December 11, 2017 By: Erik Matuszewski – Goat Hill Park, the 18-hole short course in Oceanside, California, that was famously saved from being plowed under by developers, is building a kids course where youngsters in the community can learn the game of golf — for free. Fittingly, the 3-hole layout will be called THE PLAYGROUND.
John Ashworth, the founder and president of apparel company Linksoul, is among the local residents who came together in 2014 to spearhead the campaign to preserve the golf course known to local as simply “Goat Hill.” As part of the initial plan to save the course, the group included the creation of an area at Goat Hill where kids could connect with both the game of golf and their community.
“We submitted a plan to the city and we had this on there, which they loved, so we’re following through on that commitment to the community,” Ashworth said in a video that’s part of an Indiegogo campaign to raise $55,000 in additional funds for the project. “Goat Hill Park is the home of the North County Junior Golf Association, so we’re building this for them. Kids will play for free, but it’s not free to build and we’ve incurred some costs doing it.”
The folks at Goat Hill Park have already received generous contributions from a number of notable companies in the golf community, among them architect Gil Hanse’s design company, equipment-maker Callaway, golf course builder Landscapes Unlimited and course equipment supplier Turf Star.
Ashworth, who founded the Ashworth clothing brand more than two decades ago, has proselytized about the need for golf to be more accessible. It’s why he’s thrown so much support behind a facility like Goat Hill, which is affordable, has a strong social component, active kids programs and leagues, and is both great fun and a good walk. The creation of THE PLAYGROUND is an extension of that and a link to the fund-raising campaign for the project can be found here.
“If you can get a kid early comfortable being around a golf course, having fun, learning the etiquette, learning the values, then you have a good citizen for the rest of their life,” says Ashworth.
They’re even more reasons to get behind an innovative grow-the-game campaign like THE PLAYGROUND.