The Park, success for recipe to relaunch golf



by ANDREA GUSSONI

The Park, success for recipe to relaunch golf
© Getty Images Sport - Grant Halverson / Stringer

Often, when trying to get into golf, you are faced with two common scenarios. Either you enter a prestigious club with an excellent pitch but high membership fees, which can be discouraging for those who are not yet passionate about this sport, or you end up in a small club with more accessible costs but a pitch with a simple design and maintenance.

not always up to par. Despite the challenges in approaching golf, the number of people taking up the sport is growing, especially in the post-Covid period.

The Park, news

Now imagine a parallel universe, the world of golf in the United States, in which someone tried to change this situation.

In 2019, a group of investors took over a struggling municipal course in Florida, near West Palm Beach. This area already has plenty of golf courses, but most are expensive private country clubs and tourist resorts, while the few municipal clubs often have maintenance problems.

The route was therefore renewed with an interesting philosophy. According to one of the founders: "If I wanted to help a friend who has never drunk it discover the true flavor of coffee, I certainly wouldn't offer him a cup of cold, cheap coffee, but a good coffee.

Because then in golf we insist on starting beginners on boring courses with fairways surrounded by trees, when good design can make the game more fun and engaging?” With this philosophy, architect Gil Hanse designed the new course, called The Park.

It was designed to be challenging for players of all levels and to require low maintenance costs. The result is a relatively short course, with wide fairways and undulating greens with irregular shapes. The most important skill is not so much hitting the ball perfectly straight, but finding the right angle to attack the green.

Thanks to this strategic approach, it is possible to have fun even for beginners, without losing balls or accumulating high scores. All this is complemented by a modern driving range, a large putting green that connects the clubhouse to the course and a pitch&putt course illuminated at night.

In less than a year, the results have been astonishing: The Park has become a success and the course is frequented by players of all ages and levels, who flock to it from morning to night. Of course, the success is also due to the management of the club and social projects such as the caddy program and scholarships for local young people.

Youth programs allow 60 area kids to play golf for free, and a new youth clubhouse offers space to study and play golf in the same place. Describing this formula in a few lines is simple, but it could represent an excellent starting point for involving more people in golf, strengthening ties with the community and designing more fun and accessible courses for everyone.