The Emerald Coast Tennis Center is overhauling several tennis courts to make room for eight pickleball courts at 1200 Oakmont Drive in the Gleneagles subdivision of Bluewater Bay, with the hope of opening June 1.
Pickleball is a racket sport that was created by combining elements of several other racket sports. Two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated polymer ball (think wiffle ball) over a net. A pickleball court is similar to a badminton court, with a net similar to a tennis net. The paddles are similar to those in table tennis.
After a consolidation last year, several courts were underutilized – which gave part-owner and director of the Emerald Coast Tennis Center, Brett Beattie, the idea to create pickleball courts. “We figured that Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the country right now, so we should go with that angle,” he said.
“It’s not going to be like a community center where you just play a couple of points and leave,” Beattie said. “This is going to be a place with socials and a club atmosphere.”
The courts will also be reservable on the Court Reserve app, which is used at traditional tennis court facilities to reserve a time and place to play. The club plans to partner with other facilities which have pickleball in Niceville, Fort Walton Beach, and Destin for tournaments.