Invent a sport. Involve golf and put it in the name. Get everyone's attention.
It's a proven formula.
FootGolf, the newest hybrid, combines soccer and golf.
Haggin Oaks is home to Northern California's first FootGolf course, which opens today.
How it's like soccer: The ball; the kicking.
How it's like golf: The goal to get the ball into 18 holes in as few "shots" as possible; it's played on a golf course, where contours must be considered.
In relation to actual golf, FootGolf is somewhere between disc golf (not at all) and SpeedGolf (golf played as quickly as possible).
To whom does Haggin Oaks head pro Mike Woods, a former college soccer player, envision FootGolf appealing?
"Folks who enjoy soccer. Kids, for sure. Folks that aren't necessarily golfers," he said. "I think it opens up a whole new market."
Haggin's FootGolf 18-hole course is built within the front nine of the Arcade Creek course. It's a par 72 with holes ranging from 55 to 204 yards. Cups are 21 inches in diameter (regulation soccer balls are 8.65 inches), making the ratio similar to golf cups (4.25 inches) and balls (1.68 inches).
Soccer skills trump golf ability in determining FootGolf success, but Woods sees a crossover to golf for soccer players who have not tried the game.
"The scenery, the environment, the nice people - I don't think it's going to take long for players to wander over to the driving range and say, 'I've always wanted to whack one,' " he said.
FootGolfers will play intertwined with golfers. Course operators plan to explain the etiquette and culture of golf, for those not familiar, to make the meshing as seamless as possible. Chaperones will work with FootGolf groups, initially.
"That's going to be the fun part," Woods said.
The cost for a round of FootGolf is $15 for 18 holes and $7 for ages 17 and younger.
Haggin will host the California FootGolf Challenge on July 14. More than 100 players are signed up. A version of the tournament for juniors is July 28. Go to www.footgolfcalifornia.com to sign up.
Can't beat the heat
The temperature is expected to reach 105 degrees today in Sacramento for the sixth consecutive day.
While that's 15 degrees above average and guaranteed to continue to make available many afternoon tee times, area course operators and superintendents say the watershed temperature is 95.
As in, players start making alternative plans and superintendents change their habits when temperatures reach the upper 90s. The business bottom falls out at 105.
"The way we approach it, when it's above 95, we're out there," said Steve Kimbrough, the superintendent at Woodcreek and Diamond Oaks. "When it reaches 100 or 108, that doesn't necessarily change things other than provide a bit more heat stress."
Rob Frederick, the director of golf at the Roseville courses, says it's business as usual - until 10 a.m. - when it's expected to be 105-plus.
"Then it dies," he said.
Neither Woodcreek nor Diamond Oaks cracked 100 rounds Monday, a day Woodcreek averages 150 and Diamond 200, Frederick said. Rod Metzler, the owner of Empire Golf, which manages Ancil Hoffman, Auburn Valley, Cherry Island, DarkHorse and Chico's Bidwell Park, said business has been off between 20 percent and 40 percent, depending on the day and property, during the hot spell.
"It might as well be pouring rain (after noon)," Metzler said.
Ironically, rain a week ago Monday and Tuesday added to superintendents' woes. While it calmed some hot spots, Kimbrough said, the ensuing humidity and damp turf increased the possibility of fungus and prompted the application of expensive fungicide.
There is good news for course operators: It had been a dry and mild year to date until last week; Thursday's Fourth of July is more of a picnic holiday than golf day; and temperatures are supposed to return to normal Friday.
Jake Leppek and Grant Leppek (Rocklin) are two of 14 American players selected to compete against Canadian and Scottish teams in the International Junior Golf Tour's Euro Cup on July 31-Aug. 2 in St. Andrews, Scotland.
John Burke (Sacramento) and Austin Smotherman (Loomis) are headed to the U.S. Amateur Public Links later this month in Lorton, Va., after qualifying last month.
Corey Eddings (Roseville), Cody Riecks (Auburn) and Blake Abercrombie (Rocklin) qualified last week for the U.S. Junior Amateur at Martis Camp in Truckee on July 22-27.
Kelsey Ulep (Rocklin) qualified Monday for the U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur in Fort Wayne, Ind., on July 22-27.
Call The Bee's Steve Pajak, (916) 326-5526.