Petco Park transformed into golf course

Club partners with Callaway to host The Links event

Petco Park transformed into golf course

SAN DIEGO -- Routinely rated among baseball's best ballparks, Petco Park will spend the next week serving as the Majors' best golf course instead.

For the second consecutive year, Petco Park is playing host to "The Links," a nine-hole golf course set up inside the stadium. Tee boxes are spread throughout four levels of the ballpark, while greens are located on the field.

The Padres partnered with Callaway Golf to design the course and event, which runs through Tuesday. The goal, they said, was to create an enjoyable, yet challenging golf experience.

"It's important that people leave here having a good experience playing golf at Petco Park, but also having a true, actual golf experience," said Padres chief marketing officer Wayne Partello. "... So you want to build some challenges into it and make sure that people leave The Links at Petco Park, knowing they had a great experience overall."

Before the event began, the Padres had already sold out all public tee times, which run from Thursday morning through Tuesday night. In total, Petco Park will host 684 tee times for 2,736 golfers -- almost double the size of the 2015 edition, which saw 1,500 participants.

The course begins at home plate with a shot to a green in straightaway center field. It progresses throughout the stadium as the elevation increases, and it closes on top of the Western Metal Supply Co. building.

"As far as the design goes, it's legitimate, real golf course architecture," said Nathan Adelman, a marketing manager for Callaway. "We've added a fourth elevation this year, so you're getting to see the field from a bunch of different elevations, which is a nice added touch."

The Padres and Callaway also altered the course drastically from last year's edition, moving from four total greens to seven, and adjusting the locations for the tee boxes.

"If you played here last year, you'll come back and have a different experience," Partello said.

The making of the course was a collaborative effort, with the Padres choosing tee placements, and Callaway taking those parameters and setting up the holes and greens.

The course doesn't include putting -- although there's a putting station after the ninth hole. It's merely one score per hole based on where the golfer's closest shot lands. And this year, the shots are a bit trickier -- with more elevation changes and longer distances.

"That was the cool part -- being able to hit full golf shots in a Major League stadium," Adelman said. "And that was the feedback that we got last year, people wanted more full shots instead of short shots. So this year we have some longer shots, and we were able to stretch it out, make it more complete golf."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.