I have seen the future of pickleball…it is here now. A few blocks from the beach off a non-descript commercial strip in Holly Hill, Florida lies absolute paradise if pickleball is your passion. It’s called “Pictona”, in a nod to nearby Daytona Beach.
Like most of us, I discovered pickleball on converted tennis courts, community center gyms, and random splotches of asphalt where someone painted lines and threw up temporary nets. The conditions were not optimal, but the appeal of the game shone through anyway. What I longed for, without really knowing it, was an environment dedicated solely to every aspect of the pickleball experience. Pictona is exactly that. Close your eyes and make a wish list of what you’d like, it’s there:
- 49, yes 49 courts where there is some kind of play going on all day, every day
- Virtually endless open play to accommodate anyone’s schedule
- Covered as well as outdoor play on pristine surfaces with permanent nets
- Fencing around each and every court assuring uninterrupted play
- Optimal lighting and extensive viewing and mingling areas for between games
- A world-class “championship court” that can seat over 1000
- Cool retail products and paddle-demo options
- A “Kitchen” that serves good food as well as beer and wine
- Court-programming to accommodate any level of play
- Tournaments, ladders, mixers and various events for all levels
- Youth, beginner and teacher training programs
- Corporate, team-building and event facilities
- A cordial and highly social vibe and environment
I could go on and on. Pictona is the vision of Rainer and Julie Martens, who worked with the town of Holly Hill, and largely funded the effort as a gift to the community and to the pickleball universe. The facility was built in two phases with the most recent 24 courts coming on line just one year ago. Membership options vary and members are the lifeblood of the facility, but there are lots of options for visitors. The unique quality and scale of Pictona have made it ideal for events and amateur and professional tournaments that are increasingly discovering it.
My brother and I spent 2 days at Pictona exploring, researching, learning….and of course playing pickleball! We wanted to understand what’s working and how to best organize and promote a local pickleball center. Ownership and the team at Pictona are clearly on the very cutting edge of where pickleball is going, their model continues to evolve —- but we’ve seen what they have now, it is truly pickleball paradise. Contact us anytime to brainstorm building your own pickleball paradise.