Pickleball, a hybrid form of tennis, is becoming one of the most popular activities for seniors in the Tulsa area and many community centers that offer the sport are seeing an increase in membership.
Along with Southminster Presbyterian Church, organizations such as South County Recreation Center, Broken Arrow Community Center, and Wade Whiteside Community Center are among the most popular places to play in the city.
Southminster Pickleball instructor, Marilyn Chaboudy, says once she began teaching courses to people within the community the number of members started to increase soon after.
"Once it got started I figured it would go, I thought it would be good. A lot of the people that learned here are now out all over the city playing," Chaboudy said.
According to the United States of America Pickleball Association, the sport was created in 1965 by Washington Congressman, Joel Pritchard, and his long time friend Bill Bell. However, the popularity of the sport began to grow after it was introduced at the Arizona Senior Games in 2001.
Although the sport is played by athletes of all ages, many seniors have taken interest because the game is not as physically taxing as tennis or golf.
Mike Sowell, 68, has been playing Pickleball for less than three months, but says he enjoys the sport because beginners can learn quickly.
"You're digging back and fourth and trying to get one the other team can't make the return and it doesn't have to be with power. So you don't have to have a really solid strong shot to play and be successful at this game," Sowell said.
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