The Pickleball craze takes over DeFuniak Springs

Jun 13, 2024 | Communities, DeFuniak Springs, Walton & Beyond

Local Pickleball enthusiast, Timothy Pickard in his favorite environment.

Fast Growing Sport

By Wendy O. Dixon

Pickleball is all the rage, as millions of people are taking their paddle to the court for a fun game. A little more user friendly than tennis, the rapidly growing sport is easy to learn, and it doesn’t require expensive equipment. The sport uses a smaller court, a lower net and a slower ball, meaning less exertion is required on a player’s part. Think of it as a combination of tennis, ping-pong and badminton. 

Picture of Pickleball Court

Timmy Pickard started playing pickleball a couple of years ago, and was searching for more players to join in. “I started asking around, and wanted to get more people involved so I started a pickleball Facebook page (called DeFuniak Springs Pickleball). Sandy Gulak, a pickleball ambassador in the South Walton area, recently taught 13 people and we had more on the waiting list.” 

Lisa and Timothy Pickard

Even if you’ve never played a racket sport, pickleball is a game you can pick up immediately.

“It’s fun. It’s addictive. And it’s easy to catch on to,” Timmy says. “The physical limitations are not as high. People in their 70s can play with people in their 20s.” 

While pickleball is a constant learning experience and there’s always room for improvement, anyone can enjoy the game on their first day. “I’ve seen plenty of people pick it up on day one,” Timmy says, describing the differences between pickleball and tennis. “The net is two inches lower in the center than a tennis net. Unlike a racket, pickleball uses a paddle with a fiberglass or honeycomb composite center, so it has no spring assist. The ball resembles a wiffle ball, so it doesn’t fly like a tennis ball. The great thing is that we can put two courts in the place of one tennis court.” 

Diverse picture of Pickleball players

As the sport grows Timmy hopes for more courts and more players of all ages. “A lot of high school kids play, and even if they’re only four or five, as long as a kid can swing the paddle, they can get in on the fun.”

Learn more about Pickleball 101 classes and when folks are playing by joinging the DeFuniak Springs Pickleball Facebook Group,

If you are a pickleball enthusiast in Walton County and are eager to share your story, contact us at (850) 543-8690 or send us an email, connect@hwy331.com.

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