Pickleball is one of the fastest growing activities in the world, and Beaufort is enjoying it big time.
Two city recently added four courts in two public parks. Southside Park in Beaufort has just offered two new courts for the community. Southside Park is a 38-acre park, located on Southside Boulevard. Shell Point Park has also added two courts.
The Beaufort Pickleball Club has been promoting the sport locally for those who live North of the Broad. The Club is a volunteer-run, public benefit, non-profit corporation registered with the State of South Carolina.
Pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors; is easy for beginners to learn.
Pickleball combines elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis. The paddles are smaller than tennis racket, but larger than table tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a polymer ball, much like a whiffle ball, over a net. The sport shares features of other racket sports: the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules somewhat similar to tennis, with several modifications.
The game started during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Joel Pritchard, who later served in Congress and as lieutenant governor, and two of his friends returned from golf and found their families bored one Saturday afternoon. They attempted to set up badminton, but no one could find the shuttlecock. They improvised with a whiffle ball, lowered the badminton net, and fabricated paddles of plywood from a nearby shed.
McCallum made the first paddles that were specifically for pickleball on his basement bandsaw. In 1972, McCallum incorporated Pickle-Ball, Inc. and manufactured wooden paddles to help grow the sport.
Despite having been played for 56 years, pickleball is not yet played widely outside of the Americas.
The International Federation of Pickleball notes that the sport is played at least 57 countries. We are very happy to report that the Lowcountry is embracing it.
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island host clinics that last an hour. Within that time, most people conclude that they play the sport. It is a fun and affordable social activity, where people laugh and have a good time. Most people stay for the hour-and-a-half round robin that follows and, by the time they finish, are well prepared to begin playing in their local community and want to find places to play.
Sources: Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickleball