‘Golden Bachelor’ Star Gerry Turner Stays Fit Playing This Trendy Sport 3 Times a Week

Updated: Sep. 28, 2023

Any woman looking to impress 72-year-old Golden Bachelor Gerry Turner should read up on his favorite physical activity.

Tonight, the world will meet Gerry Turner, a 72-year-old widower who will take center stage in The Golden Bachelor, a spinoff of the famous ABC reality dating series that premiered in March 2002.

If you’re familiar with The Bachelor, what sets The Golden Bachelor concept apart is that the leading man on the search for love is in his golden years, just like the 22 women competing for his attention. Having lost his wife of 43 years, whom he met in high school, Gerry is now ready to put himself out there.

What’s Gerry Turner looking for in a woman? In his own words, he seeks a “high-energy, competitive person” with strong family values and “friendly ties with their children.” On the “competitive” front he mentions, our research tells us that if she happens to be into pickleball, she’ll earn bonus points with this tall, tanned dad of two daughters and grandpa of two granddaughters.

The Golden Bachelor premiere airs Thursday, September 28 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

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Gerry Turner’s pickleball passion

Any woman looking to impress Gerry should, at the very least, be familiar with the phenomenon of pickleball. This sport is one of the fastest-growing among older demographics, and Gerry is deeply passionate about it. In an interview with USA Pickleball, he admitted to dedicating at least three days a week to it. He even adds a fourth day, if possible, during the winter. 

“In playing pickleball, I was looking for a way to release and tap into some of my competitive energy,” he said. “The other part of it, of course, is that I found the social side of the game to be so satisfying. The best friends I have right now are my pickleball friends, and playing the game has just gotten better and better over the years.“ Turner’s ideal companion should perhaps also be prepared to accept his “pickleball wife,” an unnamed woman whom he calls his favorite pickleball partner.

Pickleball might even make its debut on The Golden Bachelor, as Gerry Turner has said he believes the game is a great way to learn about someone. “A pickleball date or a golf date would be great. I think those things reveal people’s character,” he revealed in a podcast interview. “The ability to read each other’s body language, strengths, and weaknesses applies to pickleball, but it also applies to real-life relationships,” he added to USA Pickleball.

What is pickleball?

This hybrid game, said to be a mix of tennis, badminton, ping-pong, and volleyball, was created in 1965 by a congressman who improvised with special paddles and a whiffle ball. The name “pickleball” is said to have come from either by the congressman’s dog or the pickle boat in crew.

Pickleball, played on a modified tennis or badminton court with large paddles, quickly gained popularity and is now considered the fastest-growing sport in America. Its appeal lies in being more forgiving to slower players compared to other racket sports, making it particularly popular among the older generation.

However, pickleball still requires coordination and carries some risks. There are common pickleball injuries to which certain body parts are most vulnerable. In fact, data reported by CNN suggests injuries from pickleball could cost Americans over $377 million, according to estimates released earlier this year. So just like new romance, it’s wise to approach pickleball carefully.

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How to play pickleball safely

Before engaging in any physical activity, consulting your doctor to ensure you’re fit enough to play is crucial. After that, follow these standard recommendations: Warm up before playing, stay hydrated, and wear sturdy court shoes.

According to Miami-based orthopedic surgeon Alejandro Badia, M.D., F.A.C.S., running shoes lack the lateral stability needed for the back-and-forth motions involved in pickleball. In case of injury, immediate treatment is vital, involving rest, ice, compression, elevation, or a visit to a specialist for the affected body part. However, Dr. Badia emphasizes that the risk of injury should not deter otherwise healthy individuals from enjoying the game, noting that “sitting on the couch is much worse for your health.”