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SPOTLIGHT ON ARIZONA
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article by paddlepro.com
4-13--2004

When you think of the environment surrounding a platform tennis court, you think of cold, dry air, the court surrounded by cedar trees with leaves turned color from the autumn months, then without any leaves over the winter months. This is an all too common sight, unless you happen to play at the Johnson Tennis Courts in Sun City, Arizona. Here the air is warm enough to play the game in shorts and your favorite club T-shirt. Green plants, such as palm trees, and even a cactus or two surround the courts.

The Johnson Tennis Courts consist of five courts privately owned by the Sun City West retirement community, which is located twenty miles northwest of Phoenix. The community consists of over 30,000 residents and requires at least one person per house to be over the age of fifty-five. In the winter, the courts are open at eight in the morning while in the summer, the courts open at six in the morning to get a head start playing before the Arizona sun becomes too hot. Platform tennis is played year round in Arizona!

The platform tennis courts have been around since 1978 when Del Webb founded the community. Since 1978 the courts have been resurfaced by General Acrylic’s, which has proven itself to stand up to the heat when it exceeds 110 degrees.

Sun City West has its own racquet club available to its residents or guests. The club has three facilities, having the main location (the Johnson Tennis Courts), and two satellite locations, the Kuentz Center and Palm Ridge Recreation Center.

The facilities contain a total of 27 tennis courts, 5 Platform tennis courts (only three dollars per person for an annual membership), 2 pickle ball courts, a table tennis center, on staff professionals and open league play for both men and women. There is even a USTA tournament held at the club that is open to national participation. All of these facilities make this an impressive Mecca of a tennis center.

At the end of each month of September through May, there are catered dinners for meetings and social events. Making it a wonderful opportunity for residents to meet others with the same interest for platform tennis.

While the courts were originally started for residents, guests of the community may sign up to use the courts a day in advance to play. With the flexibility of the court availability, warm weather and interesting playing environment everyone should try out the courts the next time they are around the Phoenix area.

With work put in from the platform tennis directors Ron Gliot and Walt Schalm, the Sun City West, and the vision of Del Webb has proven that winter, nor the Arizona sun does not stop a community from gathering to play a sport during the winter months. Sun City West had incorporated platform tennis courts into its original plans, played year round, the sport is a proven source of exercise for residents, because of the quick learning curve and smaller court size of platform tennis.

Sun City West proved that for the past 25 years that platform tennis can survive in a warm climate. It serves as a model for other communities that need for recreational activities that can be played by all ages. Paddlepro.com applauds their success and longevity in the sport of platform tennis.


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