Pickleball vs Tennis at The Club at Olde Cypress

Christie Pollin, USPTA/ PTR, Director of Racquets 

We know pickleball has become crazy popular over the past five years. Just how popular has it become at Olde Cypress?

When we first built out courts a few years ago, we were seeing casual play here and there. Then, we developed a daily drop-in group where anyone could come and play- this was to encourage meeting neighbors interested in pickleball and one consistent time when people knew they had a pickup game. Now, we are lucky if there are 30 minutes of breaks betweencourts a day. We have a drop-in group, a beginners' group, a women's group, rounds robins, clinics, and social play. The courts are bursting at the seams. 

How would you describe the difference between the two players in general? 

Fortunately, we have a lot of crossover from tennis to pickleball and vice versa which keeps it fun. We do have the people who strictly play one or the other as well. The player who is playing only pickleball tend to either come from a tennis background and can no longer play the full court or have back/ knee injuries that don't allow the same movement or we have the player who has no racquet background but have athletic ability who pick it up. Our tennis players can play both easily but continue to like and play tennis for more of the team aspect, exercise, and the ability to work to be a higher-level tennis player. 

We've heard that pickleball is crazy easy and so fun to start playing. It's exorbitantly social in that you are playing with another and get to swing your paddle and hit your ball with many others during a typical match. Is this true, and do you feel it will ultimately trump tennis?

Well, pickleball is easy to break into and start having a great time, but pickleball is not necessarily easy per se at a high level if you've ever watched it on TV. The incredible thing about it is that it can be played on so many levels, and it's so much fun that I think it has attracted so many members. It's so many clubs of different ages.


Explore our Racquet Sports team and all the  lessons and clinics they provide! 

OK, let's not forget about tennis. It's still a beautiful game and is one of the roots of so many private clubs along with golf. Do you see that tennis will remain popular for certain members, and will it continue to attract younger players?


What can golf clubs do to make tennis even more popular with existing and potential new members who are new to the sport or those who have been playing for many years?

The most important thing is to offer ALL level activities for members. We cannot just prioritize the people who have played for many years. The newer, younger members, mostly the mothers who finally have some time for themselves, still want to get exercise and social time and maybe still even compete. Offering a 2.5 (the lowest level of tennis) team while also offering a 4.5 option team is equally as important.

Plus, once you get the newbies in for tennis, you can create a long-standing relationship and client. They start with lessons and clinics, then they play their first social event and suddenly are on a team competing for their club! For those who have been playing, it's important to keep clinics geared toward them and find them players. 

It's lonely on the top, so if you're a high-level player, sometimes we need to make adjustments and bring in some outside people so they feel they are also getting equal air time, even if we cannot fill it within the club. Part of being a director is making sure everyone feels like they are getting equal attention, and this keeps them coming back and supporting the programs. 

Thank you so much, Christie!

Interested in learning more about tennis and pickleball opportunities at Olde Cypress? Click here to contact Director of Membership and Marketing Melissa Hansen today.