The various themed miniature golf courses and amusement parks lining the streets of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, might attract a flurry of visitors during the warm summer months, but the Southern beachside destination’s inventory of sports venues and hotel rooms are a constant draw throughout the year. My recent visit to the “Grand Strand,” or what locals call the 60-mile stretch of Myrtle Beach coastline, included tours of the area’s major sport facilities as well as a front-row seat at the USA Pickleball Association’s Mid-Atlantic Regional, a tournament that brought about 400 people to the Myrtle Beach Sports Center over the span of three days.
Jim Loving, tournament director, president of the Myrtle Beach Pickleball Club and USAPA’s Myrtle Beach ambassador, said that when the club was established in 2014, there were 40 members and two venues in which to play. Now the club has grown to 250 members playing in nine different venues across the Grand Strand. The club is hoping to grow that number by converting more tennis courts into pickleball courts. Loving is currently making the case to officials at nearby Midway Park to convert the five tennis courts and four pickleball courts into three tennis courts and eight pickleball courts. “They’ve got the interest, it’s just the money now,” Loving said.
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