Soccer Golf is a recently developed sport that has gained popularity since its inception in 2008. It’s also popularly known as Footgolf, and as the name suggests, it combines the mechanics of two extremely popular sports – Association Football and Golf.
Soccer Golf is played similarly to golf, but it features a soccer ball instead of a golf ball, and players are supposed to kick the ball rather than hit it with a club.
Furthermore, the typical golf course hole is replaced by a large cup (or a hole). The diameter of the golf cup measures 50cm – 52cm (20.5 inches) in diameter and 28cm (11 inches) in depth. Regulatory number 5 soccer balls are used to play the game.
The game is played on traditional golf courses or specifically built soccer ball courses. However, in most cases, courses used for a soccer ball golf course are much smaller. The primary aim of the game is to put the soccer ball inside the hole in as few shots as possible. Typically, par is five shots or fewer.
The History Of Soccer Golf
The history of modern soccer golf is very recent. However, similar games have been played under different names in the past. For example, Codeball was once such a game. This game also combined the aesthetics of golf and soccer, and it was quite a popular sport in the United States in the 1930s.
However, modern Footgolf only came into existence in 2008. The game was created in the Netherlands by Bas Korsten & Michael Jansen. The inspiration for the sport came from Korsten’s brother Willem Korsten, a professional soccer player.
Willem played for several major soccer clubs in his soccer career, such as N.E.C., Vitesse, Leeds United, and Tottenham Hotspur.
During his time at Tottenham Hotspurs, 1999-2001, Willem and his teammates would conclude their training sessions by transporting soccer balls from the training grounds to the changing rooms using only their feet/kicks. The aim was to use as few kicks as possible to get those soccer balls to dressing rooms.
First FootGolf Tournament
Korsten and Jansen also organised the first soccer golf tournament, named Nederlandse Kampioenschap FootGolf, at Het Rijk van Nijmegen Golf Course on 6th September, 2009. This tournament was played by a mix of Dutch and Belgian ex-professional soccer players and was even broadcast on the RTL7 TV channel.
In the next few years, the sport gained popularity in many other countries. In the U.S., American FootGolf League was established in 2011. In June 2012, three countries combined to form the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG).
The first golf soccer World Cup was also held in the same year. FIFG created the first official rulebook in 2013. The latest rulebook was approved during the World Cup in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2018.
Where Is It Played?
Currently, FIFG boasts 33 member nations. The list of member nations can be found on FIFG’s official website.
The sport is vastly popular in European and North American countries, but it is catching up in popularity in South American and Asian nations. For example, the last two winners of the individual men’s event at the World Cup have come from Argentina.
In the U.S., American FootGolf League (AFGL) is the main governing body for the sport. In addition, AFGL is recognized by the National Golf Courses Owners Association (NGCOA). Hence, several U.S. traditional Golf Courses allow the sport of soccer golf. In fact, it has been credited with financially helping a lot of golf courses in the United States.
Soccer Golf Near Me
Soccer golf enthusiasts in the U.S. can find the nearest courses with the help of this link. Furthermore, one can also search ‘soccer golf’ or ‘footgolf’ in Google Maps for the closest courses. There are more than 170 AFGL-recognized courses in the U.S., spread over 35 states.
The state of California alone has more than 25 courses that allow you to play footgolf. However, one must remember that some traditional golf courses might allow members to play only during specific hours with specific footgolf tee times.
How Long Does It Take?
The duration of a soccer golf game depends on several factors such as the size of the course, the pace of play, the quality of players, etc. However, a game is comparatively quicker than a game of traditional golf.
A game played on a course with standard nine holes should take 60-90 minutes, and a game on the 18-hole course should last anywhere from 2 to 2.5 hours.
Dress Code, Attire, And Etiquette
The dress code for foot soccer golf largely resembles the dress code for traditional golf. Participants should wear golf-style polo t-shirts accompanied by golf-style shorts with belt loops and pockets. Other kinds of shorts and jeans are not allowed.
Furthermore, none of the attire should bear any non-affiliated logos. Women players can also wear golf-style skirts instead of shorts.
Only knee-high socks are permitted, and mid-calf or ankle socks are not allowed. Regarding footwear, shoes with cleats are not allowed, and players should only wear turf or indoor soccer shoes. All kinds of golf caps/hats are also permitted.
Soccer Golf Rules
Soccer rules are very much like traditional golf rules with a few modifications. Footgolf begins with the soccer ball placed in the starting zone called the ‘teeing zone.’ The game’s primary goal is to put the ball in the hole with as few kicks as possible. Usually, soccer golf courses have 9 or 18 holes.
The standard range of kicks (defined as ‘par’) needed to finish a hole is 3 to 5.
Like in Golf, players must deal with obstacles such as bunkers, water bodies, etc., on their way to a hole. Unlike traditional golf, for winning a hole, a player is awarded a solitary goal. This method is also described as the ‘Win a hole, score a Goal’ style of play.
For example, if at the end of an 18-hole game, Player A has won 8 holes and Player B has won 6 holes, then Player A would win the match 8-6.
The general penalty for breaking any rule in a game of footgolf is +1 kick. Please check out this link for the rest of the regulations and codes of conduct.
Soccer Golf Tips
In terms of skills, soccer golf borrows a lot from soccer. If you are good at soccer, you are likely to be good at footgolf too. The most desirable skills are the ability to kick the soccer ball golf balls with power and do so with control and direction.
Here are some essential tips that can improve your performance when you play footgolf:
- Always kick the ball with laces. Kicking the ball with laces provides more power and control on your kicks.
- It’s essential to have a mental picture of the course. Always know the location of the hole and be aware of all hazards present on the course.
- Try to play with the wind. It’s crucial to be able to use the wind to your advantage while kicking the soccer ball.
- The ability to kick with both feet can prove very useful in a game of soccer golf.
Must Read: Discover the 7 variations of soccer that people with a disability can continue to play a modified game of soccer.
American Footgolf Federation
Soccer golf was born in 2009, but it only made its debut in the U.S. by 2011. The credit for introducing the sport to the U.S. audience goes to American FootGolf League.
In 2012, the AFGL was recognized by FIFG as the governing body of the sport in the U.S. In 2018, American FootGolf Federation was established as a 501 c3 non-profit, and it replaced AFGL as the governing body in the U.S.
Currently, AFGF is responsible for promoting and developing the sport in the country, both at the amateur and professional levels. Currently, AFGL is the governing body of the sport in the U.S., and FIFG also recognizes it.
American Footgolf League
American FootGolf League is the biggest soccer golf league in the United States. AFGL was responsible for introducing the game to the U.S. in 2011. Until the formation of AFGF, it was the leading governing body for the sport in the country.
Currently, AFGL organizes competitive tournaments across the U.S. for top soccer golf professionals. The AFGL FootGolf Tour consists of tournaments that attract the top players. The season generally starts in March every year and ends in November-December.
Several tournaments on the American FootGolf League tour are also included in FIFG World Tour. AFGL also maintains rankings for both men’s and women’s divisions.
Furthermore, several soccer golf clubs have come up in the USA., and they function under AFGL’s umbrella. AFGL tournaments usually have a club-level competition as part of their tournaments too. AFGL plans to launch the Major League FootGolf in the United States in 2022.
The American Footgolf League is hosting the U.S National Championship at the Peach and Sunshine Course at Jack Hill State Park, Georgia, between 14 – 16th October 2022. Every day, individual rounds will be played in the morning, and FootGolf Club rounds in the afternoon.
Soccer Golf World Cup
The first soccer golf World Cup was held in Hungary in 2012. Players from eight countries participated, and Bela Lengyel of Hungary won the tournament.
Argentina hosted the second edition of the international footgolf World Cup in January 2016. Christian Otero of Argentina won the individual event, and the United States claimed the gold medal in the team event. Two hundred and thirty players from 26 countries participated in this tournament.
The third edition took place in Marrakech, Morocco, in December 2018. Matias Perrone from Argentina won the men’s event, and Sophie Brown from the United Kingdom claimed the women’s competition. France claimed the first position in the team event, followed by the U.K. and the U.S.A. in second and third positions.
The next World Cup was scheduled in Japan in 2020 but was canceled due to COVID-19.
The next Soccer Golf is set to take place in Orlando, the USA, in 2023. The dates are May 27th – June 6th. The Footgolf World Cup will be played on the amazing Grand Cypress Golf Course, a 6,403-yard course near Disney. The field size is limited to 1,000 participants.
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!