As the popularity of pickleball has rapidly continued to increase over the past few years, Southampton Town officials have been working to meet the requests of resident “picklers” eager for courts to play the fastest-growing sport in America. Today Town Board members and local pickleball players, including Vinny Mangano who is the ambassador who promotes and teaches the sport on the East End for the USA Pickleball Association, gathered for the ribbon cutting of four newly constructed outdoor courts at North Sea Community Park on Majors Path.
“This is going to be a very well utilized facility,” said Supervisor Jay Schneiderman who is an avid player. “There is a huge pickleball community here in Southampton Town and those numbers are only going to continue to grow as more people get exposed to it. It’s a great sport.”
While the game dates back to 1965, according to the USA Pickleball Association it has enjoyed a dramatic increase in recent years, growing by 34% from 2017 to 2020. Described as a combination of badminton, ping pong, and tennis, people have embraced pickleball because it is ideal for all ages and skill levels, tends to be less strenuous on the body than tennis, and is social and fun. “I just recently played for the first time and even as a beginner I had a blast,” said Kristen Doulos, Town Parks Director. “But I’ve also seen games with extremely skilled players and it can be very exciting and highly competitive.”
A bid went out earlier this year to construct the courts and was awarded to Landtek Group, Inc. who began work this past summer with subcontractor Classic Turf Company. The courts, constructed of post tensioned concrete and a cushioned sports surface, were built to the dimensions and standards of the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) and USA Pickleball. New sidewalks and fencing were also installed, and there are plans to add wind screens and other minor court related amenities in the spring.
“Pickleball is not only taking off in the US but around the world,” said Councilman Rick Martel. “It’s a game for all ages and I am happy to see that Southampton Town can offer this to its residents. If you haven’t tried it, pick up a paddle and enjoy!”
The new courts at North Sea Community Park will be open to the public starting October 27 (weather permitting) but may be closed for the winter season. This is a Town managed facility and does not require a Southampton Youth Services (SYS) membership but is for use by residents and their guests only.