BY DIANE FEEN | PHOTOS BY MELISSA KORMAN
It’s been a difficult time for everyone this past year. But there is a shining star on the horizon, and it stops and starts in the great outdoors.
“The pandemic has created a participation boom in pickleball and tennis. People want to be outside and they’re coming to play here (Delray Beach Tennis Center) and at the Delray Swim & Tennis Club in record numbers,” said Jeff Bingo General Manager of Racquet Sports for JCD Sports Group.
Luckily the hometown courts are open to all – members and non-members, residents and non-residents. But as they say, member-ship has its privileges. Members get to sign up for a court four days in advance, which also includes access to either facility and open pickleball play.
The Delray Beach Tennis Center has 14 Har-Tru courts, 4 hard and eight Pickleball courts and the Swim & Tennis has 24 Har-Tru courts, a pro-shop and locker rooms.
But one thing is consistent – there are tennis and pickleball activities from sun up to sun down. There are Sunday Morning and Friday Night Mixers with progressive mixed doubles where win-ners move up for intermediate to advanced players.
There are also new Friday Night Elite Tennis Clinics for experienced players rated level 4.0 and above. It includes drills, hitting, match play and competition for adults, juniors and pros. Also popular are new Cardio Tennis Clinics on Monday and Wednesday. This high energy workout includes invigorating music, cross training workout and tennis for members and non-members.
One of the highlights of the Summer Tennis programming is Bingo’s Women’s Doubles Strategy Mini Camps. Players learn of-fensive and defensive positioning, doubles strategy, match situa-tions, match play and they learn to win. Under Bingo’s leadership the strategy summer camps have attracted women from all over South Florida and beyond.
And, no one knows how to bring their A-Game better than Bingo. The tennis legend played his first State Championship match at the Delray Tennis Center (at age 11) and has a passion for the game that rivals the pros. Bingo worked at some of the most prestigious country clubs in South Florida and has tennis and pickleball genet-ics running through his veins.
“Having played tennis for the past 45 years I see the growth the sport is having, and the excellence we have created for tennis and pickleball players. It is the best feeling to know what we have accomplished and I’m so proud of what we’ve done,” said Bingo who has heralded programs and a classy country club vibe that’s open to all.
One of their shining accomplishments was the recent APP Delray Beach Pickleball Open. It attracted 835 players from 37 states and six countries, and brought 2,600 people to hotels and restaurants in the area. The tournament prizes totaled $60,000 and the championship was broadcast on the CBS Sports Network and matches were streamed live on YouTube.
“The DBTC has become a breeding ground for both amateur and professional pickleball players from all over the world. During the tournament, pickleball players Anna Leigh Waters, her daughter Leigh Waters and Steve Kennedy put on a Celebrity Pro-Am with proceeds benefiting Thank You First Responders. The event also featured former NBA stars Rick Barry, Jayson Williams, and Delonte West.
Bingo has promoted and provided excitement and space for Pickleball since he arrived at DBTC. There are Pickleball Group Clinics, Semi-private and Private lessons as well.
Young people can also find their space in the sun and on the tennis courts at both facilities. This summer there are Junior Summer Workout Sessions from June 14th till August 13th. There are full and half days for Red Ball/Orange Ball ages 4 to 10, and intermediate and advanced workouts for ages 9 to 18. The kids get excellent skill training and lessons.
Now that the South Palm Beach County Women’s Tennis Association season is over, they are recruiting players for the upcoming year. This includes Division Teams 1B, 2B, D3, D4, D6 and new teams 2A and D7. The season starts in September and player evaluations are being held all summer. The teams play against local and private country clubs in Palm Beach County and have team practices.
Players can rent a ball machine to hone their craft. And, if you want to host a corporate event contact them for facil-ity rental. There’s an upstairs patio and conference room for lunch or meetings, pro-shop, locker rooms, racquet stringing and tennis merchandise for sale.
“I like building things. When I came to DBTC I wanted to bring new life into this facility. It has grown exponentially, and the quality of players and instructors we have is incredible. I feel so grateful to be in the public sector and cater to all peo-ple. This is a public facility with a private club feel to it.”
THE DELRAY TENNIS CENTER
201 West Atlantic Avenue
Delray Beach, FL