Diversification has been the mantra of financial advisers since the dawn of the stock exchange and for good reason. Putting all of one’s eggs into one basket is a high-risk game in personal wealth management as well as in many businesses. Unfortunately for the golf industry, it hasn’t jumped on the diversification gravy train and is suffering the consequences.
The “never break convention” convictions shared by many purists of the game may think their are preserving the game, but in fact, they are killing it.
The same was true in winter sports. Although snowboarding has been around since the early 60s, it wasn’t until the mid 80s that ski resorts started to allow snowboards to grace their runs. Liability issues and the desire to not upset the affluent skiers that monopolized the slopes were the two main reasons sited. But the fact was, skiing traditionalists saw the new breed of powder junkies (mostly boisterous teenagers) as rebels, of which they wanted no part. ~40 U.S. resorts allowed snowboarding in 1984/5. 5 years later, 476 resorts were on board. Today only 3 North American resorts continue to prohibit snowboarders.
Although the hybrid soccer-golf pasttime, FootGolf, has been around since 2009, there are still only 442 golf courses out of the 15,372 in the USA that offer it today.
One of the newest visionaries letting players kick up their heels on the fairways is one of my very favorite places to play golf – Ka’anapali Golf Courses on Maui.
A member of the 150+ clubs managed by Bill Casper Golf (BCG), Ka’anapali is first and only course on Maui to offer FootGolf to locals and tourists alike.
7 days a week starting at 3:30 pm, the general public can enjoy 9 and 18 holes of FootGolf starting at $15 to walk or $30 if they want to ride in a shared golf cart. Players can bring their own soccer balls or rent one for $5 per round.
The benefits of clubs diversifying their amenities to include FootGolf are hard to dispute financially, and directly address some of the key issues with growing the game of golf today. FootGolf is:
3. Easy to play
4. Great exercise
5. Perfect for families, corporate outings and parties
And by offering FootGolf on regular golf courses, new opportunities to introduce traditional golf to youngsters open up when their curiosity is piqued watching the purists at play in front of them.
I’m heading to Maui in November for my annual pilgrimage to paradise and hope to catch a few games myself. Finally I won’t have to feel guilty using my foot-wedge to put my ball back in play.
How FootGolf is Played
In FootGolf, each hole is assigned a “par” just like in golf with players teeing off using a soccer ball, strategically kicking it until they make it in the 21-inch cup. Holes are cut into the rough to protect conditions of fairways and greens, and to avoid affecting everyday golfers. The American FootGolf League provides a rule book for players to follow, but here’s a cool infographic from BCG that outlines if all .