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Pickleball: Why This Social Sport is Gaining Steam with 55+ Communities

Published on February 7, 2022

By Carol Morgan, Founder & President, Denim Marketing

Gone are the days when a pool and a cabana were enough to excite homebuyers to purchase in an active adult community. Now the hot amenity is pickleball. This short-form activity is popular because it is easy to socialize and converse while playing and it is a quick, fun game.

It is easy to see why pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. Just learning how to play pickleball is social. Getting outside and meeting others is a great way to make new friends while staying fit. Whether playing a singles or doubles game, you’re making social connections as you play. Studies show that playing pickleball can boost mood and overall mental health. Pickleball is great for improving balance and agility, not to mention all the calories burned while playing.

So, what exactly is this sport with the strange name? Pickleball is a paddleball sport with elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Players use paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a ball that is similar to a wiffle ball. While the rules are very similar to tennis, the pickleball court is smaller than a tennis court.

Interestingly, pickleball was invented in the 1960s as a children’s game! This backyard game was started at the home of Joel Pritchard. They say that boredom is the mother of invention, well in this case it is true! Pritchard and two of his friends returned from golf and found their families bored one Saturday afternoon. They unsuccessfully tried to set up badminton but couldn’t find the shuttlecock. A wiffle ball served as the ball and they made paddle from plywood. The rest is history…

Master-Planned Communities Taking Pickleball to the Next Level

Due to the popularity of the sport, master-planned developer Kolter Homes incorporates pickleball into many of its new 55+ communities. Its newest community, Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes is slated to have the largest private pickleball complex in Georgia and one of the largest in the Southeast. At present, 21 courts and the Eagle’s Nest spectators pavilion are complete. When finished, this amenity will have 40 courts.

55+ Pickleball

Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes recently hosted the inaugural Cresswind Cup, a pickleball tournament welcoming over 200 players from seven Cresswind and Kolter communities across four states! More than 400 matches were played.

This winning team was PGA Village Verano from Port St. Lucie, Florida. As the overall team champion, PGA Village Verano now displays the Cresswind Cup trophy in its community clubhouse until next year’s competition.

“The great thing about this is the fact that we can bring these Cresswind and Kolter communities together for friendly competition in a social setting and that really encompasses what our lifestyle program is all about with fitness, relationships, education, and entertainment,” Mark LaClaire, director of lifestyle for Kolter Homes, said. “It’s such an amazing way to incorporate everything Cresswind is about, and it was great seeing residents from different states meeting, creating connections, and even planning to get together at one another’s communities for more fun in the future.

“The courts are beautiful, the layout is great and when you build the additional courts, it’ll be an even more amazing place for tournaments,” Cresswind Charleston team captain and resident Steve DiPinto said. “The layout here is so great because it encourages each level to play their best even if they can’t win the cup as a team. It creates great comradery to do well and possibly bring the banner back to their community and that’s what makes it so exciting and competitive – in a fun way!”

Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes is the active adult component of the master-planned Twin Lakes neighborhood, one of the largest new residential master-planned developments in the greater Atlanta metro area in more than a decade. Upon completion, Twin Lakes will feature a total of 2,600 homes with 1,300 low-maintenance single-family homes in the Cresswind Georgia section.

Planned resort-style amenities at Cresswind Georgia include a resident-only community clubhouse, dubbed Club Cresswind, with a lounge area offering lakeside views, event spaces, a state-of-the-art Cresswind SmartFIT Training Center powered by EGYM, cardio studio, arts and crafts room, and indoor pool with lap lanes. Residents will also enjoy a variety of outdoor amenities including walking trails, a resort-inspired pool, tennis and bocce courts, event lawn, and bandshell. The property also features two community lakes for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.

Pickelball Master Planned Community

It is easy to see how 1,000+ home communities have such expansive courts, but smaller communities are adding pickleball as well. Because pickleball is easy to learn, easy on the joints, and fun for both beginners and experienced players, we expect to see home builders and developers nationwide continue to embrace the sport.

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