The Coast News Group

Jay Paris: Golf is in full swing at Petco Park

The tee shot left the club, heading in the wrong direction. But the erratic golf ball didn’t hit sand, rough or water.

Instead it clanked around the Petco Park field box seats — and what in the name of “Caddyshack” is going on here?

“It’s a unique thing,’’ said Callaway’s Nate Adelman. “Unless you live in San Diego, you can’t do this at your local ballpark.’’

The marriage of baseball and golf is on full display this week, thanks to The Links at Petco Park. Nine holes are placed on the expansive field, with golfers taking aim at various locations.

The first tee, of course, is at home plate. From there those bringing a club back will do so from the top deck, the bleachers, the Western Metal Supply building and other spots inside the Padres’ digs.

“The round was a lot of fun,’’ said Jim Glass, an Encinitas resident. “Golfing at Petco is really fantastic and a different experience.’’

All because of Adelman, a marketing whiz at Callaway, which is based in Carlsbad. The former Johns Hopkins University baseball player turned to golf years ago and this made him the perfect person to construct the layout. It’s his second year of being the course architect and his work is well done.

“We’ve added a lot from last year,’’ said Adelman, an Encinitas resident. “We’ve added seven greens instead of four and the tee boxes are at four different elevations And we added the ninth island green, which is really a tough shot.’’

It’s only 137 yards, but that doesn’t include the degree of difficulty. Try hitting the green that makes many think of No. 17 at Sawgrass from atop a stand on the Western Metal Supply building.

The Padres approached Adelman two years ago to turn Petco Park into Petco National Golf Club. They picked the right man as Adelman constructed a layout with care and a carefree attitude.

“That sounds cool,’’ I said. “But what do you mean? They said, ‘We don’t know. That is where you come in.’ I didn’t know if we were going to do a mini-putt course or a short course. But we made it so you can hit full shots, real golf shots. It’s as authentic as golf can be,” Adelman said.

Uh, with some zany stuff thrown in.

One hole comes with a fan blowing 50 miles-per-hour into the golfer’s face, with his partner spraying him with water.

At another hole you have to clear a pond filled with ducks. That the ducks were of the plastic variety didn’t matter.

“We believe we are providing golfers with an experience that they can’t get anywhere else,’’ Adelman said. “And at Callaway we hope that this would be a super cool golf experience and provide something that is really, really memorable.’’

That it does and the word is out.

Adelman, 30, has been contacted by about 20 other sports organizations — NFL, NBA, racetracks — to bring golf to their venue.

But it all started at Petco, with a North County company and a North County resident.

“There are some other people thinking about doing it,’’ Adelman said. “But we’re trying to stay a step ahead of the competition.”

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected] Read his new book, “Game of My Life Chargers” which is available at local         book stores.