Lake Padden embracing Footgolf

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 3, 2014 

Josh Fish, the head professional at the Lake Padden Golf Course, was having trouble staying on the green.

It's a problem he's not too accustomed to, of course, but then again, he's not too accustomed to teeing off with a soccer ball, either.

Fish, along with his father Mel, the director of golf at Lake Padden, and several other close family members took part in one of the first nights of FootGolf at the Loomis Trail Golf Club on Friday, June 6, enjoying an experience that would soon be at their own course.

Lake Padden, like Semiahmoo and Loomis, will introduce FootGolf to its customers, hoping to drive people to the course in the later stages of the night when it largely goes unused.

"It's something that's new. It's innovative. It's impactful - and it gives people an opportunity to come out to a golf course and see you can do things on a golf course that don't necessarily have anything to do with the score," Josh said.

In agreement, Mel saw a golden opportunity to welcome in a new audience, providing a vehicle that could drive new people toward the game of golf.

"Put into context, over the last four or five years, golf is on the downtrend as far as the number of rounds played," Mel said. "The national rounds are down five percent over the last three years. ... If we can draw more people to a golf course and do something like this, we think that might draw more people to play golf."

Holes and hole locations have already been designed and are nearing completion at Lake Padden, Mel said, with the last few pieces being finalized soon.

Loomis, Semiahmoo and Lake Padden are just the first in Whatcom County to welcome the growing game. Courses have recently popped up in Tacoma, Seattle, Puyallup, Renton and one west of Bremerton, too, offering a counterbalance to what Mel said was a growing decrease in rounds of golf played per year.

Both Brett Eaton and Mel said their respective courses will begin with just nine holes, but expansion to an 18-hole course is the eventual goal if all goes well.

Reach Alex Bigelow at alex.bigelow@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.

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