Pickleball: Pickleball on the LPGA Tour

Nancy Dowell

SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association Inc. (SPA) has many golfers among its members. In fact, pickleball and golf may be mutually beneficial. An article was published recently by Steve Eubanks, managing editor for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and New York Times best seller author, about one golfer who is finding different kinds of fun in both games.

The 28-year-old LPGA competitor, Amy Olson has added another sport to her repertoire. About four years ago in Fargo, N.D., Amy’s mom, Twyla, played her first game of pickleball. After talking obsessively about it, Amy and her family decided to humor her and give it a try. Amy played for the rest of the year and confirmed that it is, indeed, very fun and a great way to stay more connected to her family. Twyla made sure the family was “all in” by buying everyone pickleball equipment for Christmas.

It did not remain a family affair for long. Amy invited LPGA competitor and friend, Ally Ewing, to play. Ewing got so totally hooked on the sport that her family got her a pickleball paddle with her face on it for Christmas. Another LPGA professional, Katherine Kirk, was intrigued and joined the group. Becoming proficient at pickleball did not take much time for these competitive athletes. The fast pace of play is very appealing to Amy, who has to remain much more cerebral and patient when playing golf. LPGA tweeted “@AmyOlsonGolf is a force to be reckoned with on the golf course … and on the pickleball court.”

Veteran LPGA players have been playing pickleball for some time. LPGA Legends Tour competitor, Sherri Steinhauer, organizes games when Amy goes to Palm Springs to train. When the LPGA season restarted in Ohio, Amy packed her golf clubs and her pickleball paddle. About 15 people played with her in Toledo. Amy has gotten so good at pickleball that she recently competed in a tournament in Fargo, N.D. taking a silver medal in mixed doubles with her brother, Nathan.

While pickleball play ranges from gentle exchanges and thoughtful strategic shots to fast paced competitive play, golf requires emotional and physical calm and prolonged focus. The restraint that golf requires leaves little outlet for emotional release. For Amy Olson, pickleball is the “perfect opposite of golf.” “We’ve had a blast introducing new people to it,” Olson adds.

100% of the members of SPA share that same passion for pickleball. Pickleball is fun, social, a great way to maintain fitness and improve balance and agility. For SPA membership information, visit the website at  www.spa.clubexpress.com.

See you on the courts!