Kick a Birdie
FootGolf at Stonebridge
If your house is anything like mine, you mark the seasons more by the change in the sports your kids are playing than by the change in the weather. Over the years I have spent countless, albeit happy, hours watching swimming, soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, football (both flag and tackle), basketball, volleyball and golf. To be honest, I felt like I had seen and heard of just about every sport that exists. That was until I read on a college friend’s Facebook page that she had spent the day watching her boys play FootGolf. I quickly Googled the term, and less than a minute later was learning about a sport quickly spreading across America. Allow me to introduce you to a new, fun sport: FootGolf.
FootGolf is a sport that quite simply combines soccer and golf. It is played on a golf course, but with soccer balls. Rules of the game mimic that of golf much more so than soccer. Players are trying to get their soccer ball into a 21-inch hole marked by a flagpole in as few kicks as possible. Just like in golf, the lowest score wins. Each hole has a number of kicks that determine par, and players can earn birdies and bogies as they can in golf. Players tee off from the traditional place on the tee box, but do so by kicking their soccer ball.
It is difficult to attribute the birth of FootGolf to any one particular place or person. Early versions of the game were being played in Europe in 2006 and the first FootGolf tournament was played in the Netherlands in ’08. In the following years FootGolf migrated to South America and landed in the United States in ’11. The year ’14 was an important one for FootGolf in America; it was a time of tremendous growth, with approximately 20 FootGolf courses in February ’14 increasing to almost 300 courses by October of the same year. It was also the year the USFGA, The United States FootGolf Association, was formed, providing a nonprofit organization to oversee the growing sport.
While California has more than 32 courses, Mississippi and Alabama have none and Louisiana has just one. The good news is that it’s located right in our own backyard at Stonebridge Golf Club. While Stonebridge boasts a 27-hole golf course, it is also the only nine-hole FootGolf course in the region. Armed with the knowledge that this course was a quick 20-minute drive from my house across the bridge, we found a day to try it out. The Stonebridge Pro-Shop has soccer balls that you can rent or buy, but you an also bring your own. Reservations are not required, and FootGolf is available seven days a week. You can choose to do nine or 18 holes with or without a cart. If you chose to walk the course, the fee is minimal, $7 for nine holes or $10 for 18 holes. There is an additional fee for a cart.
It didn’t take long for our friendly, first game of FootGolf to get competitive. Between trying to avoid the sand traps and water hazards, we quickly learned that a bit of golf knowledge was a huge asset in this game. Reading the slopes and curves of the ground is just as wise in FootGolf as it is real golf. If FootGolf sounds fun, it is; but if it sounds easy, don’t be fooled. It is definitely a great time, but one that will challenge you! By the end of our nine-hole game, I had figured out that birdies were nearly impossible to come by, par was something to be proud of and there was nothing shameful about a bogie here and there. So make room in your schedule for one more sport – you’ll be glad you did.
For more information, times and pricing, visit StonebridgeGolfOfNO.com and look for the FootGolf link under the Golf tab.