top of page

Pickleball Mania!!!

Pickleball is planting a firm foothold in Brunswick County, with courts popping up in many communities and towns. There’s even an indoor court facility in Leland where players can get in a game rain or shine. As of 2019 there were more than 7,900 pickleball venues nationwide with 30,200 courts. Locally, pickleball courts are part of the amenities in Brunswick Forest, Magnolia Greens, Waterford and St. James. The Town of Oak Island has six courts open to the public and the House of Pickleball (HoP) in Leland offers six indoor courts available for a fee.

Yes, there is a House of Pickleball. The facility is located at 115 Kay Todd Rd SE, just west of the railroad tracks next to Brunswick Forest. It’s open seven days a week from 8 am to 9 pm, offering per day play for a fee as well as a variety of membership options.

According to Richard Holloman, co-owner of House of Pickleball, the facility hosts pickleball players from 15 states among its 3,800 members, and has plans to add 6 more courts. Many members find the social aspect of pickleball a major draw, said Holloman, and of course the tournaments draw the competitive players. He said HoP emphasizes “having fun!”

The pickleball program at Magnolia Greens is more social than hard-nosed competitive, according to players Jean

Ann and Mike Fede, although they have ”graduated” several 4 and 5 level players. Their tournaments are more social gatherings and they share reciprocity with pickleball groups in Brunswick Forest, Compass Point, and Waterford.

While a great sport for seniors, everyone should take a few things into consideration when playing any sports. Brian Tantilla, of Leland’s Core Physical Therapy, suggested several areas of concentration/concern when taking up pickleball: proper shoes with anticipation of the quick and frequent stopping and starting; a professional “fitted” racket, both size and weight; and an honest assessment of your current physical condition. He said too many new players do not practice adequate warm-ups and limbering exercises and suggested players take into consideration beginning the sport SLOWLY to let the body adjust. He added that discomfort or muscle aches that do not subside in a few days could be a sign of possible damage. Shoulders, elbows and Achilles tendons are particularly vulnerable to injury for new players who go from little or no exercise to trying daily vigorous pickleball. Of course like all sports, awareness of the temperatures and hydration are of major importance.

How Pickleball got its start and what does a pickle have to do with it?

The story of Pickleball, as it has come down in the popular memory, is hard to resist. Three guys, John Prichard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, were commuting together, circa 1965, on Seattle’s Bainbridge Island ferry and came up with the game as a summertime diversion for their children. They named their creation, a sort of wiffle-tennis, with some badminton and volleyball tossed in, after Prichard’s dog, Pickles. Pickleball has since grown into an international sport with an international set of rules and referee association.

Pickleball is governed by the USA Pickleball Association (, which claims it to be the fastest growing sport

in the US and internationally. The USA Pickleball Association maintains the rules (including the two bounce rule), sanctions tournaments, produces the annual USA Pickleball National Championships Tournament, and provides player ranking.

The racket sport is played on a tennis-like court, but smaller, measuring 20’ x 44’ (the same size as a double badminton court) with a 36“ net height. Whereas tennis has a double alley, pickleball has a single “kitchen” - a no volley zone - 7 feet on either side of the net. Pickleball uses a whiffle-type, hard plastic ball weighing slightly less than one ounce and measuring slightly less than 3 inches in diameter. The rackets have a required maximum size of 24” in combined width and length, about twice the size of a ping-pong paddle. Rackets can be made of wood or plastic.

According to the USAPA’s 2020 Pickleball Fact Sheet, pickleball is experiencing explosive growth in popularity. Participation has grown nearly 30 percent over the lat three years to an estimated 3.3 million pickleballers, about a third of whom are playing in the Southeast US. According to the association, about a third of its core players are over age 55.

For the “core” pickleball players there are numerous local, regional, state, and national qualifying events and tournaments. Pickleball is also included in the Brunswick County Gator Senior Games. Although not yet in the Olympics, many forecast this will come. Pickleball players are often segregated by age groups and ratings ranged by the USAPA ranging from a beginner 1-ratings to expert 5-ratings.

It certainly looks like pickleball popularity is still on the rise, and there are plenty of places to get in on the fun. Whether you’re a newly-arrived or long-time resident, pickleball represents a wonderful opportunity for you to get out and get healthy!

The Latest Issue
July2023Leland Cover Website.jpg
Follow us on Facebook
  • Facebook Basic Black
bottom of page