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Pickle & Paddle

Coming 2022!

Pickleball and Paddle Tennis have both experienced tremendous growth throughout the last decade. Both sports are variants of tennis and they play similarly. You need to hit a ball over the main obstacle, the net, and pass your opponents to win a point. Inverness Golf Club is scoring major points with the addition of paddle and pickle courts as one of the many new amenities coming to the club in 2022.

Pickleball rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. Pickleball is considered a mix between ping pong, racquetball, and tennis. Players use a paddle instead of a racquet and they use a wiffle ball instead of a tennis ball. The courts tend to be smaller than tennis as are the nets. It has a number of fun rules, like staying out of the “kitchen”, which is the non-volley zone. This is a section of the court that is 7 feet away from both sides of the net and extends to each sideline. It is a very quick game, which makes it perfect for those looking to get some aerobic exercise. Each league game tends to last around 15 minutes, though playing two hours of pickleball is the equivalent of walking four miles.

“Pickleball is actually one of the fastest growing sports in the country,” said Inverness Golf Club General Manager and COO, William Skelnik, CCM. “We will really be changing the nature of the club with these additions, both in terms of the activities offered and the range of dining options. It will provide a dynamic range of services for our members.”

Paddle, also referred to as Platform Tennis, is played on a raised platform with composite paddles instead of strung racquets and a rubber ball. The court is one-third the size of a traditional tennis court and is surrounded by tight wire fencing. The screened fencing allows balls to be played off the wall while still remaining in play. Players can return balls after they bounce into the screens which adds another layer of fun and strategy to paddle tennis. While scoring is the same as in tennis, the points can last quite a bit longer. It’s more like a chess match to win the point.

Peter Witmer, the architect of the new facility at Inverness Golf Club is an avid paddle tennis player. “Paddle is a whole culture. Just like golf is a culture.” Golf is played on warm sunny days, but paddle is easier to play when it’s not sunny. As a paddle payer “I look forward to cloudy and smoggy days” said Witmer. Paddle tennis also offers league play and championship playoffs. Paddle leagues offer a fun, social way to see other clubs and when league play comes home to play, we get to showcase our club and what we have to offer.

IGC will have plenty to showcase when travel paddle leagues come to Inverness next winter! The views from the new dining space allow prime views of paddle play and “showcase the unique perspective of the club landscape not currently seen” with floor to ceiling glass on both sides of the new venue to spectate from. Witmer used the club’s terrain to highlight his design. “The addition fits like a glove in the space and integrates paddle sports into the club lifestyle” Witmer said. “Even if you are not playing” Witmer comments, “it’s tough not to watch”.

Typically played as a doubles sport, paddle is known for its fun pace of play, camaraderie and good sportsmanship amongst its players. It is the only racquet sport that players can enjoy outdoors in cold weather. This unique appeal attracts those who desire to be outside, get some fresh air, competition, and social engagement - all on a chilly winter's night! Along with the paddle and pickle courts, the new addition to the club includes indoor golf simulators, a casual dining restaurant featuring a Wood-Fired Rotisserie and Grill along with a cozy lounge that will be available for use to warm up between play or enjoy watching the game from inside near the fireplace.

According to current Inverness Golf Club Board President Kerry Lavelle, one of the primary reasons for the expansion is to add value to memberships by having a 12-month offering of activities. “In the Midwest, the seasons for golf, tennis, and swimming are limited by the weather,” Lavelle said. “With these new sports and the indoor golf simulators, our members now have the ability to be active all year long. It really enhances their membership.”

With the new additions to Inverness Golf Club, the future looks bright for racquet sports of all types. While sharing some similar elements, each sport has a lot of its own unique elements. Both offer a great way to get active and try a new challenge.