What started as a backyard game in the 1960s, pickleball, a paddle sport that combines the elements of badminton, ping pong, and tennis, has quickly spread with its friendly, multi-generational appeal, becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing sports. Even celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney and Reese Witherspoon are all getting in on the action.
And now resorts are adding pickleball courts to their traditional sports offerings of tennis courts and swimming pools, like Hammock Cove, an all-inclusive, adults-only resort, located on Antigua’s northeast coast, which has added two pickleball courts as an offered amenity for its guests to enjoy.
Robert A. Barrett, the founder & CEO of Elite Island Resorts became enamoured with the sport after reading about it in the Wall Street Journal, and then fate took its course.
“I remember reading about the sport, and then one day, I was driving my golf cart and picked up one of our hotel guests and we had a long talk about it. I only found out later that he was with the North American Pickleball Federation,” said Barrett. “That’s when I realized I had the perfect spot for the country’s first courts. I was building our first-ever luxury, adults-only, all-inclusive resort and had a great space. It wasn’t big enough for tennis, but perfect for pickleball!”
Two courts were built by Georgia-based, Veracourt, and align with regulations set forth by USA Pickleball, the national governing body of the sport in the United States.
Pickleball is a court sport played on a badminton-sized court with the net set to a height of 34 inches at the center. It is played with a perforated plastic ball and composite or wooden paddles about twice the size of ping-pong paddles. It can be played indoors or outdoors and is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.
“The travel and hospitality industry has taken note that the millions of pickleball players across the United States, choose their vacation destinations dependent upon the access of being able to play pickleball,” said Laura Gainor, Director of Media Relations for USA Pickleball and founder of Pickleball in the Sun, the source for the best pickleball destinations. “Pickleball is fun, social, and what players love most about the sport is they can play for 1-2 hours with friends and family, and no matter their skill level, everyone has a great time and gets healthy exercise.”
Hammock Cove features 42 individual villas that boast spacious outdoor living areas and private infinity plunge pools. two restaurants and three bars, a main pool and beach area, Tranquility Spa, fitness and wellness programs and butler service. The resort operates on an all-inclusive basis and caters to adults only and is located on the island’s northeast coast adjacent to Devil’s Bridge National Park.
Hammock Cove is part of Elite Island Resorts, a collection of unique beachfront properties in the Caribbean. Elite Island Resorts include the Club Resort and Spa in Barbados, Palm Island Resort in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Galley Bay Resort & Spa, St. James’s Club & Villas, Pineapple Beach Club and Verandah Resort & Spa, all in Antigua.
Source: Elite Island Resorts