WSJ: Jack Nicklaus And SNAG

Back in January at the PGA Show, Jack Nicklaus floated some ideas about golf in parks, youth leagues and some other peculiar sound ideas.

But after reading John Paul Newport's story on the Golden Bear's endorsement of SNAG Golf, the ideas become crystallized and make a lot of sense. Throw in the nagging issue of injuries in football (something not touched on here), and there seems to be a genuine opportunity to start kids in golf at a young age thanks to the concept.

Although SNAG golf can be played in any large open area, like a park or a beach, the Nicklaus Learning Leagues will use municipal soccer fields. A six-hole course takes less than 30 minutes to set up. Each player carries a rubber tee pad, to elevate the ball before hitting, and two clubs. One is the "launcher," which kids can use to knock a ball 40 to 50 yards. The other is the "roller," a putter equivalent, for the delicate shorter shots that finally "snag" the ball to an aboveground cylinder at the base of the flag. This so-called Flagsticky is covered in adhesive material.

The Nicklaus Leagues will build on a two-year pilot program in 15 cities run by the National Recreation and Park Association. For 5- and 6-year-olds in the Nicklaus Leagues, the emphasis will be on whacking the ball around and having fun, with snacks essential. Seven- and 8-year-olds will get more instruction and compete with partners in best-ball format against other teams. Nine- and 10-year-olds will use slightly smaller, Super SNAG clubs and balls and compete as a team with stroke-play scoring. Plans are afoot for leagues involving older kids and even adults.

There is also this supplemental video feature with the story.