Getting their kicks: Goodman Business students help alumnus launch new FootGolf course

Brock University photo – Brock Golf Course owner Andrew Julie looks on as his daughters, Clara and Stacey, play on the new FootGolf course set to open July 1.

Brock University press release – When Brock University alumnus Andrew Julie (MBA ’05) and his wife Jen took over the Brock Golf Course (no affiliation to the university) three years ago, they wondered how they might grow the business.

They found an answer just down Merrittville Highway, on the campus of his alma mater.

Andrew became a client of students at Brock University’s Goodman School of Business — specifically, of the Goodman Accounting Students’ Association — in the Goodman Consulting Competition, a six-week challenge where students hone their consulting skills while bringing value to an organization.

As a result of that fateful collaboration, this weekend Andrew and Jen will officially open a FootGolf course, joining a new recreational activity whose popularity is spreading across Canada.

FootGolf combines soccer and golf. Players basically use golf rules while kicking a soccer ball towards a hole — a big hole — on what otherwise looks like a golf course.

Brock University photo – Brock Golf Course owners Jen and Andrew Julie.

Andrew doesn’t hesitate to say the idea was a direct result of the Goodman competition. He provided a budget to work with, and students came up with creative but feasible possibilities for making the best use of what was then a 27-hole golf course.

“We were trying to figure out what to do with the third nine, and the idea to open a FootGolf course came out of a brainstorming session with one of the groups of students,” said Andrew.

“I looked at my wife, and a light bulb came on.”

Work soon began to convert nine holes of golf to nine holes of FootGolf. As a pure business growth strategy, the Julies hope that having the FootGalf facility alongside their 18-hole golf course “will help introduce people to golf even though they may not be golfers yet.”

Goodman Business student Mikayla Zolis, who was on the competition’s winning team, says the experience was a lesson on how to communicate effectively with a consulting client. The students had to conduct stringent analyses to support presentations on the proposal’s feasibility and expected return on investment.

Zolis said the experience develops skills that are invaluable as students prepare to leave the campus and enter the workforce.

“We had more creative liberties,” said Zolis. “We had to look at all the different challenges that an organization faces when it wants to grow.”

This is an example of experiential learning opportunities where Brock students get to take on learning partnerships with industries, not-for-profit organizations or small businesses. In this competition, students interact with a client to learn about their particular business and better understand its needs.

Brock FootGolf officially opens to the public at 7 a.m. this Saturday, July 1.

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