My column last month dealt with the perfection of the sport of golf: the beauty of the course, the internal competition of hitting the perfect shot and the skill needed to learn how each club works. As it is becoming evident in America, young and old are shunning the game. According to the National Golf Foundation, the game of golf has lost 5 million players over the last decade. I have seen this personally as the once coveted 5 p.m. tee time on Thursday night at Bensenville’s White Pines Golf Course no longer needs a reservation; you just walk up and play.
I know there is skill needed to play golf, and I have learned how to play the game for the past 22 years. I believe I am getting better and learning something new each year. For me, it is what makes the game interesting and challenging at the same time. You need to hone your abilities each year much like a skilled finish carpenter perfecting his craft over time.
However, many people are turning away from the game for just this same reason. The answer: Make the game easier with less skill needed and have it take less time. Links-and-Tees Golf in Addison will soon be offering FootGolf played on the same course with a much larger hole, only using a soccer ball instead of a golf ball. No clubs needed. Just kick and go and count your kicks for your score.
Many other courses around the world have introduced this brand of golf (check out the Web). For me, it serves as incentive to get people to take a walk in a beautiful park setting. At NEDSRA, we are exploring FootGolf as a possible program offering for individuals with disabilities. It’s simple enough and provides physical activity for all types of potential participants. I haven’t played it yet, so I have no opinion on the sport, but I think I’d like to try it. You should too.
Bruce Flowers is the marketing coordinator for NEDSRA.