An exciting new addition to the rapidly-growing number of L.A. pickleball facilities has been announced. The Santa Monica Pickleball Center at 2501 Wilshire Boulevard is now fully open after an investment of about $250,000.
Four Illuminated Outdoor Courts
The new center is on the same premises as the well-known Santa Monica Tennis Center (SMTC) and features four brand-new outdoor pickleball courts, complete with floodlighting. The facilities will also include a 2,000-square-foot retail area with the “most-varied inventory of pickleball equipment in all of Los Angeles.”
The project is the brainchild of SMTC founder and owner Jon Neeter who joined up with old friend and one-time top 40-ranked pickleballer Julio Rivera to create this new facility.
Neeter commented, “Right now there’s just exponential growth in the sport, and [Rivera] said ‘You should check out this pickleball thing, it’s going to be big.’ The pandemic of course accelerated the growth of pickleball, as well as tennis – they both grew a lot.”
Check out the new Santa Monica Pickleball Center, on 25th and Wilshire. 4 lighted outdoor courts with the top-of-the-line nets and two thousand square feet of retail space which offers the largest and most varied inventory of Pickleball equipment in L.A.— Sonia Ode Lucci (@SoniaOdeLucci) December 6, 2022
Neeter jumped at the chance to create the courts when space next to the tennis became available. So far the response from local enthusiasts has been “overwhelming”, which Julio puts down to the accessibility of the sport:
“Pickleball is very community-based and the inclusivity of the sport allows an easy way to enter the sport and play the game and the community gets very big fast. It’s just very inclusive, people of all ages can play, and you can have your family all play.
“It doesn’t take intensive training to go out and play. It just gives you a variety of options, you can do it with friends or people that you just meet.
“We believe this new center will bring in people from all over the country and potentially the world. Organized leagues and tournaments will be offered in the next few months, and we encourage everyone to get involved no matter your skill level.”
About The New Santa Monica Pickleball Center
The courts also feature top-of-the-line C&D nets and will be open seven days a week from 8am until 9pm with extended hours during special events.
In addition to their full-size outdoor demonstration court and an in-store paddle testing area, they have a demo program that lends you paddles to practice with for up to three days.
The center will provide group clinics and private lessons. Their well-qualified staff uses cutting-edge training techniques with video analysis to help you improve your technique and movement. They can even travel and give lessons at your own private court.
As a High School junior, Neeter won several junior high school tournaments under legendary coach Carlos Goffi who worked with John and Patrick McEnroe. He later became the Assistant Coach at the University of Maryland, the Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) in College Park, MD, and was Assistant Coach at Duke. He has trained many top-100-ranked players and also coached Clay Thompson and Deiton Baughman.
Neeter created the Santa Monica Tennis Center in 2010.
Julio Rivera has been the Director of Pickleball at the Santa Monica Pickleball Center since 2022 and helped Jon build Los Angeles’ first dedicated pickleball facility.
He achieved a top ranking of 40 in the world on the APP Senior Pro Tour and is also Head Coach of the Orlando Squeeze Major League Pickleball team.
Ho Nguyen is the president of the Santa Monica Pickleball Club. He was born in Vientiane, Laos and moved to Newton, North Carolina where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Ho first played pickleball at Memorial Park in Santa Monica and is now a PPR Certified Pickleball instructor.
He calls his teaching method “Tai Chi Pickleball,” urging his students to “feel” it in their bodies!
California is a hotbed of pickleball activity. Read another of our articles focusing on how the sport is developing in the Golden State here.
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