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HSV – Bright Future of Pickleball

“This is where it is. We are converting tennis courts all over the nation to pickleball courts.” 

Jim McPherson, Vice President of the Hot Springs Village Pickleball Club

McPherson, Vice-President of the Pickleball Club spoke during the audience comment portion of the June 16, 2021 Board Meeting. The Pickleball Club is hosting the upcoming Hot Springs Village Pickleball Tournament. (Not to be confused with the Hot Springs Tournament.)

Two hundred and fifty people participated in the 2019 pickleball tournament. Approximately 80 percent of those folks were from out of town or out of state. “We are expecting 300 this year,” stated Jim.

“That is about as many as we can handle with 14 courts,” explained Jim. “I know for a fact that many of our players that have moved to the Village would NOT have moved here had it not been for the pickleball facility.”

“It is helping our community.”

More Parking Needed at Pickleball Facility

“We can certainly use help. We have been promised parking. We have very limited parking [at the pickleball courts]. Especially for the tournament coming up, if we could kick the parking situation into high gear it would help us out. This is mostly all being done by the pickleball club. We have done our own promoting. We’ve done our own advertising. We’ve done a lot of the improvements around the court, ourselves. We could certainly use some help. Specifically, getting that parking project kicked into high gear,” explained McPherson.

Pickleball Courts Due to be Resurfaced

Director Chris Jones asked if the date to refinish the pickleball court surface was driven by the upcoming tournament.

McPherson said, “we would not be able to have this tournament with those courts in the condition they are in now. Our tournament is scheduled for November 5, 6, 7. It is a three-day tournament which means people are going to come here. They are going to rent properties. They are going to eat at our [restaurants]. They are going to spend money in our community. It is a boost to the community and it will result in lot and home sales. I promise you.”

Director Omohundro asked, “are you limited by the number of courts you have right now? My question would be, would there be 600 people if you had [additional] courts?”

McPherson said, “I would say we could fill 600 [tournament spots] if we had the courts. The tournament schedule…of course last year we got wiped out due to COVID. Our tournament last year did not happen. I just came from the National Indoor Pickleball Championships. We had about 800 people there. The U.S. Open down in Florida is well over 2,000 entries. The National Outdoor Tournament in California will have 2,000 entries. The tournament population is really going up. Pickleball in general…If y’all would promote pickleball, you’ll get a lot more people coming in on these visits.”

Jim McPherson said pickleball is the future, more than golf or tennis.

By Cheryl Dowden, June 20, 2021

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