Pickleball is a sport growing by leaps and bounds, especially among seniors. 

Touted as a mix of tennis and pingpong, it's played with short, light paddles and a slotted ball that looks an awful lot like a miniature wiffleball. 

Guntersville has had a contingent of pickleball players for several years now, but they had no place to call home. They played on makeshift courts in the Rec Center gym. 

Now, they have a first-rate pickleball court with the lake as a backdrop. 

Steve Douglas, the leader of the morning group of pickleball players, said the surface is much better on the new court. The group plays Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays starting at 7 a.m. There were 13 of them playing last Tuesday.

"It's just fun," said Mary Giles, one of the players. 

The court is laid out like a tennis court, but is much smaller. 

"It's a slower pace than tennis," Giles said. "You get a workout but you can socialize too."

Pickleball players are a friendly lot, although matches can get competitive. They enjoy teaching newcomers the nuances of the game. 

Dawn McCoy, who plays in both the morning and evening group, said the evening bunch meets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

"There's talk of adding lights to the courts and we'r excited about that," she said. 

The morning group has had as many as 30 players show up for a morning session. The pickleball court was built at the site of an old tennis court. Half the court has 3 pickleball courts. The other half has an outdoor basketball court. The basketball court does have a pickleball court marked off on it. 

"We can add a portable net there and have an overflow court if we have a lot of people show up," Douglas said. 

He and the other pickleball players are very glad the city made the investment to build the court. 

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