It’s now a reality. Hot Springs Village has beautifully colored brand new pickleball courts, 14 in all.
The 34 feet by 60 feet courts are constructed of base concrete and were opened for a tour on Aug. 30, with play beginning on Sept. 1. A Grand Opening is slated for Oct. 5.
The courts are surfaced with the “Nova Ultra Cushion” sports surface, a nine layer system to include five layers of cushion. Construction of the courts was done by Planit Dirt Excavation & Concrete Inc., and subcontractors Middlebrooks Electrical Services, Inc., Belk Fencing and Gerry Perry Tennis, Inc. Final costs for the project will be detailed for the POA board of directors during the September board meeting after final billings are received.
As interested Villagers and friends toured the court complex, several comments were overhead, including how nice they looked and how the surface will be much better on player’s knees.
Lifestyle and outdoor recreation manager Charlie Brown guided the tour and talked about some of the complex’s features, like a controlled entry way and light switches to turn on overhead lighting.
Check-in to use the courts takes place at the nearby clubhouse. Use of a code gets a player access to the courts which will be open seven days a week. Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon, then again from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Brown said hours may change once the department analyses the degree of court use.
Wind screens will be added later as will a sidewalk at the east end of the facility. Again, amount of play will be a factor on whether or not a cover is added at some point. Bleacher seating is also a possibility. If there is a sanctioned tournament in progress, the courts will be closed to non-tournament players.
“The pickleball players of Hot Springs Village waited a long time for this. Now we have a first class facility to play on,” said club president Randy Share. “On behalf of the club I would like to thank our POA for building this beautiful facility for us. It will allow us to market the Village to the thousands of pickleball players that travel the country looking for place to play. We can’t wait to host a tournament here in the Village.”
“Our new playing surface reduces stress on joints by 10 to 15 percent versus playing on painted concrete or asphalt. Many players have already noticed a difference. We love the color scheme. Those
colors just pop and the ball is easier to track,” Share said.
Pickleball is a sport that was created in 1965, near Seattle, Washington, and named after a creator’s dog
Pickles, who would chase after balls and hide them in bushes. Evolving from its beginning as a local
family sport, it’s now played across the U.S. and other countries. In 2006, resident Dee Vincent
approached the POA’s recreation department about having pickleball courts. Proving her point that
there was a need, she put on a demonstration that was attended by 108 interested Villagers. Pickleball
courts were then painted onto a few tennis courts and in 2007, tennis court space was converted into
four Pickleball courts and, as the saying goes, “the rest is history.”