Golf Course Management

JUL 2014

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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52 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 07.14 times when the course is packed. "It can look like Disneyland sometimes," Young says, "but there is something to be said about seeing 5-year-olds carrying a bag taller than them and seeing them enjoy it." In the Pacifc Northwest, the 17-year-old First Green Foundation has introduced thou - sands of children to golf course settings by using the facility as an environmental learning lab. Jeff Gullikson, CGCS at Spokane Coun - try Club, along with Bill Meyer, Ph.D., started the program in Washington in 1997. "We don't teach golf. We just break down barriers and perceptions they may have about being at a golf course," says Gullikson, who received GCSAA's President's Award for Envi - ronmental Stewardship a decade ago. "I would hope superintendents see the value in doing something like this. It does take time, and time is the most limiting factor in all our lives." Time, though, should never be an excuse for superintendents not to get involved, says GCSAA Class A superintendent Todd Bohn of Wolf Creek Golf Links in Olathe, Kan. "I think superintendents need to be part of things but sometimes may have a hard time fguring out what that entails," says Bohn, who has helped raise more than $25,000 the last two years for equipment used in the SNAG (Starting New At Golf ) program in the Kansas City area. "We have to fnd ways to help in our industry. If we don't, we're not going to have jobs." Since some grow-the-game initiatives are relatively new (Hack Golf, which hopes to in - crease the fun factor of the game, or Time for Nine, initiated by Golf Digest to promote the idea that playing just nine holes is fne), esti - mating their full impact on how many players have chosen to enter the game of golf may not be determined for years. That's OK with World Golf Foundation CEO Steve Mona, who is willing to take a look at any initiative that doesn't violate or denigrate the tradition of the game. "We have a lot of programs out there that are doing well and having an impact right now," Mona says. "Something such as Foot - Golf cannot hurt. No way you can argue that it's bad for golf." Kicking around a new idea GCSAA Class A superintendent Stacy Baker didn't say a word when he frst learned that Haggin Oaks Golf Course would consider FootGolf for their menu of member choices. Baker did, however, respond. "I just laughed," he says. Not anymore. Baker, a 10-year GCSAA member, now is all-in with the FootGolf phe - nomenon. After it started in July 2013 at Hag- gin Oaks' Arcade Creek Course, 6,500 rounds of FootGolf were played through the end of the year. From January until June of this year, they totaled 3,612 rounds and forecast 10,000 over - all for all of 2014. "This thing has exploded. It's amazing," Baker says. How invested is Haggin Oaks in FootGolf? In April they created a new position for Karl Van Dessel, who is their FootGolf operator. The Breakers Palm Beach maintenance crew works on a First Tee facility in their area. Photo courtesy of The Breakers Palm Beach "We have a lot of programs out there that are doing well and having an impact right now. Something such as FootGolf cannot hurt. No way you can argue that it's bad for golf." — Steve Mona 044-055_July14_FootGolf.indd 52 6/17/14 2:37 PM

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