First off, this is their first annual Open so i am sure they will learn a lot for next year. This was a massive undertaking and I want to thank them for putting it together. I hope they put out a survey afterwards or get with Kyle and some other top players for input. I truly think they tried to do many things out of the box to differentiate themselves from Nationals. Not all of them worked.
I will start from the beginning. I was only able to compete on the first day and then had to leave immediately after my last match to head up north so my thoughts only concern Tuesday and Day one...Wednesday.
Arrived Tuesday early afternoon and met my partner, Garry Miller and we practiced on some beautiful courts for about an hour. The MAIN courts which i would guess there are around 20 have a VERY nice 5 part coating ( i am told ) that makes it easy on the knees. You can tell the surface gives just a little. Others stated the ball did not bounce quite as high, but i did not notice any problems. We were told by email that we would be able to check in on Tuesday. That was not the case and certainly would have made things easier. Went over after warm up Tuesday and watched Sarah and Kyle and Dave and Christine playing on the feature court.
The feature court has bleachers on three sides and a VIP area on the fourth. There are also about 12 , four person box seat areas around the featured court. They all had big ads on them so i assume they were "owned" by the PB company on the ad banner on the front of each box area. The vip area was covered but all other areas were drenched in sun. And both days it was HOT!!!! Not sure what the thinking was on two of the sides with bleachers. They had very nice "seats" with backs strapped to the bleacher areas so you sat on a cushion area and your back was supported, but when my partner tried to sit on one, there was NO way he could as his legs would NOT FIT. So i cant imagine anyone over 5 foot being able to sit there.
Tuesday evening The Pickleball Channel put on an incredible function at their hotel. Thanks Rusty, and Hylands. Everyone there got to rub elbows with Sarah, Kyle, Jen, Alex, Matt, Beardy, Chris, etc. It was outstanding.
Arrived Wednesday at 6:50am for 7:00am check in. Parking was well organized. Registration was a cluster. ( I just erased a whole paragraph outlining how much of a cluster it was, but realized it was probably boring ).
(Jeff Shank-Loving life in The Villages,Fl)
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