Raising funds for Pickleball fun


Andrea Molberg and Jim Schlote

SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association (SPA) is gathering donations to build additional courts within SaddleBrooke for playing this extremely popular sport. With more than 760 club members, pickleball is the largest club in our community and has clearly outgrown its six courts at Ridgeview built by SPA.

SPA needs to immediately address the court shortages, because the Preserve pickleball courts have been closed and August 31, 2018 marks the end of the reciprocal agreement allowing SaddleBrooke residents to play pickleball at SaddleBrooke Ranch. SaddleBrooke TWO acquired the land adjacent to the Ridgeview Pickleball Courts at transition, thanks to the hard work of Vince Gwiazdowski, Terese Butler, Dianne Ashby, Mike Collins, and Bob Kolenda, the SaddleBrooke TWO Transition Negotiation Team. Eve and Stan Fly of Walls of Wonder designed and made the Fund Raiser Barometer, and soon the temporary Ridgeview water and maintenance buildings will be removed, making way for more courts and more fun.

Not yet an official HOA amenity, the 2012 Ridgeview pickleball court construction was funded entirely by the club. Robson provided the land for the current courts, which transferred to SaddleBrooke TWO at transition, and 220 SPA members (nearly 100 percent of the membership then) contributed a total of $103,500 to build them. Contributions ranged from $125 to $10,000, with 36 percent being $1,000 or more. Sixty-two percent of the 2012 donors are currently still SPA members.

Today SPA has approximately 623 new members who were not part of those fundraising efforts. As before, 2018 donors not only get recognition, they receive club membership benefits for their contributions. For example, those who give $1,000 will get five years of free membership starting in 2019, so with dues at $100/year as they are now, the net cost to the donor will be $500. Donors of $500 receive a two-year membership.

You don’t have to be a SPA member to participate and help reach the $300,000 target. These contributions benefit all of SaddleBrooke, keeping it a desirable active adult community. According to Robson Communities, Inc. Vice President Jack Sarsam, the sport has become so popular that one out of three buyers inquire about pickleball.

As tennisindustrymag.com put it November 11, 2015, “When was the last time that a sport absolutely exploded off the charts because of an aging demographic that couldn’t get enough of it? Not before, and not until, pickleball.”