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PICKLEBALL:


THE PERFECT SPORT? Sunland RV Resorts serve up pickleball in California and Florida.


By Susan Schutz


Less strenuous than a tennis match, more vigorous than a slide on the shuffl eboard, and


faster than a round of golf, pickleball has found the sweet spot of sport and a devoted following. In an ongoing eff ort to enhance guest experiences, Sunland RV Resorts is picking up the paddle and giving RVers a place to play during their stay.


What began as a curious sports mashup in a Western


Washington backyard, pickleball is now one of the fastest growing sports in the US. Combining aspects of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, the sport is attractive to both competitive athletes and casual players. Baby boomers, in particular, have taken to this relatively new game. A smaller court and use of a whiffl e-type ball means less wear and tear from excessive running, cutting, and stopping. T e close proximity of players, however, makes it a fast paced and fun workout. According to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA),


there are over 5,000 offi cial members and an estimated 131,000 players in the US today. T anks to similar demographics and easy-to-store equipment, pickleball’s popularity has spilled into the RV community. RVers can easily take their pickleball game on the road and play wherever they stay. “Pickleball continues to gain traction because it is age and


gender neutral. It is a very social, easy-to-learn game that doesn’t require a lot of equipment,” remarked USA Pickleball Association Media Chair, Ruth Rosenquist. “If you’ve tried it, you already know how addicting it is!” In response to this surge in popularity, Sunland RV Resorts


has served up pickleball at three of its top resorts. Golden Village Palms RV Resort in Hemet, California, Silver Palms RV Resort in Okeechobee, Florida, and, most recently, Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert, California off er multiple outdoor courts. As the peak winter season nears, each resort is slated to off er lessons, daily matches, and resort tournaments. “We are so excited to see how our guests will respond to the


new Emerald Desert pickleball courts,” stated Greg Sidoroff , Vice President of Operations at Sunland RV Resorts. “Having these brand new courts, a high volume of pickleball players, and on-site lessons, it’s looking like a great addition to our already extensive list of amenities and activities.” Known as a go-to luxury RV resort for events and


entertainment, Golden Village Palms RV Resort added dedicated pickleball courts in 2012 aſt er years of using temporary


courts. T e overwhelmingly positive. 30 RVT 156 • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013 response from guests has been Guests like Judy Dougherty can’t say enough good things


about pickleball and the outdoor courts at Golden Village Palms. (Photo above.) “I actually started playing at Golden Village Palms,” said


Dougherty. “I had never found a sport I enjoyed, but once I started playing pickleball I was hooked! You’re having so much fun, you don’t even realize you’re exercising.” T e 1,019-site resort features a million dollar sports complex


and sport courts including shuffl eboard, sand volleyball, and horseshoes. While many RVers may think pickleball is the perfect sport,


the question remains: Is pickleball the sport for you? Here are a few questions to help you fi nd out:


Q. Are you competitive or do you just like to have fun? Great, both are welcome! With more sanctioned tournaments


happening every year, there is an outlet for the competitive of any age. Senior and 50+ tournaments are held regularly around the country. Emerald Desert, Golden Village Palms, and Silver Palms will off er a balance of fun and competitive pickleball events.


Q. Have you ever played badminton, tennis or ping pong? Doesn’t matter! Whether you’re a seasoned player or are


completely green, pickleball is easy to learn. T e rules are available online at www.usapa.org, along with video tutorials and news. Each resort will feature their on-site lessons, and resort staff can off er assistance fi nding additional teaching resources.


Q. Do you like individual sports or are you better on a team? You can do both! Rallying with friends or going solo is


totally up to you. With the smaller court, it is easy for anyone to play a singles match, and doubles is a fun way to get more people involved. Sunland’s event coordinators are ready to help guests get matches going and to plan an array of exciting pickleball events.


In addition to pickleball courts, the properties all feature


full hookup sites, temperature-controlled pools, outdoor spas, and fi tness centers. Silver Palms, Emerald Desert, and Golden Village Palms boast spacious clubhouses, on-site event coordinators, and resort events and activities. Visit www.sunlandrvresorts.com to learn more about the


pickleball program, to check out Sunland’s upcoming events, or to book your stay. ❄


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