Miniature golf and disc golf have paved the way for the latest variation on the historic pastime: FootGolf.
Largo (Fla.) Golf Course introduced the hybrid sport to over 400 guests at its inaugural FootGolf Open House, held the weekend of October 5. The free event included complimentary food and drinks, giveaways, and a chance for players of all ages and skill levels to kick through the course.
“It’s like the game of golf, only played with a soccer ball,” said Jason Wilson, the golf course’s supervisor, to the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times before the event. “It’s pretty exciting. We’re the eighth certified FootGolf course in the nation, the second in Florida and first in Tampa Bay.”
The game is played using a regulation No. 5 soccer ball on a golf course where 21-inch diameter holes, 14 inches deep, have been carved into the turf. Players tee off and aim for the holes marked with red flags, kicking their way through the 9- or 18-hole course with as few shots as possible. The lowest score wins, the Times reported.
On the second day of the event, the club hosted a tournament that attracted 66 FootGolfers from around the state.
“They were a little more serious about the game than [those who attended] the Open House,” Wilson noted after the event. “It showed us the two different markets.”
FootGolf is offered during the winter months—the club’s busy season—on weekends. Since the event, Largo GC has averaged about 40 players each day, for 80 per weekend.
The game can be played in about an hour and 15 minutes for nine holes, making for quick rounds without clubs to change.
FootGolfers and traditional golfers play the course at the same time—but Wilson says co-mingling has not been a problem. Golf course rangers are on hand, but are no more active than they were before FootGolf was established, Wilson says.
Still, FootGolfers must follow golf etiquette, which Wilson admits has been one of the most challenging aspects of the new program.
“If the FootGolfers have golfed before, there’s no problem,” Wilson says. “But those who haven’t need to be taught that they can’t kick into a golfer or the next group, and that they have to be quiet.”