Shuffleboard Club neon sign

If you don’t know your bait from your biscuit, or why you should stay out of the kitchen, rest assured. It’s never too late to get in on the shuffleboard game, and this year is the perfect time to join in on the fun. Deck shuffleboard can be traced to the early 1900s in Florida and the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, which marks its 100th anniversary in January 2024, has played a key role in that history. From established conventions of earlier days to new traditions attracting future generations, there are many reasons to celebrate a century of this longstanding favorite pastime. Simply grab your cue and hit the court!

The Start of the Shuffleboard Club

Do you have a few friends with a similar interest? Apparently, if you find at least three of them, you can start an organization. And that’s exactly what happened in 1924, when a group of six shuffleboard players started the first strictly shuffleboard club in the world, originally named the St. Petersburg Mirror Lake Park Shuffleboard Club. In fact, in 1928, the young club was responsible for standardizing court dimensions, certain rules, and specifications when a committee sought to end confusion among clubs across Florida.

Two original courts were built, members joined the roster, weekly tournaments began, and the shuffleboard club soon grew in popularity. Today, it’s the largest of its kind with 74 outdoor courts, more than 2,600 members, and infinite memory-making moments.

A game for all ages, shuffleboard has simple requirements: a court, a cue, a disk – and a playful attitude. Two teams of one to four players take turns sliding their disk toward the numbered triangle at the end of the court. The first team to score 15 points wins.

Not Your Great-Great-Grandparents Shuffleboard

Forget the images of retirement communities and cruise ships of the bygone era. Today’s shuffleboard vibes include fun league nights for all skill levels (calling all rookies!), boot camps, member parties, friendly tournaments, and the St. Pete Shuffle – a beloved Friday night tradition of family fun on the courts when you can bring your own food and drink, and even well-behaved four-legged family members are welcome.

Another perk of the Friday night shuffle, a tradition that dates to 2005, is that it’s free for members and their guests, but also open to non-members as well. Volunteers are on hand to teach newcomers how to play, and if you love the club, it’s inexpensive, easy to join, and brings a range of benefits such as free play all year, with access to the equipment shed between 5 a.m. and midnight; members-only events, leagues, and tournaments; and discounts on club events and merch.

Whether you’ve never tried the game or you’re a long-time player, make it the year to discover all of the wonderful ways that shuffleboard brings together the local St. Petersburg community and visitors alike. Game on!

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