June 17, 2024

Oxford Downs Gambles on Pickleball, Scores a Win for Sumter County

1.9 min read| Published On: June 17th, 2024|

By Gina Horan

Oxford Downs Gambles on Pickleball, Scores a Win for Sumter County

1.9 min read| Published On: June 17th, 2024|

Pickleball has finally come to Oxford! Pickle-n-Poker at Oxford Downs offers professional grade courts and facilities for amateur and serious players seven days a week.  Chief Operating Officer Joshua Mendola says they are excited to offer a space for the fastest growing sport in America alongside the already popular 24/7 Vegas-style card room and recently renovated Tiki Bar. 

“We are constantly trying to evolve,” he says. “Adding the courts was an easy decision for us because we want to provide an opportunity for anyone to come to our facility and find something that they’ll enjoy.”

The first phase was the construction of their six lighted courts and the complete renovation of the Tiki Bar. 

“We are looking to add at least six additional covered courts and a pro shop in the near future as we continue to grow and provide our customers with additional ways to play,” Joshua says.

Villager Karen Safko gets players together weekly and has been waiting for the opening for months. 

“I remember when they first broke ground out here,” Karen says. “I kept wondering when it would all happen and they have done such a great job so it was worth the wait.” 

Karen says she also enjoys the great service provided by the staff at the Tiki Bar who will often bring food and beverages down to the court-side tables if they have the time.

“The girls who work here are great,” she says. “It’s just an all-around fun experience and such a pleasant atmosphere with wonderful people.” 

Jim Hamilton travels around the state to play poker on a regular basis, and was inspired to bring his gear and play pickleball once the courts were up. 

“This is really a well-crafted court and playing surface,” he says. “If I lose at poker I can just take it out on the ball and exercise at the same time.”

The facility has also expanded the parking lot and there are restrooms inside the air-conditioned card room. 

 

 

How to Reserve

Visit picklenpoker.com or download the Pickle N’ Poker app to sign up for an account and reserve your courts & register for events.

Current Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 7am-9pm/Thursday-Saturday 7am-12am

Costs: Courts are currently free to reserve during the “soft opening.” Fees may be added at a later date.

Memberships are free, but there is an optional paid membership (Royal Flush Member) which allows for more outstanding reservations, a larger booking window, discounts on equipment rentals. There are only 200 Royal Flush memberships available at this time.

*Due to requiring players to sign a waiver of liability, membership is required, but again free until further notice. 

Weekly Events:

Monday Night Mashup/Open Play for intermediate players (2.5-3.5 rating)

Tuesday Night Twist/Open Play for advanced players (4.0-5.0 rating)

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About the Author: Gina Horan

Gina moved to central Florida in August of 2021 from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and spent 10 years as a fashion editor, columnist and food writer for The Knight Ridder Newspaper group. She was also a photo stylist and covered concerts, fashion shows and festivals all over Northern California. In 2000, she joined KSAN radio as a morning show co-host and produced the news and sports content there for 4 years. She also covered travel, events and the restaurant scene for KRON-Bay TV. She is a veteran bartender and has worked in hospitality on and off since high school. Her passions include travel, road trips, history books, baseball, tasting menus and most of all, landing in a new city with no map or guidebook. Gina lives in Oxford with her mom, cats and baby hamster.

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