Bartow Pickleball Warriors
Bartow resident Teresa Wilson began playing pickleball at the beginning of the year and picked it up quickly. “I was a newbie. I had never played it before and I’ve gotten pretty good at it,” she says. “It’s not hard to learn.” Their group, unofficially dubbed the Bartow Fort Meade Pickleball Warriors, communicates through a Facebook page and Whatsapp.
“We have people in their 70s all the way to 10 years old. We have teenagers from the high school that join us. That’s what I love. It brings people together just for fun.” Her group plays on four free courts at Nye Jordan Park. If too many people show up, they do a rotation. One indoor court is also available at the Polk Street Community Center, she says.
Pickleball in the Heartland
Looking for places to play in your area? The following is a shortlist of pickleball courts across the Heartland and details about their use. This list is by no means extensive.
The Sun ‘N Lake Golf Club in Sebring offers free pickleball court use to members and is open to the public for a fee.
Sun n Lakes Community has tennis courts that are also marked for pickleball. You must pay for an entry card in order to drive into the park.
The Genesis Center has indoor pickleball on a fixed schedule. Players are asked to make a nominal donation of $2 or $3.
Nye Jordan Park has four free outdoor courts.
The Polk Street Community Center has one indoor court. Limited hours.
Kelly Recreation Complex has outdoor courts for free during daylight hours. Indoor courts are $2 per person per session, Monday-Friday 8AM to 12 Noon.
No reservations are necessary, and paddles and balls are available for use. Discounted pickleball passes are available for purchase.
Woodlake Park has six unlighted pickleball courts that are free to the public from dawn to dusk.
Camino Grove Park offers pickleball free with limited hours. Six pickleball courts are marked on three tennis courts and are available to players with their own portable nets on a first come, first serve basis.
If you’re tempted to check out what the hype is all about, the pickleball community would encourage you to give it a try! Bowers recently taught his nine-year-old grandson to play. Spoiler alert: he did great!