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Hadlock Field sees different kind of swings with Hadlinks event

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PORTLAND – The Portland Sea Dogs might not be playing at the moment, but there were still plenty of big swings happening at Hadlock Field last weekend.

Golf swings. For four days, Hadlock Field became Hadlinks Field, with area golfers given the opportunity to play a 9-hole round of target golf at the stadium. And on Friday afternoon, I took my hacks.

It went better than I expected.

Play works like this: the field has nine actual golf holes cut into it, flags and all. Around each hole is a circle with a diameter of six feet. And every hole is surrounded by a spray-painted “green.” Golfers tee off from nine platforms set up on the skybox level, with hole one on the left field side, working around to right field. The player shoots twice from each tee, keeping the best shot.

The scoring: A ball in the cup is a one. Inside the six-foot circle, two. On the “green” is three, which is considered par. Literally anywhere on the field’s a four and in the stands is a five. The holes range in distance from just under 100 to just over 150.

Full disclosure: I hadn’t swung a golf club in earnest in a LONG time. Years, really. There was a moment in time when I was not terrible at the game, but I hadn’t played a round in five years or more. Didn’t matter – it was still fun.

I’m not going to sit here and say that I had a good round. But something like this isn’t about good – it’s about doing it. It’s the opportunity to not just do something – which is frankly enough – but to do something that you’ve never done before. Who cares if you’re hitting good shots? You’re hitting them from the Renteria suite toward the center field fence at Hadlock – the where is gravy.

That said, I did get 17 of my 18 shots on the field, with just one embarrassingly awful shank. I even stumbled into a birdie (I was aiming for the wrong hole and got lucky). I also managed to find four greens, though again, fortune apparently favored my boldness because while I was hitting it okay, I had only a basic idea of where it was going. And then, of course, the four holes where I was glad to just get the ball on the field (though one of these holes – thanks to surprisingly good contact and a stiff breeze – resulted in a shot parked in the right field counter and off the fence, That’s right – I hit one off the wall at Hadlock Field).

All told, a 30. Three over par. Not great, but far better than I had dared hope. I was crossing my fingers for not terrible and hoping for the best. More often than not, it worked. I had a lovely time.

Safety protocols meant that there would never be more than nine golfers on the course. When I was there, it was even fewer – maybe three? There was someone just finishing when I started and two behind me – one started when I was about halfway and the other popped in just as I was leaving.

(It should be noted that I have strong feelings about safety with regards to the pandemic and admit to having some misgivings about participating in this event. I have extremely high expectations with regards to our responsibilities to each other in this time and would have had no problem leaving if they weren’t met. They were. In my time there, I did not see a single person without a mask or failing to maintain proper distancing. The Sea Dogs organization and its employees should be proud of the way this event was run. It was safe AND fun – no easy feat these days.)

And hey – I got to take some swings at Hadlock. Playing a round of golf isn’t the way I’d prefer to spend my time at Hadlock Field, but it was still a pretty good time.

(The Sea Dogs have since announced that they will do a repeat of Hadlinks the first weekend of August, running Aug. 6-9. For more information regarding tee times and other details, visit the team’s website at www.milb.com/portland.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 15 July 2020 15:22

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