Softgolf Has Arrived...Again!

Softgolf is a full swing golf game played with a 4 ½ inch diameter foam ball and 3 large faced golf clubs... a 3 iron, an 8 iron and a putter. The holes are 12 inches in diameter. Because everything is on a larger scale when compared to conventional golf, the coordination is there for almost anyone to hit the ball. On a good hit the ball will travel about 65 yards. The Softgolf holes may range anywhere from 30 yards (par 3) up to 140 yards (par 5)! Anybody from age 4 to 104 can enjoy playing Softgolf, no matter what physical challenges they may have. But Softgolf is for serious golfers as well and the best of the best among novice hopefuls will compete in the World Softgolf Championship every year!


John Reger, President of the North Florida PGA, is helping Softgolf get the recognition it deserves. He is impressed with the way the oversized clubs have the same weight and feel as conventional golf clubs and the way the ball reacts like a regulation ball. He sees Softgolf as a segway for the 70 million people who love the sport of golf but do not play golf, either because they find it too difficult to play or too expensive. He believes Softgolf will attract many non golfers to the sport of golf. At $8.00 for children 12 and under and $10.00 for adults to play a round, it is certainly affordable and people who have never swung a club before are able to make good contact and are not as likely to get frustrated and give up so easily. Softgolf is very forgiving... even on a bad hit the ball will go about 30 or 40 yards.

The concept of Softgolf was developed by Raymond F Baldorossi in 1974 and his wife, Blanche, when their son, Raymond F Baldorossi Jr., was playing golf around the house with a plastic golf ball. Ray Jr. took a practice swing on a 4" souvenir basketball that was lying next to his ball. Immediately after hitting the ball, the father and son looked at each other and read each others minds... The next morning Ray went to work on developing Softgolf. Ray Sr. and Blanche received their first of five patents for it in 1978! It was first played in Delran, NJ where the Softgolf business ran from 1979 to 1988.

Raymond Jr. enhanced Softgolf by developing a more durable ball and making the ball glow in the dark... He also made the holes, flags, tee off markers and score card stands light up with Led lights and 12 volt lithium ion batteries... He has three patents pending. Ray Jr. made the game portable... He designed a portable scorecard stand with a forensic science 12 volt UV flashlight attached to a shovel. With the portability of Softgolf, Ray is able to set Softgolf up at a corporate picnic. He is also able to set up on a daily basis at a regulation golf course at night when most golf courses are closed and generate more revenue for a golf course. He does not use their greens. Because the ball has a limited flight of 65 yards... He can layout about 3 or 4 Softgolf holes on a 400 yard fairway... at the end of the night, Ray breaks down the Softgolf course and places a bucket filled with fairway grass inside of the oversized Softgolf hole. The following morning, conventional golfers can play without noticing any difference in the course.

On November 25,2011, Ray Jr. opened the first Softgolf course in over 20 years at Plantation Palms Golf Club at 23253 Plantation Palms Blvd, Land O' Lakes, Florida. He currently opens on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 PM until 10:00 PM. (the last tee off time is at 9:00)

Steve McDonald, one of three American Indian owners of Plantation Palms golf Club, believes that majority of golf courses should have Softgolf at their facility. "Softgolf is a great way to earn extra revenue at night time when we generally would be closed. We do not have to do anything... Ray and his crew do it all... We also have Softgolfers coming in and buying food and drinks. How sweet is that?"

Right now there are 7 other golf courses that are interested in having Softgolf at their facilities. Ray is in the process of mass producing a newer Softgolf ball that will go 90 yards. The current ball can not be blow molded, so it is cut with a machine made from old washing machine parts, skate board wheels, PVC pipes etc ... after the ball is cut into a sphere, Ray hand drills 80 dimples in to each ball... then he adds 8 layers of paint... hand paints each dimple different colors so the balls can be easily identified at night... and adds 2 or 3 more layers of glow in the dark paint. The whole process takes about an hour and 15 minutes per ball. The new ball will last forever (longer than us) and he can produce it in 5 minutes.

Ray will probably make a lot of money from Softgolf but he says, "To me it's not about the money. My reward is seeing families and friends getting together and having fun. These are hard times we are living in and people are stressed out... Softgolf is a great way to relieve stress. Every time I whack a Softgolf ball I feel better! It's fun to see all the colored balls flying so brightly in the night sky. It's like watching fireworks! And with all the different colored flags and holes it looks like a circus. How can you not have fun?

Opening Softgolf was the right thing to do. It was very popular in Delran, New Jersey during the 80's but it was hard to keep up with. The balls were constantly ripping apart and we spent a lot of time and money making new balls by hand. My dad was determined and I inherited his determination. We never gave up looking for a more durable ball.  We experimented with many different foams. My dad passed away 4 years ago but 3 years before he passed away I found the perfect foam. The problem is it only came one inch thick. I glued several sheets of it together and we cut a few balls with the sample. When I hit it and it went 85 yards... we could not believe it. I tried my best to destroy it but it's virtually indestructible. Maybe some cryptonite will break it but I have not tried that yet. I promised dad before he died that I would get Softgolf going again. My father's legacy lives on. I am sure he is smiling in Softgolf heaven. His dream was to have a venue where families could afford inexpensive, fun entertainment and I plan to make his dream come true!"    

 

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