Since most youngsters are familiar with baseball, PGA Professional Lucas Cohen at Grand Palms Golf & Country Club in Pembroke Pines, Fla., has put together a version of “golf baseball” to help juniors learn the fundamentals of golf through a fun game that incorporates both sports. Cohen’s golf baseball field requires a 50 by 50-yard grass practice area, six small orange cones for bases, a round miniature foam ball the size of a softball and an oversized monster golf wedge.
The game is played by placing the Nerf-style ball on the ground behind the two home-plate teeing ground cones. Batters use their full golf swing with the monster wedge to put the ball into play and begin to run the bases, just as in baseball. The batter/runner must stop when the ball is returned to the pitcher, and outs can only be recorded by catching a fly ball. There are three outs per inning, just as in baseball, and games can last three to six innings, depending on time. Typically, the pitchergolf professional also serves as the umpire for the game. A home teeing ground professional may also instruct the batters on how to hit the ball with the giant wedge.
“The kids really take to golf baseball because it helps them relate golf to an athletic sport where they can run around,” says Cohen, who has been using golf baseball as a fun training tool for juniors for seven years now. “It’s a shift away from the typical range practice and can be used as a way to break up the practice activities of putting, short game and full swing found in a standard junior golf camp. In addition, this is an excellent game for children of all ages and abilities to help them think of golf as a team sport. I know this is not the traditional method of golf instruction, but when you see the way your juniors respond to it, you will be just as entertained as they are.”
The Florida juniors who have played golf baseball agree with Cohen. His idea is a home run on the fun meter.