Paddle in Chatham
There’s no question that the popularity of paddle has skyrocketed in Chatham in the last few years. The community has 14 paddle courts across Chatham Fish & Game Club, Noe Pond Club, Minisink Club and Fairmount Country Club that play competitively against one another.
In 2016, Duane Lapus and Mark Polemeni created the inaugural Chatham Cup tournament to institute an organized paddle community in Chatham where participants would have more opportunities to play paddle matches locally with other clubs, continue to grow participation in the sport and help make Chatham an appealing town for new families moving in.
Platform tennis, commonly referred to as paddle was createdin 1928 as a winter racquet sport for tennis players, but is now played year round—on a smaller court surrounded by wire screensand always played as a doubles sport.
The four clubs in Chatham compete against each other for the Scott “Pa” Estes Cup, which is in honor of Pa Estes, a revered player who has lived in Chatham with his wife Janice for 45 years. The Head Platform Tennis Professional at Noe Pond Club, Pa, as he is known by the Chatham paddle community, is currently ranked #1 in the 70s age group and has won 28 Senior American Platform Tennis Association (APTA) National Championships. Pa and Janice’s children Scott Estes Jr. and Jill Feher are also nationally ranked paddle players. Jill is currently director of racquets at the Noe Pond Club.
Past Pa Estes Cup champions—2016: Minisink Club, 2017: Noe Pond Club, 2018: Noe Pond Club, 2019: Chatham Fish & Game Club.The 2019 tournament included a record 128 players across the four clubs.The tournament started in March and ended with finals matches and a party in May at Fairmount Country Club.
In 2015, the Chatham High School Varsity Paddle Tennis team was founded as a club by students Paul Ivans, Heather Ivans and Colin Schroeder. It was the first high school varsity paddle program in the US when it was approved as a varsity team by the School District of the Chathams for the 2017- 2018 winter sports season. CHS plays in the APTA Mid- Atlantic HS Paddle League (NJ, PA, CT, NY, DE). The team had 95 students on last year’s team and won the inaugural 2019 NJ State High School Paddle Tennis championships.