The Pickleball Channel recently posted one of the greatest points ever played. To watch this amazing point, click here.
New outdoor pickleball courts are now available to the public at Eustis Park (located on Edgefield Ave., N.W, between Morgan Street, NW and Church Street NW.) There are 4 purpose built courts there and they are open during park hours (dawn to dusk). There are two courts available (multi-purpose) at Kalmia Hills (Westcliff) Park (3311 Summit Drive). These two courts are superimposed on the two tennis courts. The height of the net (34 " in the center) for pickleball may be achieved by sliding the strap in the middle of the tennis net to the right or left until the desired height is achieved. There are no lights at this park so play is during daylight only. Neither location presently provides paddles or balls so bring your own.
Click here for a map of places to play pickleball in Aiken.
Photo below: Kalmia Hills Park
Photo below: Eustis Park
Three nets and 12 court dividers have been transferred from Gym 2 to Gym 1 and should be used there any time Gym 1 appears on the calendar as the place to play. The equipment is stored in the storage room to the left of the stage (as you face it) and the key to the storage room (key #22) may be checked out at the front desk. Once play has finished in Gym 1, the equipment should be broken down and stored and locked in the storage room for the next playing date in Gym 1. Balls should be obtained from the front desk and left with the equipment for future use. There is no longer a need to schlep nets/dividers/balls back and forth from Gym 2.
Pickleball is growing by leaps and bounds in Augusta! Click on the link below to read an article featured in Columbia County Magazine.
The fifth annual Palmetto Indoor Pickleball Doubles Invitational was held from August 17 through August 20. Tournament co-directors Mo Garcia and Keith Shaver did an outstanding job putting together a fantastic event. Over 200 participants enjoyed a day of clinics, lessons and pro-am events, a Friday evening social, and last but not least three days of pickleball made up of 24 separate events in men’s, women’s and mixed doubles. Participants also received lunch each day they played and a swag bag stuffed full of goodies that was an actual paddle cover. Where else do you see that?
The tournament owes a debt of gratitude to the many generous sponsors, most especially the Platinum level sponsor Scott Singer, financial adviser w/ Janney Montgomery LLC. Thanks also go out to our Gold level sponsors, the USAPA (c/o Mike & Loretta Beckner, Ambassadors), Mo Power Sport (supplier of paddles, nets, balls, t-shirts, medals and paddle covers). Silver level sponsors included Security Federal Bank, South Aiken Physical Therapy, and G4 Power Products. Bronze level sponsors included CMI-Carolina Muscular Institute, Baker Family Dentistry and Suzy Haslup Realty. Pickleball Central, Paddletek, LongHorn Steakhouse, Golden Corral and Chick-fil-a also contributed. Without their assistance and support, the event would not have been the tremendous success it was. If you get the chance, please show your appreciation by patronizing those who supported us.
Mike Beckner and Jim Kabel marshalled a force of over 90 volunteers who donated time and talent to supporting this year's pickleball tournament. Special thanks go to Nelson Spitnale (in charge of the tournament desk volunteers), Bill Reynolds (court monitors), Loretta Beckner (referees), Connie Dennis (swag bags), Pat Smith (t-shirts) and Sharon McMichael (registration desk). The lunch room was managed by Donna Vetsch, Kathy Reiter, Kathy Clemmens, John and Sherry Myers, Nancy Hughes, Rita Supan, and Jane Deese. Maria James, Denis Bonnet, and Michele Bullington did the facility management. Thanks to all these efforts, this year's tournament was an unqualified success!
The weekend kicked off with world class professional pickleball players and national champions Simone Jardim and Laura Fenton Kovanda running clinics and lessons for 45 players. After the lessons, we were treated to a pro-am event. Eighteen Aiken Pickledillys got to play a game with the pros. The last two games saw our best teams, Tony Quick/Vicki McNair and Josh Booth/Jordan Goetzman, line up on the same side and take on the pros head to head.
The social for this year’s pickleball tournament was held in The Alley on Friday night. The city arranged for a barbecue dinner catered by Buckwheat’s Barbecue, and a total of 113 hungry picklers converged on the venue looking to have a good time and enjoy a delicious meal. There was also live music provided by Third Time Charmers (3TC) featuring Brooke Lundy and Ken Gabriel.
Mo Garcia took his role as master of ceremonies very seriously by dressing in a specially designed jacket reminiscent of a circus ring leader. All that was lacking was the top hat! Mo introduced Loretta Beckner, USAPA District Ambassador for the Midlands of South Carolina, as the first speaker of the evening. Loretta acknowledged the outstanding job done by Mo and Keith Shaver in organizing and conducting the tournament this year. She also thanked the staff of the Aiken Recreation, Parks and Tourism Departments and all the volunteers.
Ms. Jessica Campbell, Director of Recreation, Parks and Tourism, and representing the city of Aiken, graciously welcomed the visitors to the city and echoed many of the previous laudatory comments made about the organization of the tournament. She also commented on the history of the evolution of pickleball in Aiken and, looking to the future, noted the recent installation of pickleball courts at two new locations in Aiken (Eustis Park and Kalmia Hills Park).
Laura Fenton Kovanda was the featured speaker. Her comments about how she became involved in pickleball were informative and entertaining. Laura was a five-time US Olympics gold medalist in racquetball when she heard of pickleball. The first time she ever played the sport was at the Senior Games in Illinois. The night before their first match, she and her partner had to watch how the sport was played on YouTube. They won a silver medal in the Mixed Doubles event and Laura won a gold medal in the Women’s event! Laura spoke about her vision to form World Team Pickleball (WTP) and her efforts to organize team leagues throughout the country. Interested players can email email@example.com for more information.
The tournament sponsors were recognized and presented with gifts of appreciation prior to awarding the highly popular door prizes. Laura, who is a Paddletek rep, provided three paddles, covers and pickleballs to three lucky winners. Names were also drawn for twelve white “low noise” South Boundary paddles/covers donated by the City of Aiken, and several players won gift certificates donated by local businesses.
In the midst of all the festivities, we managed to fit in three full days of pickleball. One hundred and fifty medals were presented during the weekend. Thirty-two of those medals, including twelve gold medals, stayed right here in Aiken. For a complete list of Aiken medalists, click here.
The fifth installment of the Aiken tournament was a complete success, one we can all be proud of. In the days following the event, the hallways at Odell Weeks seem oddly empty. After so much preparation, so much activity, so much pickleball. But then you get closer to the gym and hear the sounds of pickleballs hitting paddles, and you remember it’s zero-zero-two. Time to start another game!
It is with great sadness that we inform you that Byron passed away peacefully on Friday, June 23, at 9:30 PM. He was with his family and is at peace now.
Byron enjoyed playing pickleball almost every morning until he became ill. He will be sorely missed. His daughter would like to come to the social on Friday, June 30 to meet his pickleball friends. In her words,"Pickleball and the people there changed his life. After his wife's passing he was very depressed until he found pickleball."
There will be no service for Byron in Aiken.
Nancy Racki shared the following link to a good video on the proper way to pack a net into the bag provided.
Let's all give it a try. It will probably save some wear and tear on our equipment!
Ron Nelson enjoyed some lively pickleball today with his son (Ron) and his grandson (Ron). Since there is not yet an R4 on the court, Dick Keeler filled in as the fourth.
Submitted by Tony Quick
Sunday was a great day. Brenda and I, with the dogs, drove up to the mountains to do a Pickleball clinic with Sarah Ansboury in Brevard, NC.
The weather on Sunday proved to be perfect. It was sunny and cool. We appreciate the work that Deb Richter did to set up the clinics. Our group did a 2 ½ hour clinic in the morning and then I did another hour clinic in the afternoon. Sarah’s slogan is Balance, Breath, and Believe. My two biggest take aways were playing with Balance and to stop playing tennis on the Pickleball court.