Although Yolf has only been on the market for a couple of months, you’re not imagining things if it sounds familiar to you. Pete Gubany invented the game, and if it wasn’t for the sales help of his friend Terry Pullaro, it might never have made it to market. With several thousand games sold, the game was wildly popular, says Bob Ament, the company’s ‘caddy.’
A series of family tragedies caused Gubany to close down his original operations, and it was more than a decade before the popular game would be resurrected. A version of backyard golf built for all ages and skill levels, Yolf comes with four balls, four clubs and a choice of six or nine holes. “It’s a wonderful game that brings generations together,” says Ament, adding that it makes a great Father’s Day gift, promising hours of fun as Dad plays with his kids or his friends.
Yolf also is perfect for grandparents to play with their grandchildren, he notes. In fact, it was a trip to Friendship Village that sold Ament on the game. “My mother-in-law is at Friendship Village and I called the activities director, told her I’ve got this new game and asked, Do you have any people who used to play golf who would like to play in the green spaces you have? She called back and said she had four people. By the time we got done, it had turned into 40 people.”
One of the players, Ament says, came in with a ‘grumpy attitude,’ asking How long is this going to take? Ament replied, Can you give me 30 minutes? “He played for an hour and a half before I finally said, You’ve got to give me my club back, I’ve got to go! He’s 92 years old and when he moved from Connecticut he sold his golf clubs because he thought he would never play again,” Ament recalls. “He told me, You’ve just reintroduced golf into my life. I’d be lying if I said I would do this for free, but if it wasn’t for guys like him, it wouldn’t be worth it.”
The high-tech rubber composite ball and solid fiberglass clubs are part of what give the game its professional look and feel, and also makes the game beneficial for core strength, especially in older adults, Ament notes. The solid construction also means that it will last for seasons to come, even with the abuse that kids can put it through. “Pete has a son who plays with his buddies and they are not nice to the clubs,” Ament says. “These things are built to take it.”
Yolf can be played in any way the players imagine, Ament notes. Families with a small backyard can set up just three holes for a smaller game, or they can go to a park and play with all nine holes. ‘One yee yolf’ (or one tee yolf) is one version of the game, where each player tees off from the same spot. Players can create their own rules—say for example, the first tee requires players to hit around the swing set and into the hole with a par 4. Or for a family get-together or holiday party, Ament suggests letting the grass grow longer than usual and mowing fairways in to the grass for a Yolf tournament.
“This is a game for all ages and it’s just fun,” Ament says. “Am I going to find the next Tiger Woods with this game? No. You can learn the rules of golf, the etiquette, and fair play, but it’s not a learning tool for golf. It’s a fun game that all ages and genders can play. I have seven grandkids and the oldest is 14. If I tell her it’s a par 3 hole, she’ll do her best to make it in three. The youngest is 5, and if it takes her 10 to get in the hole, she jumps up and down and screams just like the one who made it in two. It doesn’t matter how old you are.”