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Golf Courses Embrace New Games To Attract Business

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — This spring, there’s a new options for golfers.

Hyland Greens Golf and Learning Center in Bloomington, Minn. will open up its new footgolf course on Saturday as a proactive approach to the declining interest in the game.

In recent years, many golfers have put their clubs aside because the game isn’t easy or cheap. Footgolf offers an inexpensive way to play the game and get out on the course, says Hyland Greens’ golf pro Rick Sitek.

“It’s just something a little different,” Sitek said. “It’s much, much easier. It’s difficult to just put the club on the golf ball much less hit it. A soccer ball, you’re not going to miss it with your foot.”

The rules are the same as traditional golf, except for new equipment. A soccer ball replaces the golf ball and your leg becomes the club.

“If you said this five years ago, I’d thought you were crazy,” said Sitek.

Golfers also take aim on a much bigger target. The cup is 21 inches in diameter. For Caleb Olson, this twist on the game is enough to bring him to the course.

“As a person who is more active and wants to have a more active sport, it seems a fun way to do golf,” Olson said.

That’s exactly why Sitek wanted the addition. With fewer people golfing, many courses face an uncertain future. At Hyland, where thousands of people once golfed during the season, traffic has dwindled to dozens.

“Our play is down considerably what it was over the past 10 years, and we needed to try something different,” he said. “Cash flow, bodies on the golf course.”

Across town, Brookview Golf Course is also adding variety, according to operations manager Ben Disch.

“We are adding lawn bowling and we’re excited to introduce it to the public,” Disch said.

A parking lot will soon be transformed into eight lawn bowling rinks, available for leagues and individual games.

“For us, it’s about being open to new ideas and trying new things, and we thought what a unique opportunity to add an amenity,” he said.

Brookview and Hyland share the same idea, just a different approach: bring in more traffic and offer more outdoor opportunities to current golfers.

While the moves may seem like a step away from golf, it’s actually done with the traditional game in mind.

“We’re trying to grow,” Disch said. “We’re trying to grow the game of golf.”

Brookview will open its lawn-bowling rinks on August 14. The cost will be $20 per game for up to eight people.

Footgolf opens Saturday at Hyland Greens Golf and Learning Center in Bloomington. You can try it for free from noon til 4 p.m.

After Saturday, it costs $9 to play the nine-hole course.

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