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Pickleball has a new home

Sports 07 Sep, 2023 Follow News

Pickleball has a new home

Fun for kids

Well stocked shop

By Lindsey Turnbull

The sport of pickleball has snowballed into a major pastime for many residents in the Cayman Islands, however up until now there were few courts on which to enjoy the game. That has all changed thanks to Pickleball Cayman, the fantastic new facility in George Town that houses 12 shaded pickleball courts and eight open air courts that can be booked by anyone.

Owner Jerry Beck gives some background as to why he loves the game so much. 

“I was introduced to pickleball in the summer of 2020 at the Whistler Racquet Club when my friends and I couldn’t find a sport in which we could all compete on an equal level,” he said. “While initially discouraged by the funny name and equipment, I found the sport simple to learn and extremely addictive. Upon my return to Cayman six months later, I had two pickleball courts painted on my freshly resurfaced tennis court and invited friends from various sports backgrounds to come and give it a go. Soon we had nearly 200 players competing regularly in my garden!”

With courts at the Ritz-Carlton, Camana Bay, the Holiday Inn and numerous other tennis courts being converted, it was clear Cayman had caught the pickleball bug and the time for Cayman to have its own dedicated facility had arrived, Jerry said.

As far as sports go, pickleball has one of the shortest learning curves, making it accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. It combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, adding variety and excitement to the game. The game was built from the ground up with equity at the forefront. Players of differing abilities and skill levels sharing the court can all manage to have a great time due to the sport’s design. Pickleball is well known for its social aspect, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among players.

Jerry said he was keen to ensure that Pickleball Cayman was accessible for all.

“In alignment with the sport’s philosophy of accessibility and approachability, we decided to forgo the route of an exclusive membership style private sports club. We only charge for use of the courts, and equipment rentals. We believe in letting the sport sell itself, and keeping the barrier to entry low allows pickleball to shine through,” he confirmed.

With Pickleball Cayman, Cayman is fortunate to have a world-class sporting facility centered on a welcoming, inclusive community atmosphere. Pickleball is the perfect sport to start with, Jerry said. The pickleball courts sit alongside three tennis courts and cricket/baseball batting cages are to come by year end.

“We’ve also got an expertly curated pickleball pro-shop with all the gear you need to take your gameplay to the next level,” Jerry advised. ”From paddles, balls, and accessories, to apparel, training aids, and recovery equipment, there’s no need to look elsewhere.”

Their on-site restaurant, The Roost, is a full-service bar and restaurant offering all the classic favourites with a healthy twist for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and patrons of the restaurant or courts can enjoy use of their kid’s playground, one of the largest on island.

Book a court at: https://www.pickleball.ky / and click LOG IN/SIGN UP, complete a free membership registration to gain access to the booking calendar and start scheduling games. There is an assortment of daily clinics, events, private lessons, and tournaments planned over the next few months.

There are lots of different ways to play.

Open Play

Players can sign up and play without having to find a group of friends to play with. Just pick a session corresponding to your level of play and come along, and they will organise the rest. Rather than paying for a court booking, you pay a fixed fee for the session, regardless of how many players come along. The more that come, the more courts are opened up, so you should never be standing around long waiting for your next game.

Club Rankings

These extremely popular sessions feature up to 36 players per event. They place registrants into skill matched groups and create a round robin format to be played across a two-hour session. Each game you’ll rotate to play with a new partner, meet new friends, get some exercise and have a blast all while aiming to improve your ranking. With over 200 players in their ranking list, you can battle it out with friends and compete in a fun, social atmosphere.

To join any of these sessions, just register on the website and check the calendar to book in your preferred sessions.

Corporate League

They have just launched the Appleby Corporate League and with 70 teams registered. Jerry advised it will be one of the best corporate sports leagues on the island, with six divisions, 400+ players, 300+ matchups over 11 weeks, finishing with an awards dinner hosted at their on-site restaurant.

The next corporate league registration is scheduled to open late January 2024.

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