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Home19th HOLEFrom Tee to Goal: The Rise of American Footgolf

From Tee to Goal: The Rise of American Footgolf

By Lt Col Md Kamrul Hassan, psc (Retd)

When most people think of golf, they imagine a leisurely day spent on a meticulously-manicured course, punctuated by the occasional swing of a club and a sip of an ice-cold beverage. Soccer, on the other hand, is a fast-paced and exciting sport that requires skill, strategy, and agility. But what happens when you combine the two? You get American footgolf, a unique and growing sport that’s taking the country by storm.
In recent years, American footgolf has become a popular and beloved pastime for people of all ages and abilities. The sport is a unique combination of soccer and golf, with players kicking a soccer ball instead of hitting a golf ball with a club. In this article, we’ll dive into the history, rules, and culture of American footgolf, and explore what makes this quirky sport so much fun.

History of American Footgolf
The origins of footgolf can be traced back to the Netherlands in the early 2000s, where it was known as “Voetgolf.” The sport quickly gained popularity throughout Europe, and in 2009, the European Footgolf Association was founded. The game continued to spread across the continent, and in 2012, the first Footgolf World Cup was held in Hungary.
Footgolf eventually made its way to the United States, where it quickly gained popularity. In 2011, the American FootGolf League (AFGL) was founded, and by 2012, there were more than 100 footgolf courses in the United States. Today, there are thousands of footgolf courses all over the world, with players of all ages and abilities enjoying this unique and exciting sport.

Rules of American Footgolf
The rules of American footgolf are similar to those of traditional golf. The game can be played individually or in teams of up to four players. The objective of the game is to complete a course of 9 or 18 holes in as few kicks as possible. The holes are typically 21 inches in diameter and can be located anywhere on the course, including fairways, roughs, and greens.
At the start of each hole, players must kick the ball from the starting point and try to get it into the hole in as few kicks as possible. The player with the fewest shots at the end of the game is the winner. The ball must be played from where it comes to rest after each kick, and the player must wait for the ball to come to a complete stop before taking the next shot. Players must also avoid hitting other players’ balls on the course.
There are certain rules that must be followed when playing American footgolf. For example, players must wear appropriate attire, such as golf or athletic shoes, and must not wear cleats. Players must also refrain from damaging the course or interfering with other players’ shots. In addition, players must follow golf etiquette and be respectful of other players on the course.

Equipment Needed for American Footgolf
To play American footgolf, you’ll need a few key pieces of equipment. First and foremost, you’ll need a soccer ball. The ball should be regulatedin size and weight and should be able to withstand repeated kicks without losing its shape.
You’ll also need appropriate footwear. While you can technically play footgolf in any kind of shoes, it’s recommended that you wear golf or athletic shoes that provide good traction and support. Avoid wearing cleats, as they can damage the course and interfere with other players’ shots.
Finally, you’ll need to find a footgolf course to play on. While some golf courses allow footgolf play, others have designated footgolf courses. You can search for courses near you on the AFGL website, or by doing a quick Google search.

Culture of American Footgolf
American footgolf has developed its own unique culture over the years, with players and fans alike embracing the fun and quirky nature of the sport. Footgolf tournaments often feature music, food, and drinks, and players are encouraged to have fun and let loose while they play.
One of the most appealing aspects of Footgolfis its inclusivity. Unlike traditional golf, footgolf requires no previous experience or special equipment. Anyone can play, regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability. This inclusivity has helped Footgolf become a popular activity for families, corporate events, and team-building exercises.
Another unique aspect of American Footgolf is the sense of community it fosters. Footgolfers often come from all walks of life, but share a common love for the sport. This shared passion can lead to new friendships, connections, and even business opportunities. Many foot golfers also participate in charity events and fundraisers, using their love for the sport to give back to their communities.

Great American Footgolfers
While American footgolf may not have the same level of fame or fortune as traditional golf, there are still many skilled and talented foot golfers in the United States. Some of the most well-known American foot golfers include:
1.Roberto Balestrini: Considered by many to be the best foot golfer in the United States, Balestrini has won multiple national and international titles, and has represented the United States in multiple Footgolf World Cups.
2. Katie Ton: A rising star in the world of footgolf, Ton has won multiple national and international titles, including the 2020 Women’s U.S. Footgolf Open.
3. Jarrod Cogswell: A former professional soccer player, Cogswell has transitioned his skills to footgolf and has become one of the top players in the United States. He has won multiple national and international titles and has represented the United States in multiple Footgolf World Cups.

In conclusion, American footgolf is a unique and exciting sport that combines the best aspects of soccer and golf. Its inclusivity, sense of community, and challenging gameplay make it an attractive activity for people of all ages and skill levels. With a growing number of courses and events across the United States, American footgolf is poised to become a popular and enduring sport for years to come. As Roberto Balestrini says, “Footgolf is more than just a game, it’s a way to connect with others and enjoy the beauty of nature. It’s a sport that anyone can play and enjoy, regardless of their background or experience. That’s what makes it so special.”

-The writer is an Ex-Member Secretary, Army Golf Club

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