RESCHEDULED: Courtside Pickleball & Tennis Club grand opening Sunday, Oct. 27.
Pickleball has come to Dover.
The Colonial Tennis Club, built in 1973, has transformed into Courtside Pickleball & Tennis Club after renovations under new owner Joel Halpern.
The club now offers six tennis courts and 12 pickleball courts, all under lights.
“Pickleball is raging through the United States as the most fun sport. It’s so addicting,” said Becky Moody, manager of Courtside Pickleball & Tennis.
A sport with paddles and a whiffle-like ball that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong, pickleball has been popular among older generations for decades.
While pickleball is played on a smaller court and often requires a softer swing than tennis, Moody said it is a game of finesse for people of all ages.
“The rules are simple, the game is easy for someone to learn, but it can develop into a fast, quick-paced, competitive game for an experienced player,” said Moody, an avid pickleball player.
The club will offer tournaments and ladder leagues for pickleball and tennis, and individual and group lessons. Delaware State University’s women’s tennis team will take advantage of the new courts, using them to practice and compete in the spring.
John Grady, former president of Colonial Tennis Club, said he noticed interest in tennis drop in the years since he moved to Dover in 1976, but he said the pickleball courts might help revive the club.
“The word was that a developer was going to buy the four acres and put a house on each acre,” Halpern said. When he heard that earlier this year, he sprang into action and decided to buy it.
The private tennis club has shaped the neighborhood. Names of surrounding roads allude to the sport’s famous tournaments, like Wimbledon Drive.
“My wife, [Dianne], and I wanted to see things change there; it’s like part of this development around here,” he said.
The couple has been renovating the courts and clubhouse for the past nine months. They plan to create a pro shop on the first floor, he said.
“He has done a wonderful job getting the place up and going,” Grady said.
The grand opening will take place Sunday, Oct. 27.
“We’re super excited that we have this new opportunity to play even more tennis and pickleball in Dover,” Moody said.