USA Pickleball recently sat down with Keith Shelton, Senior Director of Product Development at Skechers, to talk all things footwear! Take a look at the Q&A below to learn more about the Skechers Viper Court Pro sneaker and what sets it apart from other products on the market:
Q: Can you talk about the different types of Skechers Viper Court Pro footwear, what sets it apart, and why it is best for playing on pickleball courts?
A: I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily one shoe that is best for every player on the court. The Viper Court Pro is for a more aggressive mover on the court. It’s a much lighter shoe for that player looking at footwear as an extension of their equipment. We created it for higher level players who want to feel and be faster on the court.
However, we also offer footwear and products intended for more beginner level and senior age players that may need more sure footing on the court and more support. We’ve also been designing shoes for players who need more stability and a higher level of durability.
Q: What are some of the main differences between Skechers performance footwear vs. lifestyle sneakers?
A: I think the biggest difference is the emphasis on safety for players. People who are new to the sport of pickleball might not understand why a court shoe is so important compared to a running shoe or lifestyle shoe. Some of the other differences are increased traction and durability. Additionally, you’re going to need a higher level of lateral stability, which is really important for pickleball. You’re on your toes often during pickleball and moving left and right, also forward and back. We’ve really focused on making sure that the foot’s not sliding or moving around inside of the shoe. A lot of these performance features you just don’t find in the traditional lifestyle sneaker.
Q: Are there specific materials utilized in Skechers pickleball shoes that offer durability and proper foot support while playing?
A: Since Skechers doesn’t have a tennis heritage like most brands in this space, it allows us to take a fresh approach to pickleball footwear. Being that Skechers is The Comfort Technology Company, we felt there was an opportunity to look at the sport of pickleball through a performance comfort lens, mixing our world-famous comfort features with our industry-leading performance innovations. It’s proved to be a winning formula. We pride ourselves on really providing a great amount of value at every price point throughout the footwear line.
Q: Can you describe the extent of Skechers athletes, Catherine Parenteau and Tyson McGuffin’s involvement in the design process of Skechers pickleball shoes?
A: When we work with Catherine and Tyson, it’s a very high level of engagement. We prioritize listening to the athlete, thus gaining valuable feedback from them about our product by regularly having them test out the shoes. Catherine and Tyson provide critical feedback, that allows us to produce the best footwear out in the marketplace for our customers.
When we’re working with amateur level players, we understand they are spending their hard-earned money on pickleball shoes and really want to make sure that the product they’re investing in lives up to their needs. Having a nice mix of feedback from athletes of all types of skill sets, rankings and ratings has been critical in helping us make the best product we can.
Q: When it comes to Skechers pickleball footwear, what do you hope to achieve as a result of partnering with USA Pickleball?
A: Through our multi-year partnership with USA Pickleball, we really want to focus on the advancement of the sport. Our work with the national governing body of pickleball allows us to get involved in promoting the game and making pickleball more accessible. The interests that USA Pickleball have are the same interests that we have with Skechers, so the relationship works out really nicely. In addition to the tours and some of the bigger tournaments we sponsor, all of that is part of our goal to help show our commitment to the continued growth of the sport.
Q: What are some of the key pieces of information that you’d like pickleball fans and lovers to know about pickleball footwear?
A: When talking about top priorities in picking a shoe for a pickleball player, what’s most important is safety. We want to make sure we get the message out, that pickleball shoes actually exist. Additionally, we want to really make sure customers understand why it’s important to have that lateral support, stability, and traction. Proper footwear is essential to really enjoy the game.
Artificial Turf Creates the Perfect Backyard for Play
Turf Solutions PDX put their technical ability on display and created the ultimate backyard for one Portland, OR client.
PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Synthetic grass offers more than just money-saving practicality; it also offers homeowners versatile design possibilities that will transform their home into a custom oasis. One family utilized two popular Synthetic Grass Warehouse turf varieties to achieve their dream backyard, seeking a durable landscape solution that would provide hours of fun across multiple interactive backyard activities. From a personal putting green to a low-maintenance pickleball court, Turf Solutions PDX put their technical ability on display and created the ultimate backyard for one Portland, OR client.
Turf Solutions PDX recently installed 1,745 square feet of Synthetic Grass Warehouse’s Nylon Putt 2-Tone and Tacoma in a home in Portland, OR. TigerTurf Nylon Putt 2-Tone — used for the putting green surface — features a dual coloring of field green and lime green, and it has a face weight of 36 ounces. With a 0.5-inch pile height, it is ideal for residential and commercial putting green applications. Everlast Tacoma — used for the fringe around the putting green — has dual field green and mid-olive green blade tones, and it has a pile height of 1.75 inches. With a 90-ounce face weight, it is ideal for projects anticipating moderate to heavy foot traffic. Both turf products are manufactured with UV inhibitors for long-lasting color that won’t fade with extended exposure to sunlight. All artificial grass products from Synthetic Grass Warehouse are also non-toxic, lead-free, and will drain at a rate of more than 30 inches per hour per square yard.
Turf Solutions PDX’s client was seeking to transform their backyard with two custom putting greens and a pickleball court. With so many interactive elements that would receive high foot traffic, they chose these two Synthetic Grass Warehouse turf products for their durability and low maintenance requirements. They wanted something that would last them for years to come, so the low pile heights used for the landscape turf and putting green surface accomplished this while remaining lush and beautiful. They also needed a landscaping solution that would remain green, dry, and playable year-round. “It is difficult to grow a healthy, natural lawn in the Pacific Northwest due to the many months of cold, wet weather,” explained Turf Solutions PDX co-owner Dave Parker. “Artificial turf is a perfect alternative for our clients.”
Turf Solutions PDX was founded by co-owners Dave Parker and Ron Rios in 2019, and they now proudly serve the Greater Portland area. With more than a decade in the industry, Parker and Rios sought to provide high-quality, long-lasting, evergreen synthetic grass to a waterlogged PNW clientele. They pride themselves on supplying a wide range of the highest-quality synthetic grass products on the market, and they pair these products with sublime installation quality that guarantees customer satisfaction. Although currently serving the Portland area, they plan to continue growing the company and hope to branch out into other states in the future.
Turf Solutions PDX is Synthetic Grass Warehouse’s “Install of the Month” winner for September 2023.
Turf Solutions PDX:
Turf Solutions PDX is proud to serve Portland, OR, and the surrounding area. Founded by co-owners Dave Parker and Ron Rios in 2019, Turf Solutions PDX prides itself on providing beautiful, resilient, and safe artificial grass installations that last for decades. Parker and Rios’s years of experience and strong partnership are reflected in their team’s technical competence and attention to detail. You can learn more about Turf Solutions PDX and view their other installations by visiting https://turfsolutionspdx.com.
About Synthetic Grass Warehouse, Inc.:
Synthetic Grass Warehouse is the exclusive national distributor for TigerTurf and Everlast brands of artificial grass products. Founded in 2004, Synthetic Grass Warehouse specializes in turf products designed for landscaping, pets, putting greens, and playgrounds. SGW provides same-day shipping on all turf orders. Learn more at https://www.syntheticgrasswarehouse.com.
SOURCE Synthetic Grass Warehouse, Inc.
Pickleball Kingdom Spearheads 20-Club Rollout in New Jersey
Nation’s leading indoor court pickleball franchisor inks epic deal
CHANDLER, Ariz /PRNewswire/ — In a groundbreaking development for the sport of pickleball, New Jersey visionary entrepreneur Samrat “Sam” Sood will spearhead a 20-club rollout by Pickleball Kingdom Franchising to establish cutting-edge indoor pickleball facilities throughout the state. Pickleball Kingdom Franchising, a recognized leader in the pickleball industry, is excited to collaborate with Sood to advance the sport of pickleball in the Garden State.
“This groundbreaking deal for 20 premium pickleball clubs is a major milestone in our mission to provide pickleball enthusiasts with top tier playing experiences,” said Pickleball Kingdom CEO and founder Ace Rodrigues. “Sam’s commitment to the sport and dedication to innovation align perfectly with our franchising vision.”
Rodrigues added that as part of the partnership agreement, Sood will be signing on owners and investors to participate in the rapid market expansion. The state-of-the-art clubs will feature outdoor surfaces preferred by avid pickleball players, but with all the indoor benefits. The initiative promises to thrill players with a game-changing experience for enthusiasts of all skill levels. Key features of the pickleball clubs will include:
Outdoor Playing Surfaces: Sood’s facilities will incorporate high-quality, outdoor-style pickleball courts with professional-grade materials to ensure an authentic playing experience.
Indoor Benefits: Players can enjoy year-round pickleball without being subjected to unpredictable weather conditions often encountered in outdoor play. The indoor facilities will provide optimal lighting, climate control, and amenities to enhance the overall experience.
Training and Coaching: The clubs will offer professional coaching, training programs, and clinics for players of all skill levels, promoting skill development and fostering a sense of community among pickleball enthusiasts. Pickleball Kingdom has an exclusive arrangement with PlaySight, a cutting-edge tech company specializing in video playback technology.
Community Engagement: Sam Sood’s commitment extends beyond the courts. The pickleball facilities will serve as hubs for events, leagues, tournaments, and community outreach programs, further fueling the growth of the sport.
Accessibility: The new facilities will be strategically located throughout New Jersey, ensuring that pickleball players from various regions have convenient access to top-notch facilities.
Sam Sood expressed his excitement about the groundbreaking partnership, saying, “I am thrilled to collaborate with Pickleball Kingdom Franchising to introduce a new era of pickleball facilities in New Jersey. Our vision is to provide pickleball players with the best of both worlds – outdoor pickleball excitement played indoors. We look forward to creating a vibrant pickleball community and advancing the sport in our state.”
Rodrigues noted that Pickleball Kingdom Franchising is equally enthusiastic about the venture. “Sam’s passion for pickleball and his stellar track record in franchising perfectly align with our commitment to push the boundaries of the sport. We are confident that this partnership will redefine pickleball facilities and elevate the playing experience for enthusiasts in New Jersey and beyond.”
About Pickleball Kingdom
Pickleball Kingdom stands at the forefront of indoor pickleball facilities, providing state-of-the-art venues that cater to pickleball enthusiasts of all skill levels. With a steadfast commitment to nurturing community bonds and promoting active lifestyles, Pickleball Kingdom offers a welcoming space where players can engage, learn, and connect. Discover more at www.pickleballkingdom.com.
About Sam Sood:
Sam Sood is a visionary entrepreneur with a proven history of turning innovative ideas into thriving businesses. His journey began in the technology sector, recognizing the potential for disruptive innovation. He soon transformed into a fin tech leader where he excelled in roles at several leading banks, including multinationals such as Citi, Bank of America, and Credit Suisse. Building on his success, Sam recognized the growing demand for accessible and efficient medical services. In 2017, Sam took the bold step of becoming a franchisee for AFC urgent care brand known for its commitment to excellence and patient-centric approach. Under Sam’s leadership, his urgent care franchises received accolades for exceptional patient care, short wait times, and a skilled medical team. His commitment to innovation also led to the implementation of cutting-edge healthcare technologies, making the patient experience even more seamless.
Today, Sam Sood continues to be a prominent figure in the world of entrepreneurship and franchising. His portfolio of successful ventures and his ability to inspire and lead teams are a testament to his exceptional vision and business acumen. He remains committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation and driving positive change in the industries he touches.
Contact: Rhonda Price
SOURCE Pickleball Kingdom
Southworth Announces New Brand Identity and Enhancements Across Global Portfolio of Award-Winning Private Club Communities
A new era for the family-owned real estate developer and operator is ushered in with a five-year reinvestment of $475M to club enhancements, new programming and leadership appointments
BOSTON /PRNewswire/ — Today, Southworth Development announces an updated look and name as the 32-year-old company embarks on a new chapter in its mission to redefine the private club category. Now rebranded as simply “Southworth,” the family-owned company has evolved beyond being a developer, shifting its focus to being a trusted curator of an elevated lifestyle whose portfolio of inclusive clubs offers authentic community and connection – for a life well-lived. This rebranding also brings about $475M worth of reinvestments over the next five years into the majority of Southworth’s current global portfolio. Updates are already underway or completed at several clubs and these reinvestments include nearly $75M in new amenities added across the portfolio over the next five years and another estimated $400M in residential development. The reimagining of Southworth comes as the next generation of family leadership, President Tommy Southworth and Managing Principal, Matt Deitch, have appointed talented new Executive Leadership to execute on their bold vision of developing decidedly different, leading-edge private club communities for a new generation.
The repositioning of the company and reinvestments into its existing clubs comes as the industry reaches a tipping point from post-pandemic consumer demands. Private, luxury, highly amenitized and heavily programmed communities focused on the family are in demand now more than ever. Southworth benchmarked the luxury hospitality industry to strategize the changes required to meet the demands of current and future generations of club members and residents. Additionally, a deep dive into the club space and extensive surveying of Southworth members shined a light on the most important elements of community – human connection and happiness. With this data top of mind, Matt and Tommy saw a clear opportunity to reposition the company and the unparalleled value it offers to those seeking an evolved private club lifestyle that better aligns with the tastes and values of current and future generations.
Childhood friends, Matt and Tommy ‘grew up’ in the business, witnessing their fathers run the company for many years. After spending the first ten years of their respective careers in management consulting, investment banking, and private equity, Matt and Tommy returned to the business in 2019, and in 2023 are ready to roll out their new vision for Southworth. They’ll do so alongside an Executive Leadership team which they’ve been developing over the past few years. New leadership appointments include Todd Grotstein, Chief Sales Officer; Lisa Hultquist, Chief Marketing Officer; Kelly Meredith, Chief People Officer; Troy Miller, Chief Development Officer; and Bill Chrysler, VP of Operations.
In addition to these Executive Leadership appointments, several critical roles have been created that speak to the updated positioning and ethos of the brand. Eleanor Brown has been brought on board as the Director of Sustainability, overseeing sustainability initiatives for the entirety of Southworth. Furthermore, James Dunn has the role of Director of Member Experience which focuses on the “experience-first” mentality of Southworth, always exceeding expectations with unique member programming, activations and amenities, in addition to increased cross-club events – driving home the unique benefit of reciprocity across the Southworth portfolio.
An important element of the new direction is a harkening back to the Company’s roots. Beginning in 1991, Southworth communities challenged the status quo of the restrictive private club category and instead laid foundational principles of inclusion, community, family and fun. Recently, Southworth has rededicated to an overarching brand promise of “The Southworth Way,” the cultural underpinning of their comfortable, unpretentious club communities. Unique in the private club world, what started out as a member and employee code of conduct – fostering positive relationships, encouraging togetherness, and allowing each member and employee to feel welcomed, recognized, and valued – has evolved into a strategic approach to curating the world’s most connected club communities. It’s a guiding star of how Southworth creates exceptional experiences for all members.
In addition to The Southworth Way, the Company has committed to four overarching brand pillars to guide its strategy: Be & Belong: Fostering true community and genuine belonging; Your World at Play: Delivering extraordinary experiences, every day; Life at Ease: Providing a welcome respite in a chaotic world and Inspired Environments: Celebrating the authentic character of each community’s setting.
“We develop, own, operate and call these communities home, which means we’re here for the long term and that is a key differentiator of our company. We don’t build and run, but we continue to operate, improve and enhance our clubs, giving our members and residents confidence in the Southworth brand,” said Tommy Southworth, President of Southworth. “We are obsessively intentional about creating fulfilling private club communities, built on the bedrock of human connection. I believe this difference can truly be seen and felt by our members and the larger industry as we enter this new chapter.”
With this evolution of the Southworth legacy comes a robust lineup of enhancements across its global portfolio of award-winning communities as well as refreshed branding, websites and collateral across all clubs this year.
Club Community Enhancements Include:
- The Abaco Club on Great Abaco Island, The Bahamas: Over the next two years, members will see enhancements such as the addition of the Winding Bay Beach Club; renovations to The Cliff House & Tip-Top; three new activations where guests can gather for anything from beachside drinks with a view to sunrise yoga; and a dedicated amenities corridor with more pickleball courts and even a new putting course designed by Abaco resident and Open Champion Darren Clarke. In addition to all of this, the newest and most exciting neighborhood, The Cays at The Abaco Club, designed by AvroKO, will open phase one in Summer 2024. Additional phases of amenity and real estate development are soon to be announced.
- Creighton Farms in Aldie, Virginia: New member amenities include three new pickleball courts; an enhanced tennis experience; The Paddock, an on-course F&B experience; major renovations to the clubhouse and dining facilities; and the completion of The Stable, a state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor golf training center equipped with the latest in shot tracking and swing analysis technology.
- Renaissance in Haverhill on Boston’s North Shore: A new “19th hole” restaurant and bar named “The Boot” opened this summer, drawing inspiration from the great pubs of Scotland and Ireland, and paying homage to the rich shoe manufacturing history of Haverhill. The Boot is also equipped with two Full Swing Golf Simulators. Additionally, significant investments are being made on the golf course, highlighting its Golden Age inspiration, walkability, and architectural significance.
- Willowbend in Mashpee, Cape Cod: This summer four new pickleball courts as well as several enhancements to existing amenities opened, including new pool cabanas, a new sun deck, a new Zen Garden, a renovated kids’ camp area, and several new social events such as concerts, themed kids programming and monthly spa-inspired events. Near-term projects will include renovations to various member spaces including outdoor bars, locker rooms, and Café Amici, Willowbend’s poolside cafe.
- Machrihanish Dunes in Argyll, Scotland: The award-winning club just launched a new exclusive private club experience, by invitation only. Additional developments are in the permitting phase.
Looking to the future, the newly positioned Southworth will continue to invest heavily in the current portfolio and has a strong pipeline of new development opportunities. Currently, the brand is exploring both domestic and international opportunities in the Southeastern United States, the Caribbean and beyond.
To learn more about the newly rebranded Southworth and its current portfolio of award-winning private club communities, please visit the new website located at SouthworthClubs.com.
Southworth is a privately held lifestyle company specializing in the development and management of private clubs and highly amenitized and programmed residential communities. Founded to challenge the industry status quo in 1991, Southworth recognized an opportunity to think beyond the restrictive private clubs of the day. Today, many national and international club communities later, the Southworth legacy continues to evolve. With a newfound commitment to forward-looking culture and values, and with the next generation of family leadership firmly in place, Southworth has reintroduced itself as the trusted curator of an elevated lifestyle whose inclusive clubs offer one-of-a-kind community and connections for a life well-lived. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Southworth currently owns and operates private clubs and residential communities across North America, the Caribbean and Europe. These award-winning properties include: Willowbend on Cape Cod, Mass.; Renaissance on Boston’s North Shore; Meredith Bay on New Hampshire’s famed Lake Winnipesaukee; Creighton Farms in Aldie, Va. 35 minutes west of Washington, DC; The Village at Machrihanish Dunes in Argyll, Scotland; and The Abaco Club, located on Great Abaco Island in The Bahamas. For more information, visit SouthworthClubs.com.
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