Instead of collecting cobwebs, minor league ballparks are transforming into golf courses
If you build it, they will come . . . unless a crippling global pandemic and a baseball commissioner with little to no interest in actual baseball keep them away, of course. So goes the probablly-too-wordy mantra of 261 MiLB teams across the country, who have been forced to shutter their ballparks in response to a baseball season unlike any other. Instead of collecting cobwebs and debt, however, a few teams have turned to an unlikely source for help: golf.
According to a recent report by Front Office Sports, teams like the Portland Sea Dogs and Indianapolis Indians have transformed their home parks into nine-hole layouts for local baseball-loving golfers. With green fees running about $30 a pop, Sea Dogs president Geoff Iacuessa said they sold out of all 220 tee times in a single day when they opened the course back in early July. Suffice to say, your local Topgolf no longer has the drunk-guy-trying-to-Happy-Gilmore-it-over-the-fence market cornered.
Later this month, the Indianapolis Indians will follow suit, officially opening “The Links at Victory Field.” Site of the 2030 U.S. Open it certainly isn’t, but with nine tee boxes strewn throughout the grandstands, greens in the outfield, and group packages available for private hitting bays in the Yuengling Landing Area, it is certainly not a bad way to kill a Saturday afternoon.
If previous golf offerings at the likes of Petco Park and Citi Field are the Torrey Pines and Bethpage of ballpark golf courses, consider these your local munis. A little more ragged but a lot more fun. The only potential competition? Bubba Watson—yes, THAT Bubba Watson—who has teamed up with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to create a ballpark disc golf course. If that isn't cat nip for the college bro demo, we don't know what is.