Fore!: Hens turn outfield into golf courseWritten by Don Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s been enough interest in golfing at Fifth Third Field that the Mud Hens have doubled down on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The Links at Fifth Third Field, the mini-golf course that will take over the outfield for three days this month, has gone from one 18-hole minicourse to two, said Sports Turf Manager Jake Tyler.
“We were running out of tee times,” Tyler said, laughing, as he and assistant Cory Myers put some finishing touches on the jigsaw puzzle of miniature golf greens in what is normally the Hens’ outfield.
The only downside? There’ll be no 17th hole ending on the pitcher’s mound, as originally planned. Tyler said he and his crew decided to have both courses play the same, and, of course, there’s only one pitcher’s mound.
It’s the first time a minor-league outfield has been turned into a miniature golf course, said Hens’ spokeswoman Andi Roman, and as far as she knows, the first time in any ballpark.
“The idea was all Jake’s,” she said.
“I always thought it would be fun to play golf out here,” Tyler said while lining up starter blocks — made out of baseballs — on one of the holes in left field.
The opportunity itself came out of left field when plans to turn the ball field into a hockey rink for this year’s Toledo Walleye Winterfest — together with plans already in place to renovate the field anyway — meant “there was about a month that we didn’t have to worry about the condition of the field,” Tyler said.
Work began the day after the last home game: Marking and mowing out the greens, letting the rest of the grass grow out a little, coming up with hazards and baseball-themed in-play features such as an arch made of bats, a base off which to bounce a shot into the cup (or try to, anyway) and a batting helmet through which the ball must go to reach the cup.
Normally, a ball field requires care through the winter to help make it ready for each spring. But a long weekend of minigolf fits in nicely with Tyler’s philosophy of keeping the fans connected with the field.
“Plus, it looks really neat,” he said.
Tee times are $15 per person and include a souvenir golf ball. Part of the proceeds support area charities, including Helping Hens Charitable Fund, the Epilepsy Center of Northwest Ohio, the Boys & Girls Club and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Tee times are available 6-10 p.m. Sept. 26; 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 6:30-10 p.m. Sept. 27; and 2-8 p.m. Sept. 28. Walk-ins will be accommodated when possible all weekend, including starting at 9 a.m. Sept. 28.
Sign up at mudhens.com or by calling (419) 725-4367.