Hardball doubles has existed in the Boston area since the 1930’s, when a single, low-ceilinged doubles court at the Harvard Club was the only court available. The game grew slowly thereafter but accelerated in the early 1980’s, when the University Club, led by Lenny Bernheimer, built another court. Although it took a while for the game to catch on, it blossomed in the ’90’s when the UClub’s Punters Cup attracted players new to the game. The popularity of the game induced the University Club to replace the original court with two new ones. The construction of another court at the Marblehead YMCA in 2009 gave the area a fourth doubles court.
The annual state doubles tournament has been a constant highlight of the doubles scene, attracting growing numbers of players; in recent years over 200 players have participated in an expanded list of nine divisions. A formal doubles league was initiated in 2011 with teams from each of the three host clubs and a combined “nomads” team from across Boston. Numerous internal club doubles tournaments provide additional opportunities for the doubles player population to grow, and the number of juniors playing in national events continues to swell.
Boston also has a significant number of nationally ranked doubles players who compete regularly in tournaments across the United States and Canada. A professional tournament, linked with a Pro-Am, comes to the University Club each January, providing a top spectacle for the squash community.
As the popularity of doubles continues to grow, the plans for more courts continue to surface.