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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"I think this goes deeper than just seeing FootGolf players wanting to also give golf a try," Baker says. "It's growing our industry. My budget was increased this year because of it (FootGolf ), but I wasn't asked to spend the addition to my budget on FootGolf. I'm going to be able to get a new tee mower because of it." In a way, FootGolf has re-energized Baker. "It's fun seeing people use the property in a new way," he says. In Michigan, assistant superintendent Jeff LeBlanc has his own way of supporting FootGolf, besides helping prepare his course for it in Canton, Mich., called Fellows Creek Golf Club. "I'm starting a league and will play in it," says LeBlanc, 30. "I love the idea." At Wildcat Creek in Kansas, the agronomic side of FootGolf creates minimal challenges, according to Fateley, who had three members quit but insists it didn't have to do with their feeling inconvenienced by sharing the course with FootGolf players. "I have to jump off the sprayer and remove a fag or tee post. We have to tweak the mowing pattern a little around the cup, but that's about it," says Fateley, whose $4,000 investment in cups, fags, soccer balls and other materials was recouped in two months from revenues gen - erated by FootGolf. "No practice swings with this, and we're not replacing divots." Sixty-seven-year-old Les Depew, a member at Wildcat Creek, isn't convinced that Foot - Golf will prompt large numbers to also use the facility to play golf. "Most kids want success right away. It's eas- ier to kick a soccer ball than hit a golf ball," Depew says. Whether FootGolf is a fad or a fxture re - mains to be seen. Fateley serves as an example of a superintendent willing to take a risk, which Bishop applauds. "Superintendents can be traditionalists, re - sistant to change," Bishop says. "We've got to have superintendents understand these things are critical. They have to play a vital role in these initiatives because these are their courses." Fateley is certain it was worth it to take a chance. "You always have to be looking for revenue streams, things to bring people to your course," Fateley says. "You can come out here, be among nature, unwind. That seems pretty cool to me." Howard Richman (hrichman@gcsaa.org) is GCM 's asso- ciate editor. At River Ridge GC, Oxnard, Calif., FootGolf players dressed in knickers for the event. Photo courtesy of Roberto Balestrini 044-055_July14_FootGolf.indd 54 6/17/14 2:37 PM

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