Column: Subdivision pickleball and tennis problems, again

'My Point'

This last week there was a meeting held of tennis players (in general) in regard to the Prescott Lakes recreational area and a group of pickleball players, who have asked their board to consider taking one of their two tennis courts and convert it to a couple or more pickleball courts. Currently there are two tennis courts and five pickleball courts.

Both the tennis and pickleball groups have thriving programs at Prescott Lakes and both sports have very similar prime-times to play the game. The difference is tennis players book their courts to play in two-hour blocks and the pickleball groups just tell everyone to come at the same time, so they have lots of players hanging out and socializing around shorter games and time frames and would like more courts so there is less sitting around - so it seems.

The 50 or so people at the tennis meeting were up in arms that this is taking place, and now they feel as if they have to ban together and fight this proposal on all fronts. The simple writing is on the wall - take one of their two courts and you completely kill the tennis program there.

I was asked to attend the meeting and give my thoughts since I’ve seen this take place not only here in Prescott, but all over the country at different subdivisions and clubs.

It’s too bad to have all this bad blood going on, especially at Prescott Lakes, in that they probably have the best recreational facility of any of the subdivisions in the area. There are many good ones.

My personal thoughts are the discussion shouldn’t be about taking a tennis court away, but finding a spot to build additional pickleball courts and another tennis court if indeed it seems a worthy cause.

The people who bought into the subdivision have to pay a monthly fee over and beyond the home owners fee’s that goes to pay for their recreational area - club houses, pools, tennis, weight room, aerobics, restaurant, golf course, so to change amenities based for those who bought into that subdivision for tennis can be a big deal and a life changer.

Those tennis players could drive to the college to play, but they bought into Prescott Lakes so they could play there. And originally there was supposed to be four courts there, not just two, which would have really let them grow the tennis program.

For pickleball, eight new public courts were built at Pioneer Park, and are hopefully being utilized.

I hope the Prescott Lakes board recommends to shelve this idea and start discussions on building each recreation program with new amenities.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 40 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@gmail.com.