March 15, 2013

A Message to all our Readers:

I want to extend a very sincere Thank You… to my fellow ambassadors and to all my fellow pickleball players across the region that have supported me over the past, almost FIVE years as I served as your Atlantic South Regional Director.

Unfortunately, circumstances now dictate that I step down from my post and pass the baton.  I will remain in this position until the end of May, 2013.  Ambassadors will be notified when a new director has been appointed.

This newsletter has been my way of communicating the growth, the success and the great fun that we have playing pickleball here in the ASR.  I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing the stories………….  So many of you have given us such great feedback on the newsletter that we are looking at some alternatives to bring it back – perhaps on a quarterly basis.  Until that time, continue to watch for new ambassador news, tournaments, upcoming events and more great stories on our Atlantic South Website! . Keep Swinging!

Donna Donald,
USAPA Ambassador, Florida Heartland


Russell Elefterion, joins our Atlantic South ambassador family representing the Tampa Bay area, specifically North Tampa, FL.  He has been working in Parks and Recreation for the past 34 years.  He is a past USTA tennis professional who has recently taken up the sport of pickleball. 

At the Northdale Recreation Center, pickleball went from a half dozen players to over 60 players in just 6 months!   Russell provided pickleball training for over 30 players twice a week and takes his entire program on local field trips one Friday a month to play other Pickleball clubs.   As an advocate for Parks and Recreation and to promote the game throughout Florida, Russell has offered to take the lead in setting up a seminar at the annual FRPA (Florida Recreation and Parks Association)  meeting.  If you are in the Tampa area and looking for a game of pickleball – give Russell a call .

Bob Hofmann joins our Ambassador family from Davenport, FL.  In the summer of 2008 Bob and his wife Beth left the great White North of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin to take up year round residence at Del Webb Orlando.  When Bob was up North he was a Project Engineer for Harley-Davidson with his last project being the lead for the V-Rod Muscle.  Bob also was a Motorcycle Safety instructor for over 20 years, and he was a Weight Watchers Leader for the last 4 years he  was in Wisconsin.
The great recreational facilities at Del Webb Orland, which include 4 lighted courts that are dedicated to pickleball, opened in April 2011.  Bob and his neighbors dabbled with this new sport during the summer and play accelerated in the fall. This led to the forming of the Pickled Webbers Pickleball club in the Dec. 2011, of which Bob was a charter member.  The Pickleball bug was alive and well at Del Webb Orlando.  Bob became president of the Pickled Webbers in January 2013.

Bob saw the value of Pickleball ambassadors in 2012 when his club contacted Larry Judd from Lake Ashton and asked him if he could come to Del Webb to give pointers and basic instruction about the game.  Larry and some of his pickleball players made the journey up to Del Webb and spent a morning teaching and coaching the Webbers about this great new game.  Bob and his players were truly impressed by Larry’s skill and love of the game.  Larry must have done a great Job because when Bob and Del Webb played his club in the South Central Florida Pickleball League, (SCFPL), Del Webb almost pulled off an upset, but Lake Ashton pulled out the victory in the final match.

Bob looks forward to sharing his love for pickleball with all the new people that will be moving to Del Webb Orlando in the coming months. He also looks forward to continued participation in the South Central Florida Pickleball League and for any opportunity for he and his fellow Webbers to go and help a community get a new program going just like Larry Judd did.

Bob also would welcome other Pickleball clubs to arrange a play date with the Pickled Webbers.   Bob said, “Playing with other communities has many advantages. The Del Webb players thought they were playing OK until they faced Tanglewood in SCFPL play.  They took us to school, but because of that match we are a better team today, and we had some great games and made some new friends along the way”.  

Verna Griffin/Sandy Hooker, Jacksonville Beach Area, FL:  I found Sandy via the “Places to Play” on the website. I was thrilled to discover she lives just a few blocks from me. Our partnership will truly benefit the promotion of Pickleball. I am retired and Sandy is only off on weekends. We are setting up play time during the week and weekends. 
With our list of player interest by way of their emails, what could be better than sending them the Atlantic South newsletter? Along with demos, clinics, open play, we are in the process of writing an article for our small local beach newspaper, The Beaches Leader.  The newspaper is always looking for interesting news involving the residents of our community.  
Our goal is to provide public courts for players. Right now the Isle of Palms court is the only public court in our area. We want to change that status to more. The city of Neptune Beach will be approached to utilize their lighted tennis courts for dual purpose. One by one, we will approach the other two communities for courts. (Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach) It is a matter of timing. Wish us luck!

Samey Noori has been appointed as our ambassador for Pinellas County, FL. Sammy is a recently retired Security Officer He is a tennis instructor with a classification of 4.50 and is a certified bridge instructor and director for the City of Dunedin. “I have played tennis both personally and competitively for about 30 years.  About one year ago I was introduced to the game of pickleball and soon became very passionate about the game. I quickly mastered the game, and am constantly trying to recruit players. The benefits of this sport cannot be disputed both physically and socially.”
Samey is currently the Operations Manager of the Sunrise Pickleball Club at the Countryside Recreation Center, in Clearwater, FL and is also very involved with the pickleball club at the Long Center in Clearwater.  

“I recently contacted The City of Dunedin and the City of Palm Harbor to establish pickleball as part of their activities. Both cities showed a great deal of interest and are actively pursuing possibilities.   In the city of Dunedin we have organized an outdoor venue on the tennis courts with an attendance of 12 people. The city has committed to permanently mark the outdoor tennis courts for pickleball use.”


Mike Hargett joins our ambassador family from Salter Path, North Carolina. Salter Path is located on a barrier island in Carteret County, bordered by Bogue Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1970, he served in the US Army for twenty six years followed by starting and owning a Department of Defense Consulting Firm in the Washington D.C. area. He retired in 2009 and remained active in sports through Cycling, Basketball, Kayaking and any other games he could find to play given the limitations of growing older, but not up.

A North Carolina native, he returned to the Tar Heel State in 2008 on a part-time basis and served on the Pine Knoll Shores, NC Parks and Recreation Committee. The committee’s main focus was the Annual Hope for the Warriors Kayaking Event designed to raise funds for the Hope for the Warriors Foundation. In addition to working on the Kayak event, the group started an annual Bicycle Race named Le Tour de Bogue Bank’s to raise funds for Hope for the Warriors. Last year these events raised $46,000 for this great cause which was organized by a town with only 400 (+ or -) full time residents.

He found pickle ball last year while playing tennis in the Carteret County Senior Games- they had a demonstration court set up and invited Senior Games participants to give it a try. It was love at first “Volley” and he has been playing twice a week since and encouraging anyone he meets to give it a try. Carteret County has its first local tournament beginning on April 4, 2013.

Darcy Hayes joins our ambassador family from Lake Wylie, SC : I am an empty nester.  My husband works hard and I play hard.  Our two boys, 23 and 26, live in Philadelphia, PA.  I am an avid tennis player and golfer, in season.  I'm learning bridge and love pickleball now!  I need a few more hours in the day!
I found out about Pickleball at the end of December 2012, from a Christmas card I received, noting a friend's love of the sport.  I googled it, watched the videos, and found out where they were playing it.  I went to watch, got to hit, played three games and I was hooked!  I knew I needed to get this sport in my neck of the woods.
We have moved around a lot with my husband's job and have told my friends in Pennsylvania, California, Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Canada, Texas, Georgia, North and South Carolina about pickleball.  I posted it on Facebook so any of my friends from all our moves (16 in 30 years!) will see it and maybe look into it.

I feel like an Ambassador at Large!


Delray Beach Senior Games: This year the 23rd Annual Senior Games took place in Delray Beach, but on February 14, 2013, pickleball was included in the games for the very first time at the Delray Beach Community Center (DBCC). 
According to Bill Jordan - There were 22 registered players, two from out of town and the rest local players.  The brackets were set up in three age groups, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 and up.  It was double elimination, with the losers going to a loser bracket with the chance to work up to play the top of the winner’s bracket. I chaired the event but had great help from my committee Steve Gerus, Mike Thaler, Aileen Tuckman and Sharyn Rosenberg along with many volunteers and great support from Tom Kwiatek from DBCC.
Charmaine Daniels shared some great photos from the day. In heated competition  in the top photo, Pam Garcia and Sam Cialdella took on Sharon Rosenberg and Stu Hausberg during the mixed doubles play. And talking home the gold in the Delray Beach Senior Games Mixed Doubles draw is Mike and Sue Thaler. CLICK HERE for all the tournament winners.

Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta – Pickleball Tournament: On Sunday, March 3, 2013, the MJCCA Mature Adults hosted their second Pickleball Tournament.  The tournament as host to 42 players from all over Georgia – Chateau Elan, Lake Oconee, & Dunwoody ranging in age from 16 – 99.   A great day of pickleball was had by all.  
Grandfather Jerry Schwartz & Grandson Jared Cohen  both players from MJCCA, finished in First Place. 
Brenda Young & Fred Reese of Lake Oconee finished second and Sid Cojac, Age 99, Known as the MJCCA’s ‘Mayor of Main Street’  also participated in the tournament. 
 Organizers are hard at work on a Tournament date for August.  The August tournament date will be announced the week of 3/18 and early bird pricing will be available.   CLICK HERE for more photos and to read more about pickleball at MJAAC.

Gulf Coast Senior Games: Scott Jalwan, Manatee County (FL) Parks and Recreation Supervisor and Senior Games director reports:  the Gulf Coast Senior Games Pickleball was held at the Englewood Sports Complex in Englewood, Florida on February 19 and 20, 2013. Doubles was held on Tuesday the 19th and Singles and Mixed Doubles were held on Wednesday the 20th. We had 10 men in the singles, 17 men double teams, 9 women double teams and 13 mixed teams competing in different age groups. CLICK HERE for tournament winners:

City of Ft. Myers Skatium Classic: The first Skatium Classic skill level tournament was held February 15 -17, 2013 at the City of Fort Myers Skatium.  110 participants turned out for an exciting weekend of pickleball.

Tournament Directors Nancy Meyer and Cindy Eddleman were pleased with both the turnout and the level of play.

The City of Fort Myers was thrilled to see pickleball come to their venue. City officials were impressed with the level of play during the tournament and were totally amazed at the number of participants who came to Ft. Myers to play.  The Skatium has open play Monday-Friday from 8-noon. 
CLICK HERE for tournament winners.  CLICK HERE for photo gallery

5thAnnual Cypress Cove Pickleball Tournament was held on March 9th at beautiful Cypress Cove Nudist Resort and Spa just south of Orlando.   Treated to beautiful, warm early Spring weather, twenty-four competitors from as far away as Germany played in a full day’s tournament, which was divided into two halves. 
The morning qualifying round started at 9am.  Players’ scores were used to seed them into the afternoon double-elimination bracket tournament.  Players were matched with others who had equal or similar scores and were paired as partners for the afternoon. All 24 players then played a standard double-elimination tournament for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. Play concluded at 3pm after some very exciting finals-round matches.  All 24 players enjoyed a wonderful day of vigorous competition and camaraderie.
Congratulations to the tournament winners! Bronze: Brendon Smith (Cypress Cove) &Tyrone Pasquet (Solivita).  Silver: Ray Brown (Cypress Cove) & Tom Guminski (Solivita).  Gold: (Pictured)  Tammy Brown (Cypress Cove) & Don Kelleher (Solivita) 
Pickleball is gaining steam every month at Cypress Cove, where we play at least five mornings a week year-round in a tropical garden setting next to a private 80-acre lake. Contact Mike Sullivan at for information on visiting and playing Pickleball with the fun, friendly folks from Cypress Cove!   CLICK HERE for full story and more photos!

Additional information and all links to registration forms are available in the Upcoming Tournaments/Clinics/Events section on our Atlantic South Website:

  •  2012 Good Life/Pinellas Senior Games, March 11 – 12, 2013, (Doubles) Seminole, FL.  April 1-2, 2013 (Singles and Mixed Doubles)  Clearwater, FL
  •  Capital City Senior Games, March 15-16, 2013, Tallahassee, FL
  • Charlotte County Senior Games, March 15-17, 2013, Punta Gorda, FL, USAPA Sanctioned (Tier 4)
  • Heartland Senior Games, March 15-16, 2013, Sebring, FL
  • Pickleball Open House, March 16, 2013, Nano Sports, Matthews, NC
  • 3rd Annual Riverbend Resort Classic, March 23-24, 2013, Labelle, FL – Skill Level Tournament open to ages 16 and up.
  • Gardens Senior Games, March 27, 2013, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
  • 2nd Annual Englewood Pickleball Tournament, March 29, 2013, Englewood, FL
  • Exhibition and Learn To Play, March 29, 2013, Wake Forest, NC
  • Pickleball Skills Clinic ( all levels of play), March 31, 2013, Raleigh, NC
  • Pickleball Demo/ Brunswick County Gator Senior Games, Opening Ceremonies – April 3, 2013, Winnabow, NC
  • Pickleball Demo/Clinic, April 5, 2013, Oakland Park, FL
  • East Naples Skill Level Tournament, April 5-7, 2013, Naples, FL
  • Carteret County Senior Games, April 11, 2013, Moorhead City, NC
  • Inaugural Hillsborough County Indoor Pickleball Championships,  April 11-12, 2913, Tampa, FL
  • Greater Greenville Senior Sports Classic, April 15-19, 2013, Greenville County, NC
  • The Villages Senior Games, April 18-20, 2013 The Villages, FL
  •  Cherokee County Senior Games, April 19, 20132, Waleska, GA
  • North Florida Spring Pickleball Challenge, April 20, 2013, Ocala, FL (Del Webb Communities Only)
  • Macon County Senior Games, April 22-24, 2013, Franklin, NC
  • Pickleball Demo/Clinic, April 25, 2013, Pine Island Park, Davie, FL
  • 2013 Pickleball Doubles Tournament, April 26-27, 2013, Hilton Head Island, SC
  • Pura Vida Pickleball Adventure, May 2-9, 2013, Westin Playa Concha, Costa Rica. (Registration is Full – Closed)
  • Mid-South Regional Tournament, May 30 – June 2, 2013. Mandeville, LA
  • National Senior Games Association (NSGA) Pickleball Tournament, July 21 – August 5, 2013, Cleveland, OH
  • Lake Lure Olympiad Sport Festival, Pickleball Tournament August, 23-24, 2013, Lake Lure, NC
  • 1st Annual Myrtle Beach Invitational Tournament, November 1-2, 2013, Myrtle Beach, SC
I know that many of the NC and SC Senior Games this year are including pickleball, either as an event or as a demonstration.  PLEASE provide me with the date, time and place and any links to flyers or registration forms so we can get them listed on the website!!! 


Verna Griffin/Sandy Hooker, Jacksonville Beach Area, FL: The number of players continue to grow at Isle of Palms Park in Jacksonville, often with 18 players!  Looks like they need to paint a third court! 
One of our goals is to acquire courts with lights. Neptune Beach has 3 tennis courts at Jarboe Park. Ambassador George Catalano of Jacksonville is joining forces to help with a presentation to the city of Neptune Beach along with their request to allow the center court to be painted with two Pickleball courts. By offering the game at night, it will provide the opportunity for even more players to join in the fun. ,. There is a charge of $5 per player per day.  There will be three indoor Pickleball courts set up in the gymnasium. Anyone interested can call the center at 561 742 6550, or contact me directly  561 758 1281,  or

Bob Musella, Boynton Beach, FL: After a few meetings with Todd Johnson, Recreation Supervisor with the City of Boynton Beach, I am pleased to announce that:  The City of Boynton Beach Recreation & Parks Department will be offering pickleball beginning March 11, from 9AM to noon on Mondays & Fridays at the Ezell Hester Jr. Community Center, 1901 N. Seacrest Blvd. Boynton Beach  FL 33435. There is a charge of $5 per player per day.  There will be three indoor pickleball courts set up in the gymnasium.  For more information, anyone can call the center at 561 742 6550

Dick Freshley, Palm Beach County, FL I was one of the loyal Pickleballers that attended the first day of play at the Hester Center in Boynton.  It was a smashing success.  I counted 42 people!  Bob and Eileen did a great job coordinating and getting everything set up.  Tod, the Hester Manager, was amazed, and of course pleased, at the turnout.  There were already twenty players waiting at the door when he arrived to open the facility.  We can now play Pickleball somewhere, every day of the week (except Sunday), in Palm Beach County.  
My wife and I were invited to play at Poinciana with some people we met at Hester. We had a good time playing there, under lights, last night. Poinciana is a huge senior development. There must be thousands of residents and the game will surely take off there as well. 

Russell Elefterion, Tampa, FLA reminder to the pickleball players in the Tampa FL and surrounding areas:  Hillsborough County Parks and Rec and the Northdale Owls will be hosting their Inaugural Indoor Pickleball Doubles Championships on April 11 and 12, 2013 at the All People’s Life Center in Tampa, FL   Registration is limited to the first 24 teams in each division so register now and join in on all the fun!    CLICK HERE for links to the tournament flyer and registration/waiver forms.

Jayne Rogers, Naples, FL:  The first, and hopefully annual, Foxfire-Lakewood Country Club Jamboree was held on Wednesday, March 6th at the Foxfire Community located on Davis Blvd. in Naples. 

Thirty plus players convened for two hours of social pickleball play.  The sound of laughter was ever present and despite the cold and strong wind everyone had a great time.  Following the playtime, the members of Foxfire hosted a delicious buffet of snacks and hors d'oeuvres and all the players mingled and got to know each other better.  Many found that the world is indeed a small place as players were from the same hometowns, and paths had crossed before. 

Thanks go to Arland "Mud" Waters, and Cathy Connors, along with the entire Foxfire group for hosting such a wonderful event.  Perhaps next season these groups will be able to have some competitive interclub play!

Cindy Eddleman/Nancy Meyer, N. Ft. Myers, FL: Our last tournament of the 2012-13 season will be the East Naples Skill Level Tournament at East Naples Community Park on April 5,6,7 2013.  We are excited to offer a new format which will include skill level and age level.  The 2.5 skill level will have ages 35+ and 65+.  The 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 skill levels will have ages 35+, 50+, and 65+.  The 5.0 skill level is open to any age level.  
There will be 16 lighted courts.  This is a double elimination tournament.  If there are 4 or fewer teams in a bracket, a Round Robin format will be used in those brackets.  This is a USAPA sanctioned tournament.  You do not have to be a USAPA member to participate, but must be at least 16 years old or older by December 31, 2013. 
We would like to thank all of you for your participation in all of our South Florida tournaments this year.  We appreciate all the support for the tournaments and we have been absolutely thrilled with the level of competition in these tournaments.  It has been fantastic!  We hope to see all of you at The East Naples Skill Level Tournament!  Please encourage all your friends to participate; this will be a great event for all levels of play.  CLICK HERE for links to the Tournament Flyer and Registration forms.  

New information is now available for reduced hotel rates AND a special presentation by  Greg Gott, Vice-President and Operations Manager for Pickleball, Inc. in Seattle, Washington who will be attending the tournament.  Pickleball, Inc. is the Gold Sponsor for this tournament. CLICK HERE

Ann Earley, North GA Pickleball Club:  Ann sent along some pictures of the North GA Club playing in the men’s doubles competition at the recent Tennessee Senior Olympics in Cleveland, TN.  And she also wants to make sure that all the North GA crew is recognized for their great play! With about 80 teams, Dennis Hartand his team ran a smooth, successful tournament.  What a difference to play pickleball in a gym!  Different balls, overwhelming noise, different surface, different lighting, different ball sound, new reflections, etc.  Balls would skid on a serve and die on a lob.  Totally new game and quite a challenge!
The Hospitality Room at the Cleveland Pickleball Tournament
not only had water and fruit for the participants, but also a large bowl of Almond Granola.  Small Dixie cups were available for scooping a little energy food.  Everyone loved it - so I thought it would be something good and unusual for the newsletter, so I am sending the recipe from Tennessee club member Kristin Beasley. I changed it somewhat by adding an additional cup of roasted Texas pecans and increased the amount of golden raisins to 3 ½ cups.  I also used 1 cup shredded natural coconut. Tweak it to fit your own taste! 
CLICK HERE for your recipe for Almond Granola Pickleball Snacks!


Joe Borelli, Raleigh, NC:  A reminder to the Raleigh players or players visiting the area.    A Pickleball Skills Clinic will be held and all level of players are welcome. The facility includes 3 indoor courts.  Instruction for beginner players will include rules overview, equipment, serving, pickleball strokes, volleys, dinks.  Intermediate instruction on shot selections, game strategy, court positioning.  Saturday, March 30th, 9:30 am to Noon.  Brier Creek Community Center, 10810 Globe Road, Raleigh, NC (919-420-2340
Marty Smith, Leland-Brunswick County, NC:   Brunswick Forest now has over 30 residents playing pickleball, what a joy to see. I've been asked to put on a demonstration of pickleball at the opening ceremonies,  to the Senior Games participants on April 3rd by Khrystye Haselden, 55+ programs coordinator, Brunswick County Parks and Recreation.

Bob Nibarger/Dan Kiurski,  Mecklenburg County North, NC: Bailey’s Glen in Cornelius North Carolina continues to promote pickleball in the Region and also to its residents.  Their newest promotion is a large banner promoting their Pickleball Club to prospects who tour their 55 and better community.  The idea and design for the banner came from their local pickleball committee in an effort to develop some branding for the new sport.  Other promotions include the establishment of pickleball at the local YMCA and Cornelius Parks Department.  All these locations are now promoted on the USAPA web site.

Coming soon are 4 new courts, raising their court total to 5.  Bailey’s Glen hopes to sponsor a tourney sometime later this year if the courts are completed on time.  Check the web site and visit them should you be in the area.   Visit us at

Rick Laskey, Jacksonville, NC:  
Two pickleball clinics were held this month.  The first was March 7 at the Aquatics & Fitness Center, 921 Staton Rd., Greenville, NC  
This picture was taken  during the Greenville clinic  and below is a note from    John Barrow, the Center’s Recreation Assistant,
Thank you so much for coming last Thursday. We thought the event was a complete success.  We had 23 people attend with the majority of them non-members to our facility. 
Several people commented on how much they enjoyed the event and the sport.  We also had many people interested in us starting open play for pickleball.  Per that interest, we are moving forward with purchasing the equipment needed.  Hopefully we will have day and time set by end of April for open play.  This would not have been possible without your help.  Thank you again.

And here are a few pictures from the second clinic on March 8th, at The Bobby Andrew Recreation Center, 231 E. 7th St., Washington NC.  The contact there was Frank Rhem of the Washington Senior Center.  This one was also a great success. There were 23 senior participants all from Beaufort County. 

Mike and Nancy Falkenstein, Franklin, NC  Blue Ridge Mountains Pickleball has welcomed 4 new players!  Two are "old-time" tennis players and two are "newbies".....the tennis players were hooked immediately!

It has been a little cool up here in Western North Carolina....Presidents Day a group of hardy souls braved 22 degree weather and played outside as the Armory was closed for the holiday.   Would you believe it took about 4 cracked balls before we realized the darn things were frozen!  So we sat on them like eggs and that fixed it! (just kidding).

Our Senior Games are closed but we will be playing Pickleball April 22, 23 and 24, in the Armory.  When the tournament is completed we will move outside using the Armory only when the weather is bad.  Our Parks and Recreation Department promises to have 2 Tennis Courts lined in paint for Pickleball (the tape didn't hold up very well) giving us a total of 4 Pickleball Courts.  The two tennis courts are lighted and the nets up all the time so our folks will be able to play any time!

Don and Judy Wirth, Naples. FL residents in the winter and summer Franklin, NC, residents report that their group has grown to over 30 players.....they picnic often after play...and they have added another court for a total of 4.  We are so proud of them for getting this so well underway in Naples.

As always, the welcome mat is out should anyone be in our area and want a game!


Mike and Loretta Beckner, Aiken, SC: Dena Long, Program Coordinator at Seven Oaks Park in Irmo, SC asked ifwe would help them start a pickleball program at their rec center by giving a demo to interested players and staff.  Dick Keeler, Maggie Ward and Mike & Loretta Beckner went to Irmo on Wednesday, Feb. 6th to give the demo.  Between staff and players, there were around 20 people in attendance.
We gave a short talk on the history of the sport, court layout and equipment, and rules of the game.  We played a couple of games, and then spent time playing with interested players.
Dena will identify one or two people, possibly staff members, to train the other players and get the program up and running."  



February 15, 2013 

The Atlantic South Region (ASR) E-Newsletter is distributed on the 15th of each month to all ASR Ambassadors. This newsletter is intended to keep all of you apprised of what is happening in your region and to consolidate our news into a once/monthly communication. Please forward this information to all USAPA members, all pickleball players/clubs in your regions and post to your local pickleball Blogs or Websites


The Atlantic South Region hosted their very first Regional Tournament, Feb. 1-3, at the East Naples Community Park in beautiful Naples, Fl. Sixteen lighted courts were filled with some thrilling competition for three days. Tournament directors, Nancy Meyer and Cindy Eddleman spent months in preparation for this significant milestone for our Region, and they should be commended for giving us an absolutely outstanding tournament.

Special thanks to our Gold Sponsor, Pickleball, Inc. represented by Greg Gott from Seattle, WA. Who took the time to attend the tournament. Special thanks to our Silver Sponsors, Teksoft Ventures, Quality Inn and Suites, and Pickleball Specialties. Special thanks to our Bronze Sponsors, Ashworth Awards, Associates in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, and Whole Foods. Thanks also to our Friends of Pickleball: BB&T, Tanglewood Pickleball Club, City of Aiken, SC, Daytona Shores Pickleball Club, Lee County Insurance Agency, SType Sports, Camping World, and Mt. Olive Pickle Company.

Another very special thanks to all the volunteers and those who tirelessly refereed for three days, allowing us to meet the sanctioning requirements.

 Nearly 250 players from 21 States across the country took to the courts for a double elimination competition in doubles, mixed doubles and singles play. We were recently notified by the USAPA that our tournament qualified for Tier 3, so points will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners based on Tier 3 instead of Tier 4.

 The tournament was open to players 19 and older. Regional Directors and local ambassadors from across the country came with their players to represent their locations. We also welcomed the two-time National Pickleball Champion, Jennifer Lucore from California. She partnered with National Champion Phil Bagley from Florida in the mixed doubles making the 19 and over competition exceptionally exciting.

Complete information on the tournament is available on our Atlantic South Website and includes information or links for tournament and player social, tournament results, awards, sponsors/donations, tournament photo gallery and more…………CLICK HERE


In Florida…..

Irene Boulgakova joins us from Florida, representing the historic city of St. Augustine, FL. I was born and raised in USSR. Growing up I played tennis and after finishing College went to San Francisco as an exchange student. It was there that I met my husband.  Three years ago we visited St. Augustine, FL as tourists and absolutely fell in love with historic downtown, the great beaches and the nice people. We decided to relocate from San Francisco. Our e-commerce business allowed us to make the move in a short period of time.
 I discovered pickleball on-line, just a few months ago and was intrigued with the game right away. I purchased paddles and balls and a net and began playing with my tennis friends on the tennis courts. Plans are to promote the game first in their own community with the help of their social club and to introduce the game to some of the ocean communities and/or tennis centers. Irene hopes also hopes to build a pickleball website for her area. She has lots of help with nearby Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra ambassadors eager to have some new competition in the area, and ready to help her with demos or clinics. Says Irene: I truly believe that many people will enjoy pickleball in the Nation’s Oldest City.

Rayon and Doreen (Reenie) Gilbert are our new Joint Ambassadors for Gulf Breeze/Pensacola, FL. They both took up the game while living in Hot Springs Village, AR in 2009. Pickleball grew on both of them, as it did in the Hot Springs community. Hot Springs Village now has a thriving attendance of over 60 players, and it is growing by leaps and bounds. Raybon and Reenie are both retired from the Financial Services industry where they were both brokers for several large investment companies and soon after, took up careers in banking as well. Raybon is originally from Las Cruces, NM and Reenie hails from Chicago, IL.
Regarding Pickleball, they have competed in numerous venues to include tournaments in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Arkansas. After moving to Florida in 2011, Raybon was disappointed to learn that no one was playing pickle ball in the area, so they let the game go. After a year of withdrawal symptoms, he and Reenie decided to volunteer to get the game going in Gulf Breeze and assist those wanting to play in Pensacola to make it happen. Nearby Destin, FL has established the game, so Raybon and Reenie’s goal will be to grow Pickleball in Gulf Breeze/Pensacola Area to get folks enjoying the game. From there, they will plan for good spirited competition with neighboring cities along the coast and various USPA sanctioned events. What a fun time to be involved with the USPA and Atlantic South Region. 

 Bob Musella joins our ambassador family from Boynton Beach, FL: After graduating St. John's University in 1970, Bob worked as a recreational therapist for New York State Department of Mental Hygiene. Since then coaching and playing various sports has been an integral part of his life. He was a T-ball coach, a girls' softball coach and a recreation director for a private elementary school in Taos NM. His work experience was diverse, but all had teaching his peers as an integral component. He loves to learn and he loves to teach and he loves to play games 
 During the summer of 2012, while in Taos NM, Bob was introduced to what is now his favorite passion… Pickleball. Here in Florida Bob plays as an original member of the group that ambassador Josh Kalin of Delray Beach put together, where week after week more and more folks show up to play. Bob lives in Boynton Beach, a city of 65,000 with 31 city parks, six with tennis courts, 10 with basketball courts, 1 gymnasium and a full on Tennis Center. If he can show a need, the city will be interested. Delray Beach has 4 pickleball courts; and he’s sure that Boynton will follow. The YMCA in Boynton Beach has already been approached and is considering blocking out three mornings a week for pickleball. So the seeds are there, they only need some cultivation. Also west of Boynton are dozens of retirement communities which have inquired about setting up demonstrations. 
 Bob spends six months in Boynton Beach in the winter, and then summers in Taos NM where he will also serve as a USAPA ambassador. 

In North Carolina…

Joe Vartanesian – Please welcome Joe Vartanesian recently appointed as our ambassador to Wake Forest, NC. Joe is now retired after 30 years in corporate America, (IBM). He’s been the General Manager of a professional soccer team, and is active in Wake Forest with various organizations, including pickleball, where about 30 players already enjoy the game. 
Joe is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors at a multi-million dollar condo complex and is very active in mission work at his church. He now has his 3 year membership with USAPA has purchased a portable net and is ready to start promoting pickleball even more in the Wake Forest area.
Pickleball will soon be featured in the local newspaper, and later this month Joe is scheduled to meet with the Parks and Recreation Department folks to sell them on the idea of expanding pickleball to seniors in the community. Discussions have commenced on a low scale with the local high school about offering this to the youth in the area and he’s already got sponsorship from a local therapy organization and his group continues to grow and expose our game to the local communities. 

Jim Wilson joins our Atlantic South Ambassador family from North Carolina. I am excited to be the ambassador for the Chapel Hill/ Pittsboro NC area, as there's no pickleball around here. So, there is nowhere to go but up. 
I am 71 years old and just celebrated my 49th wedding anniversary with my sweetheart, Lee. I am a gym rat who took up pickleball when I got fed up with my deteriorating golf game.
I have played the game for 3 years after retiring from careers in retail and business consulting. I am an enthusiastic, energetic guy and an ardent promoter of the game. I play doubles and singles at a pretty high level, I am told, but see lots of room for improvement. I've been playing in Cary, NC 2-3 times a week (a 90 minute round trip) with a great group of people. Mike Walsh, Luis Vasquez, and Joe Borelli are the ambassadors in that area and have done a super job. There are now over 150 players on the email list. Mike got it started- from scratch. I will elicit their support and follow their model to secure locations and grow the game in my area.

(Presentation at the Atlantic South Regional Tournament Social by Regional Director, Donna Donald)

The Pioneer Award was introduced by USAPA to recognize exceptional performance over a period of time on the part of our ambassadors. What a better time and place to introduce our 2012 Atlantic South Region recipient than here at our very first Regional Pickleball event.

We are recognizing the outstanding and tireless dedication, commitment and personal leadership of two individuals who support and promote our great game of pickleball to people of all ages, not only in their own area but across the state and beyond………………. 
We are so glad they joined our pickleball family! They were introduced to pickleball in 2005, became USAPA members and ambassadors for N. Ft Myers, FL back in July of 2008. Since that time they have been absolutely unstoppable. They have expanded pickleball significantly in SW Florida with beginner and intermediate clinics at both private communities and public venues. 

These two ladies also introduced USAPA Sanctioned Skill Level tournaments to our Region, the first one held at the Riverbend RV Resort in Labelle, FL in December of 2011…………… and two more will take place this year, one in Naples and one at the Skatium in Ft. Myers. They were tournament directors for the Battle of Franklin in Franklin, TN and most recently for the Atlantic South Regional tournament here in Naples. They also introduced pickleball to Corporate America. In December of 2011, they introduced pickleball to the IT Department of Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy as part of the Employee Team Building Program.

Nancy Meyer and Cindy Eddleman, were both presented with a Pioneer Award Plaque, and will receive a USAPA T-Shirt with the new logo, and a 3-year free USAPA Membership renewal, with our thanks and appreciation, as the recipients of the 2012 Atlantic South Region Pioneer Award. CLICK HERE to read the full presentation………… 


2013 Geezer Meister Tournament: This very popular annual tournament took place from January 17-19, 2013 on the beautiful pickleball courts at the Del Webb Spruce Creek Community in Summerfield, FL. Some of the very best players from across the state and beyond, participated in this USAPA Sanctioned Tier 3 event. That made for some great fun and some outstanding competition. 
 Congratulations to the tournament directors for another great pickleball event. Jim Claycomb of Spruce Creek shared the following: We had 203 players this year--a new record. A little rain and wind pushed us to the third day. Even with 12 courts used for match play, and 3 portable nets for warm up on the tennis courts, we still played well into the evenings. Thanks to all the volunteers that made this tournament a huge success! 
Tournament results can be found on the USAPA Tournament results page or you can CLICK HERE for pictures and names of all winners. CLICK HERE for more action shots.

 FT. Myers Pickleball Expo: The Harbor Lakes RV Resort in Port Charlotte, FL was host the 2013 Pickleball Expo on Wednesday, February 6th. Players from the Peace River RV Preserve in Wauchula and the Pioneer Village in North Ft. Myers joined the players from Harbor Lakes for a day of fun, food and great pickleball. Special thanks to Harbor Lakes Manager Kim Harper and the hardworking residents under the leadership of Marty Keinhofer for a well-organized event in both men’s and ladies’ doubles competition. 
But it was the Peace River Preserve that sent the largest entourage of players and who went home with 5 of the 6 awards. No matter – it was so much fun – that everyone went home feeling like a winner – even the spectators! 
Another Equity Life Styles (ELS) Expo will take place in March and the pickleball courts at the Bay Indies community in Venice, FL will be the host of the pickleball competition on March 6th. CLICK HERE for more photos and tournament winners! 

Third Annual City of Jacksonville, NC Pickleball Tournament: The tournament was sponsored by the Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department, Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission and took place at the Jacksonville, NC Recreation Complex on February 8th and 9th. Players competed in doubles and mixed doubles competition under the direction of Jojo Cariacio, the Senior Citizen Program Supervisor. The double elimination event featured age brackets of 50+, 60+ and 70+, with each qualifying match of one game to 15 points. Medal matches were best 2 out of 3 games, with medals awarded for 1st , 2nd and 3rd place in each division. There were a total of 97 players registered. States represented were North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New York, and Maine. CLICK HERE for results. CLICK HERE for Photo Gallery compliments of Jacksonville player, Joan Taylor.

Kiwi Challenge on the Space Coast: The Kiwi Tennis club hosted a Pickleball Challenge on Friday February 1, 2013. Kiwi Tennis Club is one of Central Florida's finest private tennis clubs, featuring 13 lit courts, 9 of which are clay surfaced, and two exhibition courts which are overlooked by a casual fine dining area. The entire event was actually played on clay courts. This is the first time that the Kiwi Club had seen and or experienced pickleball.

We started out the night with the two resident tennis Pro’s taking on Prem Carnot and Scott Nelson in a pickleball exhibition match. This was a learning experience for the dozens of people watching pickleball for the first time. After the exhibition match 15 teams were matched up (one non- member pickleball player and one tennis player) in a winner take all single elimination pickleball tournament style format. This format allowed the tennis players to learn the game quickly from their partners. At the end of the night most everybody agreed that it was a fun night and is already talking about another event. Congratulations to Griselda Allen (Right) and Kevin Landress (middle right) for taking first place and Nancy Stanifer (left) and Pete Kohler (middle left) for taking second place.

Daytona Beach Seniors Pickleball Tournament: Daytona Beach had their first annual tournament Feb. 8 and 9 at Pelican Bay. They christened their four new pickleball courts which had just been completed two weeks before the tournament. The two day tournament brought players from The Villages, Winter Garden, Deland and Daytona Beach. Spectators came from North Carolina, Georgia, Minnesota, Arkansas, and Ohio who joined the participants for the very tasty Barbequed Pork Butt and homemade sides and desserts and for open play after the tournament. The best part about the tournament, other than the weather, was the participants. Pickleball players must be the most friendly and congenial group of athletes. I wonder if it doesn’t have something to do with the age. All look forward to coming back next year. CLICK HERE to read more about the Pelican Bay’s new courts, for more great pictures and for the tournament winners!

January 22, 2013

On behalf of The Corkscrew Picklers THANK YOU to USAPA for the generous grant of $250.00.
We have formed a club and play 4 days a week in Corkscrew Woodlands in Estero, Florida. We are a 55 and over park, and have players spanning three decades. We share the courts with tennis players, so we have to dismantle nets each time we play and "tape" the courts on Thursday. We remove the tape each Sunday. We proudly displayed our USAPA banner at a recent Activities Fair, and streamed your instructional CD during the event. We distributed the literature provided by USAPA and used your rule book as our guide. We also post the banner at the courts during play. We have designated Friday afternoon as "Beginner's Play" and the more experienced players patiently introduce "newbies" and work with novice players. We use the "How To Host Beginner Demo Clinics: Sample Beginner Clinic Instructors Checklist" and are very happy with the results. We are initiating name tags this week, as we now have close to 50 players! We are grateful!

Corkscrew Picklers,
C/O Jane A Niehaus, President, Estero, FL

Additional information and all links to registration forms are available in the Upcoming Tournaments/Clinics/Events section on our Atlantic South Website:

• Pickleball Demo/Clinic, February 13, 2013, Tamarac, FL
• Delray Beach Senior Games, February 14, 2013, Delray Beach, FL

  •  City of Ft. Myers Skatium Classic – February 15, 16, 17, 2013, Ft. Myers, FL Skill Level Tournament open to ages 16 and up. (Tier 4) 

• Gulf Coast (Manatee County) Senior Games, February 19-20 2013, Englewood, FL.
• Lee County Senior Games, February 22-24, 2013, Ft. Myers, FL
• Doubles Tournament, Marcus Jewish Community Center/Atlanta, Dunwoody, GA, March 3, 2013
• Polk County Senior Games, March 5-6, 2013, Poinciana, FL, REGISTRATION DEADLINE, FEBRUARY 6, 2013
• Fifth Annual Cypress Cove Pickleball Tournament, March 8, 2013, Kissimmee, FL
• Capital City Senior Games, March 15-16, 2013, Tallahassee, FL

  •  Charlotte County Senior Games, March 15-17, 2013, Punta Gorda, FL, USAPA Sanctioned (Tier 4) 

• Heartland Senior Games, March 15-16, 2013, Sebring, FL
• 2012 Good Life/Pinellas Senior Games, March 19-20, 2013, Seminole, FL (Singles – Clearwater – April 6th)
• 3rd Annual Riverbend Resort Classic, March 23-24, 2013, Labelle, FL – Skill Level Tournament open to ages 16 and up.
• Gardens Senior Games, March 27, 2013, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
• 2nd Annual Englewood Pickleball Tournament, March 29, 2013, Englewood, FL

  •  East Naples Skill Level Tournament, April 5-7, 2013, Naples, FL 

• Pura Vida Pickleball Adventure, May 2-9, 2013, Westin Playa Concha, Costa Rica. (Registration is Full – Closed)

  •  Mid-South Regional Tournament, May 30 – June 2, 2013. Mandeville, La
  •  National Senior Games Association (NSGA) Pickleball Tournament, July 21 – August 5, 2013, Cleveland, OH 
• 1st Annual Myrtle Beach Invitational Tournament, November 16-17, 2013, Myrtle Beach, SC 
 Do you have a tournament/round robin or social event that should be listed here? 



Alan Butler, Clearwater, FL: At the Long Center in Clearwater, FL, in addition to our regular open play time, we have established two three hour sessions per week that we call "Pickleball Leagues" or "Mini Tournaments". We have League play every Monday and Wednesday. The League sessions start at 11:30 am and end at about 2:30 pm. The Leagues are designed for players who desire a more competitive level of competition during the week, without spending long wait times between matches, or having to spend an entire day as in a conventional tournament. 
We have both Advanced Leagues and Intermediate Leagues for players to choose from, depending on the player's skill level. One does not need a partner to play in our Leagues. We use what is called the "Wiseman Mixer" format, which consists of seeded round robin groups, in which each player partners with each of the other players in his group once, and opposes each of the other players twice. In league play, there is very little wait time between matches. A player will be actively playing about 80-90% of the time in a typical 3 hour League session. There is no long term commitment to join our Leagues. You may sign up for one session at a time, or we have what is called a "League Pass" for those players who will be playing in a given League on a regular basis. Players with the League Pass are always guaranteed a spot in every League session. We now have about 20 active League players, from ten different cities in the greater Tampa Bay area. The Leagues have been in existence for about nine months. We are in the process of reaching out to new players so that we can increase attendance. We now have six indoor courts which will enable us to expand the number of players participating in the Leagues to 23 players per session, and still keep the playing time within the 80-90% range. 
The Long Center also offers regular clinics and coaching sessions. Visit our website at: for additional information and contact information for Alan Butler(league play) and Bob Cicetti (clinics and coaching) can also be found on the website. 

Josh Kalin, Delray Beach, FL Our very first public pickleball demo/clinic for Palm Beach County was held in January at the Patch Reef Park Tennis Center in Boca Raton, FL. WOW, was it well attended. Someone counted over 200 curious people. We counted 188. Whose arithmetic is better?? Either way it was a huge success for our Delray Beach pickleball group. We demonstrated the game and people started emerging from their seats, lining up in three lines ready to see what this Funny Name.... Great Game.....Pickleball is all about. They all had fun trying to hit the ball and serve. As a result of the demonstration, several people are now converted players and playing with us. The picture shows the fans watching the demo/clinic. Start counting - they are all engrossed! My wife, Harriet and I have worked hard to introduce pickleball here in Palm Beach county, and have had great success, thanks in part to the fantastic pickleball article in the local sun Sentinel newspaper, published the day before our demo, that sparked the interest of people who never played before as well as those who play up north. Pickleball continues to expand along the south east Florida coast. Since January USAPA ambassadors from Dade/Broward County - Mitchell Ball, and Boynton Beach, Bob Musella, have joined me and fellow Palm Beach County ambassador Dick Freshly in introducing new places to play this great game along Florida's southeast coast. 

Mitchell Ball – Dade/Broward County, FL - Mitch just joined our ambassador family in January and he has been on fire in southeast Florida. He set up an on-line pickleball website/meet up and has attracted about 20 people to the game, has set up open play several days/week, added a new location to our places to play page, met with recreation officials and has been able to schedule a demo/clinic in Tamarac, FL this month, which hopefully will be one more venue for players. 

Larry Neely, Land O’Lakes, FL: Linda Inslee of the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club contacted me and asked to have pickleball introduced to the residents of the Lake Jovita community in San Antonio, FL. With the help of fellow ambassador, Don Bass of Wesley Chapel, FL, a Pickleball Start-Up took place on the community tennis courts on February 10th. More than 25 people attended! Seemed to me to be very successful. 

Rich and Donna Donald, Florida Heartland: On Saturday February 9th, we hosted a Pickleball Skills/Techniques Clinic for the players at the Thousand Trails RV Preserve, along the Peace River in Wauchula, FL. Rich (pictured top left) provided almost two hours of instruction on everything from effective court positioning, proper ground stroke techniques, dinking, volleys to the ever important “third shot” About 20 players came out to listen, observe and try…………….and they were still out on the court practicing when we left!

Ann Earley, Canton, GA: Despite the morning temperature of 44 degrees, the North Georgia Pickleball players had three courts filled and a few folks sitting out. Everyone seemed to have a really good pickleball day! The sun was great and we had very little wind but by 1:30 when everyone left, the temperature was still only 47 degrees! A little later in the week, on Saturday the players were invited to bring their chili fixins’, desserts or drinks and join the chili “linner” (meal between lunch and dinner) after pickleball play. Who could pass up Ann’s Texas chili and Tom’s rosemary bread! 
We are so proud of our North Georgia Pickleball Club members who drove down to Naples, FL to the Atlantic South Regional Pickleball Tournament and won several categories. Pictured, (front row) Lana Chadwick, Bill Hess, and Pat Dunn. Row two is Steve Dunn and Floyd Moody. Top row is Carole Hess. Not pictured, Renate Hess and Stephen Hess. Congratulations to Steve & Pat Dunn, winning silver in mixed doubles, Pat Dunn and Lana Chadwick winning silver in women’s doubles, Renate Hess, winning Bronze in the ladies doubles. and to Bill Hess &; Steve Dunn winning silver in men’s doubles. 

North Carolina 

Mike and Nancy Falkenstein, Franklin, NC: We continue our indoor play at our Armory with 3 courts for play. We have a regular group of 12-16 most days and the competition is fierce! 
 Three of our regulars competed in the Atlantic South Regional Tournament in Naples. Don and Judy Wirth won the Bronze in Men's Doubles and Women’s Doubles respectively. We are very proud of them! Don and Judy call Naples home and have started a group in Naples that is growing by leaps and bounds! 

Paul Baillargeon traveled from Franklin, NC all the way to Naples where he played Men's Doubles and Mixed Doubles. The tournament sponsors found him a Mixed Doubles partner and he played with Steve Hess from Deaton Creek, GA in Men’s Doubles. This was Paul's first tournament and he reports not only was it great experience, it was extremely well run and he'll go again! 
And Don and Judy Wirth sent along some pictures of the two of them with Paul and Joyce Baillargeon, taken at the player social prior to the tournament, pictures of the medal winners and a group photo of the players from Fleischman Park in Naples. Judy reports: “I was a referee today since I wasn't playing. It was a lot of fun and the players were all so nice to me. Great experience. 
While at the tournament she picked up some extra registration forms for the players back at the Park for the upcoming Skill Level tournament in Ft. Myers and sent ahead a note to the group: Cindy &; Nancy are the organizers. They did a fabulous job with the first USAPA Regional in Naples. We are so lucky to have this caliber tournament here in Naples. I expect we will continue to see more players joining us at Fleischman Park. 

Rick Laskey, Jacksonville, NC: Mike Spencer, photographer for the Star News in Wilmington NC, stopped by the First Baptist Church Activity Center last Monday, January 28. The Activity Center has six indoor pickleball courts and open pickleball every Monday evening from 6-8pm. One of the his pictures appeared with a caption in the Area Calendar section of the paper on Tuesday, January 29. This is one picture from that evening.
CLICK HERE to see all the pictures in the photo gallery at 

A message from your editor: I know that last month I reported a change in the handling of the monthly newsletter and the website. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I will for the time being, continue to write and distribute this newsletter and continue with the website. As you can see from the write –up above Mitch is on a pickleball rampage in South Florida! My apologies for the confusion. 
Thanks Donna Donald 

If you have ANY story, news or information from your area that you would like to share with our readers in our monthly newsletter or on our Website, please send it to Donna Donald at

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