Is Footgolf the game of the future?

Take the basic elements of golf, but imagine propelling a football into a much larger hole with your foot, rather than a golfball with a club.

In a nutshell, you have footgolf. A hybrid game which brings golf to a brand new demographic and which utilises a completely different set of skills.

Footgolf

Footgolf has actually been around many years but struggled to take off initially, however over the past couple of years, the game has garnered great support both in the UK and the United States in particular.

In the UK former professional footballer John Hartson’s foundation Grab Life by the Balls (a testicular cancer charity) has a partnership with the United Kingdom Footgolf Association and this, combined with a vast increase in the number of courses available in the UK, is driving the burgeoning popularity of the game.

Footgolf is played on a golf course layout, though the holes tend to be slightly shorter and the holes much bigger. A player tees off by kicking the ball from the tee box and they have to get the ball in the hole in as few a kicks as possible. Simple.

Indeed, its simplicity is part of the games appeal. There’s no vastly expensive equipment needed to play the game. All you need is yourself and a football (many of which are available for hire at a venue if you don’t want to play with your own).

Furthermore, because the action of kicking a ball is essentially much simpler than hitting  a golf ball, it means that this is also a game that is great for people of all ages to play in the same group.

Real Madrid football team and golf players

How popular is this hybrid sport? Well in the UK alone, there are now 52 courses across the length and breadth of England and Wales offering the  chance to play, with one course based in Scotland.

The courses feature all the same hazards and features that you would find on a typical golf course, this includes bunkers, water hazards and much more. The game can be played over 9 or 18-holes and has grown so much in popularity that there are now ranking events played throughout the year across the UK and a ranking system to highlight the best players.

Currently, Ben Clarke leads the UK rankings with a total of 435 ranking points from a grand total of 19 tournaments played.

A typical round of footgolf can cost roughly the same as a round of golf at your local municipal course, with prices of around £15 about the typical price for 18 holes, and about half that for children. Prices are obviously cheaper for 9-hole courses (though you can usually elect to play the nine-holes twice to get a full 18-holes in).

What I particularly like about the new era for footgolf is that the emphasis is still very much on the etiquette of golf. In the same way football teams wear kits, footgolf players have adopted golfwear as their predominant kit, but the emphasis is on bright and colourful (some would say, garish) patterns.

Of course, there are those who would shudder at the thought of a gaggle of footballers using their precious local course with a football, but they are missing a point. Footgolf is offering people a way to enjoy golf courses in a different way to golf and as such, it has opened up a brand new market for golf clubs willing to make the small adjustments they need on the course (of course, you would not place a thundering great hole on a golf green, instead a footgolf green is usually cut somewhere off to the side).

keep-calm-and-play-footgolf-2

This then creates a dual-purpose course, where footgolfers and traditional golfers can play, but which gives the club another vital source of income.

However, it is important to note that it is not just in the UK that footgolf is taking off. There are a growing number of courses in America and Europe, there’s also courses in South America too. Indeed, you can head off to Portugal this November with the UK Footgolf Association to participate in the Portuguese Footgolf Open.

What do you think? Is footgolf merely a gimmick that will slowly fade over time, or do you think that this is a way golf courses could appeal to a new type of customer? Would golfers accept footgolfers on your course?

Let us know below!

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