Sooke Home Hardware staff presented Marilyn Erickson with a cheque for $6,000 towards resurfacing the courts at Art Morris Park. Pictured are Nicki Kathler (left), Marilyn Erickson, Terri Eriksen and Kaaras Tyler. (Submitted - Sooke Tennis and Pickleball Group)

Sooke Home Hardware staff presented Marilyn Erickson with a cheque for $6,000 towards resurfacing the courts at Art Morris Park. Pictured are Nicki Kathler (left), Marilyn Erickson, Terri Eriksen and Kaaras Tyler. (Submitted - Sooke Tennis and Pickleball Group)

Funds raised for three dedicated pickleball courts in Sooke

Contributions from members, Home Hardware, the district and more put the club over the top

Pickleballers rejoice! Funds to resurface a Sooke tennis court into three dedicated pickleball courts have been received.

The Sooke Tennis and Pickleball Group calculated it would need $20,000 to resurface the court, install barrier walls between the courts and buy one new net. Members, Sooke Home Hardware, the District of Sooke and the Capital Regional District and more lobbed generous donations over the net, exceeding the target.

A notable contribution of $6,000 came from Sooke Home Hardware in memory of Scott Gertsma, a part-owner who died this year.

Gertsma visited the old tennis court at Art Morris Park to watch the pickleball players compete and wanted to help save the courts. After he died, they found a note on his desk indicating his plan to help the club, adding pickleball to the long list of community initiatives he helped.

Sooke and the CRD both donated $6,000, the Sooke Rotary Club and Langford-based developer Keycorp also made contributions. In addition, members have donated $2,600 so far through a GoFundMe page.

The front tennis court at Art Morris Park will be transformed into three pickleball courts, while the backcourt will remain a tennis court. The Sooke Community Association will resurface that court and paint pickleball lines on it and tennis lines.

RELATED: Plans afoot for more pickleball courts in Sooke

Marilyn Erickson founded the club three years ago after falling in love with the game on vacation.

“I’m just a grandma who aged out of tennis,” she said.

Pickleball requires less running than tennis and is a lower impact sport. She played on holiday and realized it was a sport she could play to stay fit outside. But there weren’t any courts in Sooke. So she got a group of volunteers together to clean up the then-weedy tennis courts and started the club.

Every Tuesday, the Sooke Tennis and Pickleball Group volunteer coach offers free lessons, the group hosts drop-in games Monday through Thursday, and play is always free.

The group has grown to 200 members, far outgrowing the courts made from lines painted on a tennis court.

Erickson said with the new court, they’ll host tournaments, and players who want to be competitive will have a certified court to practice on.

The group is also advocating for new courts dedicated to the sport, but for now, they are happy to have funds for three dedicated courts.


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