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Cresswind pickleball players hope to cultivate sport’s popularity
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From left, Cresswind residents Susan Chambers, Gary Kruse, Amy Pike and Jack Hollfelder play pickleball on Friday, May 25, 2018, at Cresswind at Lake Lanier. Cresswind is home to 15 pickleball courts, the most on a private facility in the state, and a pickleball club with 240 members. - photo by David Barnes

Imagine pingpong, but on a bigger scale. Or tennis, but on a smaller scale. It’s pickleball, a sport most anybody can learn with a quick lesson.

Pickleball at Cresswind

Residents at Cresswind at Lanier have fallen in love with pickleball. The community has a 240-member club and 15 private courts. They're trying to promote the growing sport in Hall County.
By: Layne Saliba

Susan Chambers, pickleball ambassador for Hall County, said there are a lot of reasons to play pickleball. It’s easy to learn. It can be played in a fairly small area. It can even be transformed into a portable game.

Cresswind at Lake Lanier, an active-adult community in Gainesville, has 15 private pickleball courts and a 240-member pickleball club.

Chambers has been working with others at Cresswind to take it to other parts of Hall County, especially to younger demographics.

“Anyone can learn,” Chambers said. “You don’t have to be an athlete. You don’t have to fit into any category of sport. You can literally just have an interest in learning something new.”

But she said in the past, it’s been more of a sport for retired people. As the sport has grown, children have seen their parents playing so they want to join. It’s also been introduced in schools, which has helped it grow.

So with the help of community centers in the area and a few other locations, Chambers is hoping to take pickleball to all of Hall.

“Three generations could all play,” Chambers said. “Grandparents, parents and children. They can all play together, and it’s accessible for all of them.”

Cresswind will be hosting its second annual Reed Financial Pickleball Tournament on Saturday, June 2. It’s just for members of their club to participate in, but it’s open to the public to watch. They’re hoping it will boost interest in pickleball from the surrounding community.

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