Pickleball classes offered, open play welcome at new courts in Gypsum | VailDaily.com

Pickleball classes offered, open play welcome at new courts in Gypsum

Pickleball 101 instructor Jerry Santoro, center, offers some tips as students crowd the new courts at the Gypsum Creek Club to take their first shots at the game. As Santoro explained, pickleball is easy to learn, but hard to master.
Pam Boyd | pboyd@eaglevalleyenterprise.com |

GYPSUM — Pickleball is about to become a much more popular downvalley pastime because it’s now free to play with the opening of eight new outdoor courts located at the Gypsum Creek Clubhouse.

The new courts have replaced a number of clay tennis courts at the site in a $150,000 construction project jointly funded by the town of Gypsum and Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District.

On the official USA Pickleball Association website, it is described as “a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. The 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 combines elements of tennis, badminton and pingpong. It can be played in singles or doubles format, and the only equipment required is a paddle, a wiffleball and tennis shoes.

With such minimal equipment needs, Gypsum Rec Center manager Scott Ruff said WECMRD is excited to begin its pickleball programming. Eventually, the rec district plans to offer men’s, women’s and doubles leagues, along with a ladder-play tournament series.

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“The goal is to get a lot of people involved,” Ruff said. “We are seeing pickleball players of all ages and levels.”

To that end, a Pickleball 101 course for adults has already filled up for three consecutive Wednesdays beginning this week. Instructors Jerry and Robyn Santoro noted the great thing about pickleball is that while it is easy to learn, it takes a lot of practice to get good. That means it’s a sport that’s simple to pick up and complex enough to keep your interest.

“The great thing about pickleball is in two hours you can really get into playing the game,” Jerry Santoro told the assembled students.

Indoor pickleball hours on the volleyball courts at the Gypsum Rec Center have been suspended now that the weather is nice and the outdoor courts are ready for play. Ruff urges anyone who is interested in learning the game to head out to the new courts because anyone playing at the site can offer some tips. Beyond that, for more information about future pickleball classes or league play, call the Gypsum Rec Center at 970-777-8888.

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