Niagara-on-the-Lake's Pickleball Club is now providing six indoor courts during the fall/winter season.
An open house to show off three new indoor courts was held at the old Virgil Public School's gymnasium Sunday afternoon.
As the club’s membership rose “tremendously” to 247 members from 80 members over the year, three indoor courts at the NOTL Community Centre wouldn’t be able to serve all the members, said club vice-president Vince Serratore.
So, the club decided to rent the gym to provide three more courts for the winter months, Serratore told The Lake Report.
“We’re still looking for the facilities but it will help us get through this winter,” he said.
The sessions during the winter season will be split between the community centre and the gym at the old school.
In the summer, the club had nine courts. In addition to the existing three courts at the community centre, the club also opened six new courts at the Centennial Sports Park in June to accommodate the sport's growing needs.
Serratore attributed the membership increase to the addition of the outdoor courts.
“We started to attract people who are more on a competitive side,” he said. “Now, we’re on the crossroads where 60 per cent (of sessions) is recreational and 40 per cent is competitive. It’s a transitional year for the club.”
The $25 annual membership fee helps the non-profit club cover the rent, insurance and equipment expenses.
Most core members come from NOTL, although some travel from as far as Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and Vineland, Serratore said.
Virgil resident Vera Zhang said what she liked most about playing pickleball is that it provides “good exercise” and it’s “social.”
“It’s more fun than jogging,” she said.
St. Catharines resident Ed Blundell, who’s been involved in the sport for more than five years, said he also liked the social part of pickleball.
“It’s a good exercise and nice people here,” he said. “It’s a fun game to play.”