While your everyday pickleball player may just be looking to play on courts at their local park, there is a growing market for Pickleball tourism, specifically at top tier resorts. Andrew Seidenberg knows this world well as he is the director of Seidwinder Pickleball & The Phoenician Resort’s pickleball program in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Phoenician Resort is a world class resort in the Valley of the Sun with unmatched amenities, both on and off the pickleball court.
Seidenberg entered the world of pickleball about 10 years ago and opened Seidwinder Pickleball in the summer of 2020. Later that same year, he began working with the Phoenician Resort, which has led to a mutually beneficial partnership on a number of levels.
In regards to the structure of the pickleball program, Seidenberg focuses on high impact lessons and clinics so clients need to see him less regularly than traditional pickleball players wanting to take lessons. He believes the most effective way for a player to grow in their skillset is to work on drills and then spend most of their time implementing what they’ve learned in open recreational play.
This model is particularly suited for his partnership with The Phoenician Resort. Seidenberg says, “The options [for pickleball] are plentiful in Arizona so my regulars don’t need to see me every week. It allows us to provide a high quality product for our local clients and not overuse the resort courts.” By hosting his own pickleball program at the resort, Seidenberg attracts locals to the resort for pickleball lessons who otherwise may have no reason to see a resort in their local town. Further, he is able to remain a pickleball resource for his clients long after their time at the resort has concluded as he provides his students with supplemental resources at no cost as well as his personal contact information. Many students take him up on this generous offer, even texting him years later for paddle recommendations. These special connections with students are one of the many unique benefits of hosting a pickleball program at a resort.
One particular draw for clients to work with Seidenberg at The Phoenician is the amenities. According to Seidenberg, The Phoenician is “simply the best resort in all of Arizona. [He has] frequented most of the resorts in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and there is nothing that compares to the quality and level of service provided at The Phoenician.” Some of these amenities include bottled water, lush landscaping, towel service, LED motion sensored lights, permanent nets, regularly cleaned courts, and an extensive pro shop. Since these amenities are managed by one of the top management companies in the world, Troon, Seidenberg can focus on the content of his pickleball program and improving his clients’ game.
Another unique feature of hosting a pickleball program at a resort is the diverse and multifaceted clientele that come through the resort each day. During his time at The Phoenician, Seidenberg has met people from all over the globe and made a lasting impact on their pickleball skills during their stay. Frequently, Seidenberg gets to be the one to introduce guests to the game for the first time. Admitably, working with clients from a high-end resort does present a unique set of challenges, one that Seidenberg accepts with eagerness, as many clients tend to aire of the side of being a more demanding client. “They are sophisticated, educated, and many times have a deep understanding of the game already.” However, Seidenberg is able to draw from his previous experience in the business world and his many transferable skills, such as communication, in order to forge relationships with these clients and help them improve their game. He says, “It certainly is more enjoyable communicating with people on the pickleball court than in the conference room of an attorney’s office, but the skills translate.”
Seidenberg understands how important it is to know your clientele and their needs. He keeps in mind that, at the end of the day, his resort clients are on vacation or they may be at a professional conference and in meetings all day. Either way, a focus on having fun is always paramount. Seidenberg understands that he must be agile in his approach and responsive to the needs of each individual or large corporation coming in for lessons.
When asked about some of the highlights of his career hosting a pickleball program at The Phoenician, Seidenberg pointed out that at a resort, you often get companies wanting to take pickleball lessons as a group, which means you may have a group of seasoned pickleball players and those with no experience whatsoever. Seidenberg enjoys the challenge to get rookies up to speed and provide value to the more experienced players, culminating in a round robin tournament at the end of their time together.
As a pickleball professional, when thinking about working with a resort, Seidenberg emphasizes the need to focus on two things: providing value and finding the right fit. At the time when Seidenberg was looking for this partnership, The Phoenician was looking for a head pickleball instructor. Additionally, as mentioned previously, Seidenberg strives for high impact, low time investment lessons, leaving ample time for the resort’s courts to be used by other guests, making this a great fit for the two parties. Finally, Seidenberg stresses that communication really is key when hosting a pickleball club at a resort. “Any experience you can get in public speaking roles in an athletic, education or business setting is very transferable and essential skills for the job.” Working with a premium resort requires the ability to communicate with resort staff, guests, and management at a high level.
Seidwinder Pickleball and the entire pickleball program at The Phoenician Resort is a great example of a pickleball club-host facility relationship that succeeds in its goal to provide value to its guests through a unique pickleball experience.