LAKE PLACID –– The game called pickleball has swept the country. It’s a game often referred to as a mix of tennis, ping pong and badminton. It’s most popular with seniors, as it is easier on the knees and ankles compared to tennis.
Until recently, if you live in Highlands County you could only find outside courts and usually had to play early morning or evening to avoid the heat.
That all changed in mid July when First Presbyterian Church in Lake Placid opened its new Genesis Center to pickleball players. Making it even more attractive is Lake Placid residents no longer have to travel miles to find a court. And the biggest plus: It’s inside and air conditioned.
Sam Klatt, who manages the center, was approached by former tennis player Bill Putmam, along with Sam Lindskoog and his wife, Cindy.
“We sat down and worked out a plan to bring the sport to town,” said Klatt. “We hold many youth activities at the center, namely basketball and volleyball. We wanted to find a sport to serve the seniors. We purchased the nets, balls and paddles. Now we have 20 folks coming each week.” The players rotate so all get a chance to play.
The courts are available from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. Paddles and balls are available for seniors so they can try the game before they invest in any equipment. The center asks for a minimum donation.
“Donations average about $2 a visit,” said Klatt.
Lee Maule, a 67-year-old retiree, said, “It’s so much fun I usually give $4 bucks.” He’s played in the cool inside since the facilitu opened to pickleball. “I’m pushing them for two more courts,” he said.
Sandy Forltier moved to the Lake Istopoga area from Huntsville, Ala. “I’ve played pickleball there for three years and now play here twice a week,” Forltier said.
Seniors who are young at heart and want to meet new friends or just have two hours of fun exercise, are invited to give pickleball a try at the Genesis Center. “You won’t be embarrassed as you learn,” Klatt said, “because they play ‘social pickleball’ and you’ll fit right in.”
To find out more about the sport do a “pickleball” search on the internet for rules, court dimension and various types of rackets.
The Genesis Center is behind First Presbyterian Church at 118 N. Oak Avenue in Lake Placid.