We’ve settled in at Viewpoint RV & Golf Resort after our first week here in Mesa, Arizona. Viewpoint is an age-qualified community catering to people 55 and older. It covers nearly a square mile with most sites occupied by park model modular homes. There are 331 RV sites with full hook-ups for motorhomes or trailers. There are more than 1,000 sites total.
The park boasts of 75,000 square feet of recreation space and the residents tend to be very active. There are two golf courses – an 18-hole championship course and a nine-hole executive course – plus a pro shop. There’s a softball field. They have 10 tennis courts and five pickleball courts. There are four heated swimming pools and seven spas. There are two fitness centers and a woodshop. Also onsite are a restaurant and bar, hair and nail salon and a massage therapist. They have a number of clubs including a hiking club that Donna likes to go out with.
I’m not a golfer, so the activity I mainly participate in is pickleball, of course! Pickleball is a great sport and Donna and I find places to play most of the time throughout the country. In San Diego, we play on indoor courts set up on hardwood basketball courts. The indoor game is played with a softer ball with a thinner wall construction than the outdoor balls. They all weigh about the same – between 0.8 ounces and 0.9 ounces.
Here at Viewpoint, we play on outdoor courts. We’ve joined the pickleball club and play frequently – five days a week for me – with the 3.0-3.5 group. The level of play is quite high and many of the players in 3.0-3.5 group would actually qualify as 4.0 level players.
In San Diego, the style of play on the indoor courts involved a lot of hard hits and slamming the ball. Although lob shots were possible, you have to be aware of the ceiling as hitting the ceiling with the ball is deemed out of bounds. Many players there hit hard shots, low and fast from the baseline.
Here at Viewpoint, the game is played mostly with a more advanced style. In higher level pickleball, you’ll see the point set up with a deep serve. The ball must bounce on the court in the proper area before the serve can be returned. The return of serve must bounce anywhere on the court before it can be hit with the third shot. These rules apply both indoors and outdoors. Higher level players will hit a drop shot on the third shot. The idea is to drop the ball in the non-volley zone. This is an area covering the first seven feet beyond the net – players refer to it as the kitchen. If you enter this zone, you cannot hit a volley – that is, you must let the ball bounce before you can hit, no striking the ball in the air before it bounces.
This rule keeps players from standing at the net and swatting the ball. The way we play here, many times a successful third shop drop is followed with a dink. A dink is when you hit the ball softly – just enough to clear the 36-inch high net and drop it into your opponents’ kitchen. A series of dinks will follow as each player tries to hit a certain angle or spot that will create an opening or one of the players will hit the ball too high or beyond the kitchen and the opposing player will pounce with a hard winner.
This is a very satisfying way to play. It requires more control and skill than just trying to hit winners from the baseline or slamming the ball back and forth. If my explanation doesn’t make sense, check out championship pickleball on YouTube. You’ll see what I mean as this is how championship level pickleball is played.
Last evening Donna and I went to Lucky Lou’s for a happy hour beer with the guys. When we came home I parked the Spyder in front of the trailer. This morning it was on the gravel next to the trailer! I pulled it back onto the concrete – I didn’t release the parking brake to move it. I was sure I had set the brake the night before. I checked it and the brake was set, it just wasn’t set hard enough! A neighbor came over and said the Spyder had rolled into the street so he pushed back into the site on the gravel next to the trailer. Mystery solved. I’ll have to double check the parking brake from now on.
True to the forecast, the weather warmed up as the week wore on. Yesterday we had a high of 79 degrees. The mornings are cool though with overnight lows in the 40s. Today we should see upper 70s with clear blue skies.