.com and MargaritavilleResorts.com.

Minto Communities / The Isles of Collier Preserve

Minto Communities has been ahead of the curve from the early emergence of pickleball to it becoming one of the nation’s most popular sports. The developers anticipated the growing popularity of pickleball based on listening to their community homeowners, and gave them what they wanted! And that was pickleball courts and a healthy lifestyle.  

Minto and Margaritaville joined forces in sponsoring the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships Powers by Margaritaville in Naples, Florida. Minto’s The Isles of Collier Preserve community is adjacent and connected by a gate to the East Naples Community Park, headquarters for the US Open, which brings hundreds of players and thousands of fans to the Naples area each year.

Minto also partners with the USOPC to present a pickleball instruction program that includes beginner lessons, private lessons, small group lessons and group clinics.

In addition to the pickleball lifestyle, the community’s luxury homes overlook miles of scenic kayak and hiking trails. Stroll along Fifth Avenue in Naples and discover a vast array of premier boutiques, art galleries, fine dining and entertainment opportunities.

All of us pickleball players also love a good beach day, so explore all that the beaches have to offer along the Paradise Coast on the Gulf of Mexico.

Visit mintousa.com for more information.

Nocatee

Last year, my family planned a trip to Florida to visit my sister. While there, we visited Nocatee, a nearby master-planned co-community. As pickleball enthusiasts, my husband and I were so excited to see 12 brand-new pickleball courts with an expansive on-site waterpark we thought only existed on a tropical vacation. We were so enthusiastic that upon returning home to Illinois, we sold our home and are now happy residents of Nocatee.

Just a few minutes from beach views and kayak launches, this master-planned community in Ponte Vedra, Florida (near Jacksonville), offers those 12 pickleball courts for residents as well as two waterparks for the kids that include waterslides. There are paths exclusively for golf carts that each family purchases once they move in, giving you an out-of-the-ordinary ride to a local restaurant or grocery store.

Other amenities include dog parks within each community neighborhood, some of the top-rated schools in Florida, an action-packed events calendar for residents and their guests, and holiday festivities that include golf cart parades, waterpark haunted houses and holiday light shows.

Del Webb Nocatee, a 55+ active adult community, also features its own pickleball and tennis courts within the gated community, as well as a clubhouse for resident activities and events.

Visit Nocatee.com for details.

OutDoor Resort Indio

The perfect desert oasis, OutDoor Resort Indio (ORI) is an exclusively Class A motorcoach community designed for active adults, located just minutes from Old Town La Quinta and Indian Wells Tennis Garden, and a few miles from fabulous shopping on El Paseo, Palm Desert. It offers a total of 419 individually owned lots wrapped around an 18-hole executive golf course, six permanent pickleball courts, and two tennis courts.

ORI Pickleball Association (ORIPA) has over 150 members. There is organized play most days with paddles on the fence by ability levels, round robins, scrambles and men’s/ladies’ days. Also, ORIPA provides free lessons weekly based on ability. The club regularly hosts parties throughout the season for both full-time residents and guests.

Many pickleball enthusiasts frequently return because of the hosted social events and its proximity to popular tournaments throughout the year. From the photos we’ve seen, it looks to be quite the spot for those seeking a fun, social pickleball getaway!

For more details, visit orindio.com.

Palm Creek Resort & Residences

With the motto “Because we waited for this moment, and it’s time to take full advantage of it,” if you’re 55 and over and haven’t heard of it yet, you need to check out the Palm Creek Resort & Residences. With some of the most incredible scenic views, there are 32 pickleball courts that have become popular for both athletic play and ongoing social events throughout the year.

Organized round robins begin daily at 8 a.m. on 24 courts for levels 2.0 through 5.0. The remaining eight courts are reserved for open play and challenge courts each morning starting at 8 a.m.

Other amenities on-site include billiards, yoga, swimming, dining, softball, horseshoes, tennis and plenty of activities to do with your friends—from bingo and arts & crafts to sewing and woodworking. A dream way of living an active lifestyle!

For a full list of upcoming tournaments, events and resort amenities, visit PalmCreek.com.

Palmetto Dunes

If you follow the pickleball tournament circuit, you frequently hear of the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, its amenities, and professional pickleball instruction given by on-site pro Sarah Ansboury. Palmetto Dunes is one of the top pickleball vacation destinations in the country and host of the annual APP Hilton Head Open.

Located in the heart of Hilton Head Island, incredible oceanfront views for three miles along the Atlantic Ocean beachfront provide the perfect venue for three world-class golf courses, vacation rentals, a full-service marina, and an 11-mile lagoon system.

In addition to daily offerings including round robins and clinics for players of all levels, the Palmetto Dunes Pickleball Center is now a world-class destination for professional pickleball players across the globe, with 24 dedicated pickleball courts and state-of-the-art lighting. Among the popular pickleball offerings are the Daily Round Robins, a pro supervised session with players progressing up the ladder depending on play results, the “Daily Dose” clinic that teaches skill development on techniques and strategies to help improve every area of the court, and Pickleball 101, which helps beginners to learn the basics such as rules, scoring, court positioning, etc.

For more information, visit PalmettoDunes.com for an unforgettable vacation experience for your friends and family.

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

A highly desired beach resort in Sanibel, Florida, Sundial Beach Resort & Spa features 12 plexi-cushion courts, stadium seating, and is host to some of the most popular pickleball tournaments throughout the year, with camps and tournaments already announced through February, 2022.

Lessons and clinics are offered at the beautiful waterfront facility, and resort guests receive complimentary court access and equipment rentals. Memberships are available to the public for $350 annually for an individual, or $500 for the family—and for those of you looking for a long-term summer getaway, you are welcome to a six-month membership from May 1 through October 31 of $200 for a single membership and $350 for the family.

When not on the pickleball courts, other amenities to enjoy as you escape to paradise include enjoying award-winning on-site dining, heading out to the beach and finding unique treasures as you take advantage of the prime location for shelling, splashing around with the family at the resort waterparks, visiting with your pickleball friends at Turtle’s Tiki Bar, going on an adventure with kayaking, paddle boarding and other watersports, and so much more.

Visit SundialResort.com for details about upcoming tournaments and to book your pickleball island getaway! Be sure to reserve your rooms as soon as tournaments are announced to not miss your chance to stay at this highly-sought-after pickleball resort.

Spikeball, Pickleball and Volleyball Battle it Out in ‘Pro vs. Pro’ Video Series

Spikeball, Pickleball and Volleyball Battle it Out in ‘Pro vs. Pro’ Video Series

By Laura Gainor – Featured in the May/June issue of Pickleball Magazine

What do you get when you have the best players in spikeball, pickleball and volleyball come together to show off their talents in their respective sports?

A “Pro vs. Pro” video series with top-ranked pickleball players Ben Johns and Kyle Yates playing pickleball and spikeball (a.k.a. roundnet) against Preston Bies, pro roundnet player, and Casey Patterson, pro beach volleyball player.

The video series on Preston Bies’ YouTube channel called “How to Roundnet” all started with Preston taking a break from spikeball to do a 50-day pickleball binge where he trained two hours a day.

Preston, 27, of Santa Barbara, California, got stoked about pickleball and wanted to play against the best. So he did a Google search for “best pickleball player in the world” and found none other than Ben Johns’ name pop up. He figured, why not message Ben on Instagram and ask if he wants to come out to California to do a pro vs. pro video series to play spikeball and pickleball, and to bring a friend with him.

So that’s exactly what happened. Ben called Kyle Yates and asked if he was up for the challenge, so both of them flew to California to learn how to play spikeball and show Preston and Casey how to excel in the game of pickleball.

“Ben and I are always up to try something new, so when we are invited to play with the world’s best at anything, of course we’re going to say yes!” says Kyle. “My favorite part about the Pro vs. Pro competition was seeing just how amazing these other pros are at their respective sports. I was in awe of some of the shots Preston was able to hit in roundnet—and it was pretty fun to show off a bit and feel comfortable on the pickleball court!”

Not only did these incredible athletes excel at each other’s respective sports, they had some fun along the way—including Ben using a slipper as a pickleball paddle to see if he could still win against the spikeball pros in a match. Spoiler alert: Ben won.

“For playing pickleball just three months, Preston is pretty good,” says Ben. When asked if he was going to try to play roundnet again in his free time, he replied, “Free time is a word I don’t use a lot these days! But if I get the chance, I’ll absolutely play again.”

According to Chris Ruder, Founder and CEO of Spikeball, Inc.—with approximately 4 million spikeball units sold—there are about 10-20 million people who have played roundnet.

Another spikeball pro competitor, Chris Hornacek, who recently hit the courts with Tyson Aposotol for an intense singles match, is also a pickleball pro-in-the-making, which proves there are many parallels between the two sports.

“I announced on Instagram that I was playing pickleball and suddenly a ton of spikeball players were sending me direct messages saying, ‘Yeah, I play!’ and telling me where I should travel to play pickleball,” says Chris. “Everyone points you in the right direction on how to improve your game.”

With millions of passionate players for a backyard game that complements pickleball nicely, we look forward to this network of athletes continuing to join us on the courts and work their way to the top of the pro circuit. See you in November at the 2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships!

Check out the Pro vs. Pro video by Preston Bies of “How to Roundnet” below and visit our @USAPickleball Instagram channel for more exclusive videos and photos from competition!

The Economist: Pickleball is the Fastest-Growing Sport in America

The Economist: Pickleball is the Fastest-Growing Sport in America

We recently spoke with The Economist with USA Pickleball CEO, Stu Upson, to talk about the growth of pickleball as one of the fastest growing sports in America. More and more players are hearing chatter about the sport and want in on the action! With almost 3.5 million players across the nation, we’ll see continuous growth over the next year.

Some key quotes from the article below and visit The Economist’s website to read the full article.

“In the five years to the end of 2019, pickleball participation grew by more than 7%, while Americans’ overall activity level stayed flat, according to the Sport & Fitness Industry Association. Although data from 2020 have not yet been released, the sport has picked up more swing thanks to covid-19. Last March, when quarantines went into effect and gyms closed, portable pickleball nets temporarily sold out. Players set up courts, which are half the size of tennis courts, in driveways. “It’s the new thing,” says Derek Heil, an employee at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Dallas, who has seen a sales spike for pickleball equipment over the last year, including for higher-end paddles which sell for around $100.”

As more people take up the sport, demand for televised matches and sponsorships will increase. – Stu Upson, USA Pickleball CEO 

Pickleball Magazine Cover Feature with the NBA’s Scott Foster

Pickleball Magazine Cover Feature with the NBA’s Scott Foster

This past summer Vossberg Gainor got the opportunity to get an inside look at the start of a pickleball craze in Orlando’s NBA Bubble while Scott Foster, crew chief referee, championed the sport by creating a court at their resort. 

While all NBA referees, staff, media personalities and players were quarantined in the Bubble, Scott wanted to create an opportunity to fill some down time in between the games. As the weeks went on, he got more than half of the referees playing every morning and would share rally videos and pictures with us as everyone had a blast on their makeshift court.

It was incredible seeing their dedication and passion for the sport like so many of us experience as we pick up a paddle and play with friends. Thank you for giving us an inside look Scott, Tyler and Josh. We’re excited to watch where your pickleball careers take you outside of The Bubble. 

Check out the full feature in the October/November 2020 issue of Pickleball Magazine on page 38. 

NBA refs Scott Foster, Tyler Ford and Josh Tiven. 

USA Pickleball Design Spotlight: Boelter + Lincoln & Kelly Tidball

USA Pickleball Design Spotlight: Boelter + Lincoln & Kelly Tidball

Agency Spotlight: Boelter + Lincoln

Over the past six months, it was an honor to get to work with the team at Boelter + Lincoln as they worked on a brand re-launch for USA Pickleball. From focus groups, to creative ideation and final execution, we enjoyed getting the opportunity to work with their passionate and creative team.
One of the fastest-growing sports in the country partnered with B+L on a website + logo redesign, public relations campaign, and countless creative assets to grow membership and get more people playing the highly-addictive mashup of ping pong, badminton, and tennis.
Take a look at a few of the highlights from the full-scale campaign ↓ and visit the Boelter + Lincoln WEBSITE for more information about their agency!

Graphic Designer Spotlight: Kelly Tidball

Following the launch of the USA Pickleball brand re-launch in July, we also got the opportunity to work with Kelly Tidball, a talented freelance graphic designer as she worked on creating shareable graphics for the brand’s social media channels.

We first met Kelly as she was finishing her degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee and most recently she was a Senior Marketing Graphic Designer for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

During these times of companies needing to remove positions, we see it as a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on these talented individuals, such as Kelly!

Meet Kelly Tidball!

Below is Kelly’s bio and some examples of the work she did for USA Pickleball.

Thank you for your creative talents, Kelly, and we know your next company will be so lucky to have you on their team! 

Current job title: Freelance Graphic Designer
Last Job: Senior Marketing Graphic Designer, Arizona Diamondbacks
Hometown: Brookfield, WI
Current City: Phoenix, AZ
Alma Mater: Marquette University
Portfolio: KTidball.myportfolio.com

What I did at the D-backs:

  • I worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks for 5 years. My role at the D-backs was designing and creating all marketing materials and contributing to the marketing initiatives. I designed web ads, email graphics, social media graphics, logos, event signage, billboards, print advertisements and promotional items. I assisted our advertising coordinator by updating dbacks.com, losdbacks.com and the MLB ballpark app. I was responsible for event signage and advertisements as well as day of coordination for large events.
  • 2019 I was promoted to Senior Marketing Graphic Designer and took over the responsibility of planning and implementing the marketing campaigns. marketing team that would include a layout of the organization’s goals and strategies. This allowed me to work on a project from idea to implementation.
  • I have a passion for graphic design and marketing and love the ability to come up with a concept and make it come alive.

Skills and areas of expertise:

  • Expert in Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop.
  • Some experience with motion graphics.
  • Expert in Advertising and Marketing Campaigns

Vossberg Gainor Welcomes Jordan Huber to the Team!

Vossberg Gainor Welcomes Jordan Huber to the Team!

Laura Vossberg Gainor, founder of Vossberg Gainor, is thrilled to announce the addition of Jordan Huber to the team as the PR + Social Media Coordinator through an exclusive mentorship program focused on helping young professionals. As a company that strongly believes in helping individuals grow in their careers and find their next professional opportunity when challenges arise, it is with great honor to have Jordan to not only assist with client projects, but to also take it as an opportunity to provide mentorship to an up-and-coming advertising professional to find their next step in their career.

Jordan brings extensive experience as a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a focus in journalism and held positions at well-known Milwaukee ad agencies; Hanson Dodge and Boelter + Lincoln as a brand engagement intern and Social Media Assistant.

As the freelance PR + Social Media Coordinator for Vossberg Gainor, Jordan will have the opportunity to work directly with Laura Vossberg Gainor on client projects with the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA).

Welcome to the team Jordan and we are thrilled to see where you land next and to have the opportunity to provide the mentorship to showcase your incredible talents to other organizations.

Connect with Jordan on LinkedIn