Park Golf groundbreaking takes place as part of Sanderson Farms Championship week
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Written by Staff @PGATOUR
In the words of the Park Golf Founder and President Ignacio “Nacho” Giraldo, Park Golf aims to “Bring golf to the people.”
Park Golf is a not-for-profit with the goal of bringing the game of golf to a new generation of participants from diverse backgrounds. The organization builds short, three-hole, turf-based facilities in public parks with safe equipment and limited-flight golf balls.
“We want to bring diverse generations to the game because this country will look very different in 2050,” said Giraldo. “If we don’t expand the base of passionate golfers, in 30 years, we will have less of them. Ultimately, that’s our goal – more kids at an early age falling in love with the game so that later on we have many adults engaging.”
The idea for Park Golf began after Giraldo finished working at Nike, but wanted to stay connected to the golf industry. He connected with Steve Mona, former CEO of the World Golf Foundation, who brought Giraldo on board as an advisor to the World Golf Foundation.
“We know it’s hard to break the five main barriers to golf participation – access, intimidation, diversity, cost and time,” said Giraldo. “Thus, we came up with an idea that would break all five.”
Park Golf has been working closely with First Tee – Central Mississippi and its Executive Director Margo Coleman, since 2020 to build the first pilot facility at Parham Bridges Park in Jackson, Mississippi.
A groundbreaking ceremony took place at the facility as part of Sanderson Farms Championship week and featured remarks from Park Golf founders, City of Jackson officials and First Tee. The ceremony concluded with First Tee participants, PGA TOUR players Chad Ramey and Stephan Jaeger and community leaders hitting the ceremonial first tee shots.
“I have been the ‘boots on the ground,’ talking to the city and putting a team of people together locally,” said Coleman. “It’s fun to be in from the beginning to learn the lessons… We didn’t know what we didn’t know.”
In addition to the three short holes, the facility will also include a social putting green and caddie shack. The caddie shack will have a place for participants to check in and check out equipment, storage space and a classroom for events and indoor classes. Currently, the First Tee chapter has six locations, but not their own permanent home.
“The ability to have a new location for classes and a place to host events is huge, like the Champion’s Day Clinic with Mackenzie Hughes as part of the Sanderson Farms Championship,” said Coleman. “The opportunities are really endless for our chapter to use the facility in addition to the public coming to use it when they’re in the park.”
First Tee – Central Mississippi is also a recent PGA TOUR Charity Challenge beneficiary via the Sanderson Farms Championship, as well as a Make Golf Your Thing Grassroots Grants Program recipient. The chapter will use these contributions to invest in their programming and further their impact in the Jackson community.
“My invitation is for people to join the Park Golf movement,” said Giraldo. “We are all just lovers of the game with a big dream.”
For more information on Park Golf, visit www.park-golf.org.