National Pickleball Celebrity Visits Wellington Bay Residents

Pickleball star Alex Pop-Moldovan (center) with Wellington Bay residents.

In what’s a bit of a flip-flop, seniors are the trendsetters while younger generations follow closely behind at the Wellington Bay senior living community.

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States, with an estimated 4.8 million players. The game, which is a combination of badminton, ping-pong and tennis, was, in earlier years, predominantly played among older adults. It is a game increasingly attracting younger generations because of its social aspect, accessibility, inclusivity, ease of learning and just pure fun.

Wellington Bay first opened its doors a year ago. With an appreciation for the popularity of the sport, two pickleball courts were built. They are among the most popular amenities, which also include bocce ball courts, a zero-entry outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a 65,000-square-foot-clubhouse, a library, an art room and more. Residents of Wellington Bay can, through the senior living community’s arrangement, have free access to golf at Wellington National Golf Club.

Early on, Wellington Bay residents decided to launch a pickleball club as one of the many resident-driving programs in the community.

The club’s president is resident Artie Lynnworth, who is passionate about the game.

Recently, national pickleball star Alex Pop-Moldovan came to provide pickleball instruction to the residents.

“I have taken lessons from Alex at PGA National,” Lynnworth said. “Alex is a nationally ranked player, a bronze medalist in the U.S. Pickleball Open, and a coach to one of the USA’s best pickleball teams. He really knows how to make learning a productive and entertaining experience.”

Pop-Moldovan came to Wellington Bay to hold two clinics for the residents: one for beginners and another for intermediate players.

“He helped residents learn key skills for success on the court, held drills and ended the day with a round-robin match,” Lynnworth said.

As a result of witnessing the residents’ enjoyment of pickleball, as well as their growing skills, some of the staff members at Wellington Bay expressed interest in learning how to play.

“The residents have volunteered to coach the staff,” Lynnworth said. “We already have great camaraderie, and playing pickleball together will further enhance the wonderful spirit and atmosphere of living here at beautiful Wellington Bay.”

Wellness Director Melissa Clark was thrilled with the opportunity to learn the game.

“I can tell you that our residents are great pickleball players,” she said. “They are teaching us the rules of the game and also the nuances like how to be safe, how to be in the right place at the right time, and the best ways to hit and place the ball. I can speak for myself when I say that I personally have a long way to go, and I truly appreciate their guidance in the court.”

Concierge Director Dominique McDonald agreed. “I truly enjoy interacting with the residents. I am new at the game and can see why so many people love it. When we play, and the residents give us lessons, it makes me feel safe and at ease,” she said.

Some staff members are beginning to try out pickleball without the residents formally training them but offering the gracious recipients unsolicited guidance. After watching some of Wellington Bay’s dining servers “pickle around,” Artie said, “I did send them some links to pickleball tips that they can watch online and be better prepared for self-improvement,” he said.

Wellington Bay is a rental retirement community featuring luxury apartments on a palm tree-shaded campus in Wellington. Learn more at