Park golf is a fun, easy and active sport that anyone with a club, ball, and tee can play, enjoying sunshine and the outdoors while participating in a little friendly competition based upon stroke count. While the rules are similar to golf’s, different course and equipment standards help to eliminate advantages due to stamina and age making it an activity that all ages can enjoy together.
Park golf is the perfect sport to improve communication within the family, the workplace, and the community as well as an excellent opportunity to meet other park-golf lovers from all over.
Number of Fans
1,300,000 fans all over Japan, 600,000 within Hokkaido (Source: Japan Park Golf Association (NPGA) announcement, Feb 2015).
There are 771 affiliated NPGA groups, and the total number of affiliated members for the respective groups is about 200,000.
The association with the greatest number of registered members is the Sapporo Association at around 10,000.
Based upon my own independent research, most fans of the park golf don’t become official members, playing the game in their own way leading me to believe that the actual number of fans may be greater than what is recorded above.
Number of Courses (as of March 2010)
- Total: 1,252 courses
- Hokkaido: 883
- Other (Japan): 305
- Other (International/10 countries): 64
The Effect of Park Golf
The rules of the game are simple, easy to understand and as a game everyone can enjoy with minimum effort, park golf continues to grow in popularity, gaining recognition in surprising places.
An 18-hole game takes about 1.5 hours while a 36-hole game takes about 3– and since you play while you walk, park golf is low-stress physically but still manages to be a good work-out for those who want to get more exercise.
Park golf courses have also been established for recreational purposes within schools where they provide a place for parents and children as well as students and the local community to communicate while engaging in an enjoyable activity.
In addition, hospitals have also built park golf courses as a physical therapy and rehabilitation treatment.
Park golf has even begun to gain greater appreciation as a “life-time sport” that helps people achieve a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle for themselves not only in Japan, but also in other nearby countries.
- Regional Interaction, Generational Interaction, International Interaction
Not only among the older generations, but also allowing for the harmonious and enjoyable interaction of several generations at once, park golf helps foster a new-type of community.
- Promoting Health
“I sleep better”, “My back and legs have gotten stronger”, “I look forward to meals” are all positive health effects of park golf, and they have the added benefit of reducing medical expenses.
Park golf also has the benefit of promoting environmental protection by putting the outdoors to use. It is also an excellent strategy for increasing greenery.
- Effective use of land
Fields filled with weeds become gathering places filled with smiles, changing into a new communal space for the local community.
- Economic Effect
Through expected increases of special regionalized goods and tourism-related consumption, park-golf will greatly contribute to local economies.
Lure for Japanese Tourists and International Exchange
2012 is said to be the beginning of the LCC within Japan. With fewer customers due to the poor economy, increased costs associated with flights due to rising gasoline prices and cheaper flights being offered by foreign airlines’ code-sharing, Japanese airline companies have found themselves in bad shape.
With that in mind, the less-pricey airline that JAL, ANA, and other major Japanese air companies have invested in began providing a number of cheaper flights for customers looking for easier international travel to a number of surrounding Asian countries. In addition, the number of Japanese retirees moving to such countries due to lower living costs has increased, recently becoming a topic of interest within Japanese news. Because of this, it is predicted that long-term travel directed towards senior citizens will grow, and sports like park golf that don’t require a lot of equipment have great potential.
Also, we feel that this will increase international communication with local lovers of the sport. In fact, once a year, the city of Kenpuchi, Hokkaido which has a sister-city relationship with Palcamayo, Peru invites the Peruvian ambassador to a “Peru Friendship Park Golf Tournament”, demonstrating park golf’s effectiveness as a method of international exchange.