FootGolf = soccer meets golf. It sounds crazier than it actually is. For Father’s Day, my family decided to give it a try. As a life-long golfer, I wasn’t sure about this. It’s a game that started in Spain, is growing in popularity, has its own association and is getting more acceptance from the golf industry trying to replace lost revenue.
The concept is simple … it is a game played on a golf course, but instead of clubs and golf balls, you simply have one soccer ball and you kick it around the course to get in the enlarged holes. For footgolf, you use all the same golf principles such as shot placement, distance, touch and course management. Lowest score wins.
My wife, 15-year-old daughter and 11-year-old daughter gave it a shot. The 11-year-old is the only soccer player among the group. The rest of us were inspired by the U.S. Open golf tournament and World Cup going on simultaneously so this seemed perfect. (Well, my 15-year-old was more inspired by wanting to drive the cart for the first time to be honest.)
We played at Springs Ranch Golf Course in Colorado Springs, Colo., and they were extremely friendly and accommodating both on the phone in advance and on-site. I half expected them to roll their eyes a bit, but that wasn’t the case at all. They make footgolf available after 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday only for $10 per person, plus a modest cart fee of about $10.
As we checked in, I asked the guy at the pro shop about how this was being received with the golf culture. A little self-conscious and unsure about this myself, I asked if it was a pain in the ass for the course or a good thing?
“If it was a pain in the ass we wouldn’t be doing it,” he said. Then he handed us a 1-sheeter on the rules, a map and sent us on our way with a smile. He even offered us a soccer ball, but we brought our own.
I have never played soccer. In fact, my technique is old school, square toe style with some inspiration from Tom Dempsey. That technique doesn’t work as well with my Asics. You wear either regular tennis shoes or indoor soccer shoes. No cleats and no walking on the greens.
In footgolf, you play all the same hazards as the regular golf course, such as bunkers. The course was set up so you didn’t ever have to kick over water. If you did find water, well, I guess you would just wait for the tide to come in.
At the end of our round, I asked the guy at the pro shop how many people are playing footgolf. He said, “Sometimes 30, sometimes two. It just varies.”
I won’t be giving up golf anytime soon, but this was sure a fun time with the family. For my 11-year-old, we started losing her attention span at the 1 1/2 hour mark and she started doing cartwheels in the fairway. If we were playing golf, I would have been scolding her, but in footgolf it seemed more acceptable for some reason.
For the golf course, it was an extra $40 of revenue during an otherwise quiet time period. For the 19th Hole, it could mean more food & beverage business and could even make a golf course less intimidating to come out and try regular golf for some.
We would do this again as a family outing and even consider it for a team-building activity for work colleagues. Special thanks again to Springs Ranch for being so welcoming and making a great first-time experience.
As for our first adventure into footgolf, count us in.