Relishing Pickleball

David Zapatka

These are truly exciting times for pickleball. Not only is the sport growing by leaps and bounds across the USA, the United States of America Pickleball Association, USAPA, hosts its annual national tournament, a 10-day extravaganza of the best pickleball in the world, the first full week of November every year.

This year, the tournament is November 4-11, and it’s right in our backyard at Palm Creek Resort, 1110 N. Henness Road in Casa Grande. Palm Creek boasts 32 beautiful tournament courts, four of which are sunken stadium courts, perfect for viewing the best players in the world. Our national tournament has events for players of all ages. The youngest division is 8-10 years of age. The oldest division is 95+ years of age. This year is the first year where skill within age will divide players into brackets, making the divisions all the more competitive. There will be gender doubles, mixed doubles and singles. A national champion in each division will be crowned by the end of the tournament.

Pickleball is in such high demand that over 1,200 tournament participants tried to register within the first 15 minutes of the opening of online registration. This caused the system to fail for a period of time, wreaking havoc for everyone involved. Well over half the players registering ended up on wait lists hoping for some miracle to get in later. Imagine this – 32 courts, 10 days, from dawn into the wee hours of the night (yes, the courts are lit) and less than half the demand was able to be met. That’s a lot of pickleball! Players are coming from all over the world to play our favorite sport.

If you are a pickleball enthusiast or simply interested in getting exposed to the game, come to Palm Creek to watch the best players in the world. It’s like having the Masters Golf Championships or the U.S. Open Tennis Championships within a half hour of our home. Best of all, it’s free! There’s no entry fee! All the top pickleball vendors (think Pickleball, etc.) will have tents chock full of equipment, apparel and accessories for you to shop to your heart’s desire.

Have a question about pickleball? Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment or have some picklilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected]