On Mar 2 and 4th 2017 , BC Pickleball was invited to do a two – part introduction to Pickleball for the members of the Richmond Country club on Steveston Rd in Richmond. Recently , this venue has been rated as the #1 golf and tennis facililty in Canada. We hope that with the introduction of the fastest growing sport in North America, it will serve as a model for other golf course to introduce Pickleball as a new income stream as many tennis clubs in the USA have done.
The big reason for clubs to do so is that they have found their players, who are mostly athletic to begin with, find the variety of playing another sport, even in the same day to be fun, additive to their exercise routines and social over and above what they have experienced before. If nothing else, Pickleball is addictive, fun and social – so many will engage in both sports even in the same day. With a four – on – one format , 32 people can play on one tennis court or facsimile of same. Portable sets can be used with delineated courts with paint or throw-down lines as done at this center. Also, this private club used a new mat surface that rolls out on a tennis court and forms two pickleball courts , seen below. It is made up of three sheets per court and has a small lip . This can be taped as well as the “ joiners” between the lines to form an acceptable and visually pleasant surface without affecting the tennis surface ,which relatively quickly ,can be restored. The surface is quite expensive but not bad for a private club.
Our level 1 course, abbreviated due to time , with this group started with 18 on the first day and 32 on the first night . All achieved the level of rules, short game, soft game and serve as well as counting in the first session. The group was a mixed skill level – the most difficult to teach esp with a large number. We have had some 8 volunteer instructors help with this project which is still ongoing as we have been asked to do 5 more sessions with another 50 players throughout April. Our instructors have come from Vancouver , South Surrey and White Rock . Richmond now joins the Arbutus club, Holleyburn and possibly the Richmond Oval as well as Pise in Victoria as Private venues that could now entertain tournaments here ( potentially 32 courts) or outdoor at Queen Elizabeth park ( potentially 88 courts ) .
I believe that other clubs will join us in this effort to bring Pickleball to the Private sector – perhaps joining with the Academic institutions yet to be explored, with our huge cohort of young players who have learned this sport in Elementary and high schools, throughout the province . These would include UBC, Simon Fraser, BCIT, Trinity College, Kwantlen, etc. Some already have – The College of the North, Fraser Valley college , Laurentien University Sudbury etc. Over 8000 schools teach it ! Wow eh.