Pickleball is trending nationwide as a sport played as an alternative or in addition to tennis. Invented in the 1960s in a Bainbridge Island, Washington backyard, pickleball is a blend of badminton, tennis and ping pong. A pickleball court is slightly smaller than one used for tennis and players use larger sized ping pong paddles to hit a ball similar to a whiffleball.
One reason for the quick growth of the sport is its adoption by major corporate entities and celebrities.
Discovery Land Company (DLC) Chairman Mike Meldman is responsible for igniting the trend of pickleball throughout his company's portfolio of luxury residential private club communities. The pioneering real estate development firm encompasses some of the most exclusive destinations, including the forthcoming Silo Ridge Field Club, a private residential luxury golf and outdoor recreation community just a 90-minute drive from Manhattan. The exclusive heirloom community sits on 800 acres in the Hudson Valley and will offer 285 residences, a world-class 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed golf course, a family barn for recreational gatherings, year-round field house for extensive sports and recreation programming, including pickeball.
"It's becoming one of the biggest sports at all of our properties," said Meldman.
While DLC properties are known around the world for their acclaimed Tom Fazio-designed golf courses and region-specific outdoor pursuits -- like archery, equestrian, fishing and hunting -- pickleball has turned into one of the most popular pastimes for members.
"At Discovery Land Company we want to create experiences that are passed down from generation to generation, and it's all about activities that encourage members to enjoy time together as a family," said Meldman. "Pickleball is a perfect way to help foster the deep sense of community and interaction that we care so much about at Discovery."
DLC launched its first pickleball court at The Madison Club in La Quinta, CA, followed by Gozzer Ranch Golf & Lake Club at Lake Coeur D'Alene, ID, and now you can find a pickleball court at almost all of DLC's 20 properties.
"Everyone from golfer Phil Mickelson to tennis legend John McEnroe have played pickleball on our courts. Even Hank Haney, one of the greatest golf instructors of all time has turned into a student of pickleball," said Meldman. "Pickleball is an active, social, and athletic sport that can be played by anyone, which is why so many of our members love it. All ages and skill levels can play together, and there is a steep learning curve so beginners pick it up quickly."
A favorite pastime of members at DLC's Baker's Bay in the Bahamas and El Dorado in Cabo, pickleball can be played all the time by families and couples alike.
Barry Sternlicht's 1 Hotel South Beach is unveiling its own pickleball courts in Spring 2018. As a part of its Members-Only Beach Club, patrons will be able to play pickleball with friends then relax in private air-conditioned cabanas, or soak up the sun along 600 feet of pristine white sand.
Pickleball has gone viral in stores as well, with kits to play at home selling out at the Flying Point Surf & Sport in the Hamptons. Whether playing singles or doubles for fun or in a tournament, pickleball is great exercise for families, couples or singles of all ages.