By CINDY CROSBY
Pickleball, which has absolutely nothing to do with pickles, dates to the mid-1960s. Recently, the sport has grown in popularity across the United States. Played with two or four players on a badminton sized court, players use paddles and a whiffle ball to volley across a tennis-style net to win the game by scoring 11 points.
What makes it so popular and fun? Well, anyone and all ages can play the game which is easy to learn and affordable to start. In fact, many times it is absolutely free.
The City of Walterboro recently announced the addition of two new pickleball courts at Forest Hills Tennis Center on June 25. These courts are in addition to the indoor courts located at the Colleton County Parks and Recreation Center, where locals play each week.
“The City of Walterboro is excited to announce the addition of two new pickleball courts that will be located at the Forest Hills Tennis Center, 772 Ireland Hills Drive,” said Amye Stivender, PIO, in the release. “Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the country and is played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net. The sport combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong and can be played by two or four players. The new pickleball courts are located on Court #6 at the Forest Hills Tennis Center. The courts are now open to the public and we encourage our residents to come and enjoy our latest addition while continuing to practice social distancing and good hygiene measures. It is the responsibility of the players to put up and to take down the pickleball nets. The nets must be placed back into the storage container.”
According to local physical education teacher and soccer coach Danielle van Hulst, pickleball may be coming to a school near you soon. “The students love badminton and ping pong,” said Hulst. “We are always looking to add new sports to our curriculum. Many students did not know badminton was an Olympic sport. So, we want to try to shine a light on all the different sports they do not know about. I did not know about pickleball until I took a class in college. It is a fun and quick-paced game if played correctly and you definitely get a workout in without realizing it.”
Chris Myers, director of Parks and Recreation for the Colleton County Recreation Department, said pickleball has been growing in popularity locally and is now being offered with four indoor courts, two in each gym available for use. “We are hoping to have a singles and doubles tournament sometime this fall as well as a possible league in the late fall or early winter,” said Myers.
According to the CCPR website, paddles and balls are included with the $1 usage fee/per person and the gym is available to be reserved for pickleball on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m.-noon. To learn more or join a pickleball club contact CCPR at 843-538-3031.