Different kind of birdies at Woodpeckers’ ‘nest’

"The Links at Segra Stadium" is a virtual golf event designed to help the Fayetteville Woodpeckers baseball team reconnect with their fans after a season cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic

The outfield at Segra Stadium will be turned into a virtual golf course for a promotion this weekend.

Segra Stadium in Fayetteville is the home of a minor league baseball team known as the Woodpeckers. This weekend, a different flock of birdies will be flying around the grounds of the two-year-old ballpark.

“The Links at Segra Stadium” is a virtual golf event designed to help the team reconnect with its fans after a season canceled by the coronavirus pandemic while also allowing players of all ages and abilities to test their skills on a nine-hole target-style course laid out around the outfield grass.

“This isn’t something we’d normally have thought about, but with COVID, it’s given us an opportunity to grab some ingenuity,” said Victoria Huggins, community and media relations manager for the Houston Astros’ Class A affiliate. “Ever since we understood our season was canceled, our team has been working diligently to find safe ways to bring fans back into the home nest.

“Now that we’re into Phase 3, we thought this was the perfect way for people to enjoy the beautiful views of the stadium and the field, but enjoying a different experience than they’re used to. It’s the first surprise of our many plans to come.”

The concept of the event is similar to those used by Drive Shack and Topgolf.

Nine “greens” will be marked with spray paint around the outfield with flags cut into each.  Golfers will take aim at them from tee box platforms located strategically around the Segra Stadium concourse. Each “hole” will be color-coded so that players know which ones they are aiming at.

The longest hole is 130 yards.

Scoring will be done on a point system — one for balls hit into a small circle painted around the hold, two for those landing within a 6-foot diameter around the hole, three for getting it on the “green,” four for putting it on the field outside the green and five for balls that end up in the stands or anywhere else out of the field of play.

Each player will get three shots per hole. As is the case in actual golf, the lowest score wins.

“I was out there with my co-workers the other day testing it out, and it is so cool,” Huggins said.

Because the team doesn’t have the same kind of technology as Drive Shack or Topgolf, members of the Woodpeckers’ staff will be stationed on the field to keep score while others will serve as caddies for the groups of four whose tee times have been spaced far enough to maintain social distancing.

Huggins said that at least 40 teams have already signed up to play with tee times still available throughout the weekend. The cost is $100 per group and players are advised to bring their own clubs. Food and drinks will be provided.

In addition to the target golf event for the adults, the Woodpeckers are also setting up a miniature golf course for younger players in the team’s batting cage.

“We’ve had a really wonderful response so far,” Huggins said. “We’re highly excited about this. In speaking with our events manager, who’s been communicating with all the team captains, we have people coming from Pinehurst, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Robeson County. It’s been really cool to see that this is not just a Fayetteville experience.”

If you go

  • Tee times are available from 12:30 p.m. Friday through 6 p.m. Sunday
  • Registration is $100 per group of four
  • Food and drinks can be preordered
  • Players must bring their own clubs
  • Face masks are required
  • To register, call 910-813-7464 or book a tee time online.