GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – Twice a week inside Thomas Hogans Memorial Gym laughter and cheering can be heard against the rhythmic pop of racquetball-style paddles lobbing what looks like large ping-pong balls over a tennis net.
It’s the sound of Green Cove Springs swinging into the growing sport of pickleball.
Pickleball is a combination of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It’s played on a tennis court with smaller boundaries, and players use a large paddle to hit a large, yellow plastic ball with holes over the tennis net to gain points.
The program is led by Green Cove Springs Parks and Recreation Program Director Glee Glisson, a competitive pickleball player. With Tim Murphy, music minister of First Baptist Church in Middleburg, Glisson has competed and won several pickleball tournaments in both age and skill level brackets.
“If you want to be competitive, you can do it at all levels,” said Glisson. “You can play this sport as easy as you want or as competitive as you want.”
The program runs 10 a.m. to noon every Monday and Wednesday and is open to both beginner and competitive players. The city also provides pickleball equipment.
Started in August, the program has already attracted up to 25 people per class, with an average of 10 to 12 people per class. Sign up is on a first-come-first-serve basis at the start of each time block, and the program is open to ages 10 to 100 years old.
For more information, contact Parks and Recreation Program Director Glee Glisson at 904-297-7500, ext. 3332.