Like a modern day “Field of Dreams,” Christine Beaudin built two padel courts in the hill country near Austin, Texas, and boy did the players come. Beaudin, the general manager and USPTA Padel Certified coach at Lake Travis Padel, has welcomed more than 300 padel players to the club since opening last fall.
“We have 100 active players that come on a regular basis, and another 50 that come in once or twice a month,” Beaudin. “What I really want to do is spread the message of padel. I am working with the Lake Travis Tennis Association to promote us, and we can promote them.”
Beaudin could be termed a “padel power user.” She is passionate about padel and is also a realist addressing the challenges of this unique sport.
While padel courts are being constructed around the United States and world, it’s not happening quite as fast in the U.S. as some would like. Beaudin says one barrier to entry in the United States is the cost of building a padel court, which is enclosed on all four sides and includes a special surface. Building a padel court from the ground up costs between $30,000 and $50,000.
“At Lake Travis Padel, we purchased 15 acres 10 years ago, so we got the land at the right strike point to make the business plan work,” Beaudin said. “For larger racquet clubs with big memberships, building padel courts is not going to be as big of a burden.”
Beaudin has introduced beginning racquet sports players and experienced tennis enthusiasts to padel—and everyone loves it. She says the sport of padel is easy to learn, but not everyone understands it.
Here are padel facts and figures from the Lake Travel Padel blog:
What is padel?
Typically played doubles on an enclosed court roughly 25% smaller than the size of a tennis court (33'X66')
It is played on sandy turf artificial grass
Can be played indoors or outdoors
Scoring is the same as in tennis (see Federation International Padel ((FIP)) Deuce rules below known as the golden point)
The balls used are similar but with a little less pressure.
The main differences of tennis and padel is that in padel you play within the entire area of the court (no in's and out's) and the court has glass walls behind the service box and wire rails on the sides.
The balls can be played off the glass wall similar to squash / racquetball (can be considered having a second chance at placing the ball back to the opponent's side)
A padel racquet is solid with no strings but must be perforated. It is smaller and more compact than a tennis racquet which makes it very easy to handle for everyone.
The height of the ball being served must be at or below the waist level and the player must allow the ball to bounce on the turf before hitting the serve.
All serves are underhanded, and made diagonally as in tennis, with two attempts allowed
The ball must bounce in the service box opposite before being hit by the returner.
If the ball hits the net and bounces in the box, it is a let.
If the ball does not bounce in the box, it is a fault.
If it bounces in the box and hits the wire mesh fencing before crossing the service line (on the returner’s side), it is also a fault.
Once in play, the ball must first bounce on the ground on the opponent’s side before hitting a wall.
Just as in tennis, the ball must be hit back to the opponent’s side before a second bounce, but players can also use their own walls to return the ball.
Players may hit the ball after it has bounced on a wall to send it back to the opponent’s side.
Players are allowed to volley (hit a ball before it bounces on their side of the court).
What is the golden point in Padel?
**The Golden Point occurs when the score reaches deuce during any game.
The receiving team chooses whether the service will come from the left or right of the court.
The team that wins that one single point will win the game.
Once deuce has been called, the receiving team has the option of which side of the court the golden point needs to be served. It must be noted that the receiving team may not switch sides for the golden point, they must keep to their original receiving sides.
Once the side of the court has been selected by the receiving team, the point is played in the usual way, with the exception that the winner of the golden point will win that particular game.
“Unlike tennis, which can be very frustrating on a big court, padel brings the playing field closer,” Beaudin said. “If you get intermediate players with experienced players, everyone can have fun. Our model for playing padel is pay to play, and we charge $10 for 90 minutes of play. I want the community to experience the game.”
Players can rent a padel racquet for $5 each time or buy their own. Lake Travel Padel offers wholesale equipment from Adidas, Babolat, Head and StarVie.
“I tell players that if you are serious, and want to help support the growth of padel, players should purchase a racquet,” said Beaudin, who wrote a blog about buying a padel,” said Beaudin, who wrote a blog about buying a padel racquet that offers excellent insights. “We are reasonable in price because we want more people to enjoy this great sport. We will continue to offer padel because it’s a fantastic game that many people can enjoy. I have a vision that in 10 years the World Padel Tour could include stops in the United States and Canada, with facilities very similar to those seen today in western Europe, central America and Asia.”
For more information about Lake Travel Padel, visit https://laketravispadel.com/