Drew Swenson got into his stance and swung. The ball sailed to deep center field, but there was no Jacoby Ellsbury or Jackie Bradley Jr. there to run it down.

The ball – a golf ball – landed safely on the “green,” just a few feet from the pin.

Welcome to “Hadlinks.”

With Hadlock Field empty during this baseball season, the Portland Sea Dogs staff have prepared the field for a different sport – target golf. The four-day event began Thursday and lasts through Sunday, with all 200 tee times sold out, at $30 each.

“Fantastic. Very enjoyable,” said Swenson, of Falmouth. “It was nice to get out after the lockdown and do something fun.”

Swenson was one of 40 golfers Thursday afternoon and evening who hit tee shots from the seating areas onto the outfield grass.


“It’s great to have people in the ballpark,” Sea Dogs President and General Manager Geoff Iacuessa said as he walked through the stands, greeting golfers and longtime ushers who were manning the tee platforms.

Hadlock has housed the Sea Dogs’ Double-A baseball team since 1994. With the minor league season canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, teams have looked for creative ways to use their stadiums.

The Sea Dogs began a takeout service from Hadlock’s concession stand. Next came this weekend’s target golf, the first event held inside the stadium.

“When I saw that, I made a joke about it,” said Mark Lannon of Falmouth. “Then my wife gave it to me as a present for Father’s Day.”

Lannon asked Swenson to join him.

“It sounded fun to me,” Swenson said. “I used to be a season ticket holder when our kids were younger. This was worth coming back.”


Golfers hit shots with irons from nine platforms, staged in front of the skyboxes – from the No. 1 tee at the Youkilis Box overlooking left field, around to the No. 9 tee at the Ganley Box facing the first-base line. After the first tee, golfers could stop to pick up a beverage.

Golfers did not go onto the field, which featured nine pins in the outfield. Each pin had a circle (6 feet in diameter) drawn around it, and a wider white boundary indicating the “green.”  Golfers took two shots from each tee; their score depending on where the balls landed.

While 18 tee shots may amount to something less than what golfers would hit at a driving range, Hadlock Field was the draw.

“Definitely,” said Victoria Laurendeau of South Portland, who played with her husband, Gordon. “It’s a cool way to see the ballpark and do something a little different. Just makes it a little more exciting to hit it where the Sea Dogs play. It was awesome … a great July summer day.”

Golfers stayed 6 feet apart, with hand cleanser at every tee. Holes ranged from 104 to 145 yards, factoring in the downhill slope.

“It’s unusual to do something like this,” said Swenson, who referenced the Sugarloaf Golf Club’s famous 11th hole (and its 125-foot drop) as an example. “There is a big elevation change. It’s different and a lot of fun.”

And it put Hadlock to use.

“It isn’t baseball, but it has provided an opportunity to try something new and different, and one that we were able to be a little creative with,” said Hadlock Field groundskeeper Jason Cooke, whose crew has continued to work on the turf even though no one has been using it. “In the absence of baseball, it was great to finally prepare the field for an event.  We always take pride in presenting our park.”

Iacuessa said there are tentative plans to host more target golf in August.

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