What is Soccer Golf?
Seeing the title, you may be wondering, “What is Soccer Golf?” That’s what I’m here to fill you in on.
In its simplest terms, you kick a soccer ball into big holes on a golf course rather than trying to hit a golf ball into a small hole using a golf club. The goal of the game, however, is identical to that of golf: to do so with as few shots as possible.
The winner is the player who has the fewest number of shots throughout the course of nine or eighteen holes.
As a sport, soccer golf can only be played on designated golf greens.
Knowing the layout of the course, using a strategic approach, and making solid “putts” are of greater significance in this sport.
In this article, I’ll do my best to teach you everything you need to know about soccer golf! Let’s get to it.
Where It All Began
Because the origin of soccer golf (also known as footgolf) might be concurrently traced to several countries, the precise history of the game is unknown.
A Barcelona soccer player named Juan Manuel Aensi is credited with introducing the game in 2008.
In 2008, the first soccer golf competition was held on a golf course in Holland. Bas Korsten and Michael Jansen put up the competition, which featured professional soccer players from Belgium and the Netherlands.
Jansen created the game after being inspired by Willem Korsten, a former Dutch player who played for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. He told Jansen that players would complete practice sessions by kicking a soccer ball directly from the field into the locker room.
Getting the Ball Rolling
In a game of soccer golf, the objective is to use the fewest possible kicks to get the ball into the hole from the teeing area.
This self-played game calls on participants to be responsible and play by the rules. Every game calls for everyone’s best behavior.
As a general rule, you should arrive at the first tee at least 10 minutes before your tee time. You shouldn’t plan your tactics on the course before you begin, and you can’t run through any kicking drills before the game.
Who’s Going to Hit the First Tee?
The following is the proper procedure for teeing off in Soccer Golf:
- The person with the lowest score on the preceding hole always plays first.
- Don’t kick the soccer ball down the fairway until it’s your turn.
- You can either kick directly off the ground or utilize a tee-up to two meters behind the tee-off marks. (A tee isn’t necessary, and many players really prefer to play without one.)
On the Fairway
What happens when you kick the ball down the fairway?
Similarly to golf, those who are farthest from the hole go first on the fairway.
After you’ve taken your swing (kick), keep an eye out for any balls that are in the way or in a position that may be considered favorable.
The offending balls must be marked and removed immediately. You can put a mark on your ball if it causes an obstruction for another player.
Soccer Golf’s Bunkers: How to Avoid the Sand!
It is illegal to scoop the ball out of a bunker. You must kick it out.
Don’t forget to rake the bunker once you’ve finished your kick to get it ready for the next unlucky player who has to play from there. This is traditional golf etiquette.
What is a Green Zone?
If your kicked ball lands within three meters of the hole, you must designate it as “green.”
Failing to mark the ball results in a single penalty stroke for you and the player who kicks the ball into yours.
When marking a ball, you should position your marker so that it is behind the ball and parallel to the hole.
You can place the ball with either your toe or your instep. The ball can’t be pushed into the hole with the help of the sole of your shoe.
Water Hazards and Penalties
Soccer golf courses have two distinct types of water hazards.
These are marked red (for the side water traps) and yellow (for the front of the hole).
It is a rule violation to attempt to kick a ball that is already in the water, resulting in an additional stroke being added to your score for that hole.
For example, if the ball is kicked and lands on firm ground in shallow water, that counts as a legal kick in the water.
Penalties marked in yellow:
- Put the ball back where you were standing before you played it.
- The ball can be kicked from the spot where it most recently went through the water trap and beyond the pin.
- You have unparalleled possibilities for throwing the ball back.
- If your ball flies beyond the hazard and into a water trap after the green, you can drop it wherever it first touches the water.
Red penalties apply to the above or:
- When the following kick goes into the water, it has to be less than 2 meters high.
- If your shot lands in the water hazard and covers more than half the length of it, you can suffer a drop from where you first hit the water.
How Should You Dress for Soccer Golf?
Generally speaking, courses do not have strict dress codes. But if you’re serious about your game, you should prepare yourself with the following before heading out to the course:
- The standard golf flat cap, or a golf cap shaped like a baseball cap.
- A well-fitted, airy shirt or blouse with a collar that won’t get in the way of your game.
- Professional players are often seen sporting knee-high socks with a crisscross pattern, which are called Argyle socks.
- As for footwear, indoor or turf soccer shoes are recommended.
American FootGolf Federation (AFGL)
Although soccer golf’s inception was in 2009, it didn’t make its official debut in the United States until 2011.
It was the American FootGolf League that was mostly responsible for popularizing the sport in the United States.
In 2012, the AFGL gained formal recognition from the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG) as the sport’s governing body in the United States.
In 2018, AFGL was replaced as the governing body in the United States by the American FootGolf Federation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
American FootGolf League
The American FootGolf League dominates the domestic soccer golf scene.
In 2011, AFGL was mostly responsible for bringing the game to the United States. It was the country’s preeminent sports regulating organization until the AFGF was established.
As for now, the AFGL schedules nationwide competitions for the best soccer golfers in the country. The best players in the world compete in the tournaments that make up the AFGL FootGolf Tour.
The season typically begins in March and lasts until late November or early December.
The FIFG World Tour incorporates some American FootGolf League events. The AFGL also keeps a separate set of rankings for men and women.
Meanwhile, in the United States, a number of soccer golf clubs have emerged and are governed by AFGL.
World Cup of Soccer Golf
In 2012, Hungary hosted the inaugural World Cup of soccer golf. Players from eight different countries competed, and the Hungarian champion, Bela Lengyel, took home first place.
The 2016 International Soccer Golf World Cup was held in Argentina. The United States won the team competition, and Christian Otero of Argentina took first place individually. The competition had 230 participants from 26 different countries.
In December 2018, Marrakech, Morocco, hosted the third iteration of the event. Argentine Matias Perrone and British woman Sophie Brown took first and second, respectively. France came out on top in the team competition, followed by the United Kingdom and the United States.
The 2020 World Cup was supposed to take place in Japan but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has been decided that the 2023 edition of Soccer Golf will be held in Orlando, Florida. The time period is from May 27th to June 6th.
Soccer golf or footgolf is a great alternative to “normal” soccer play. Fun for all ages, soccer golf couples strategy with skill to make it a fun Saturday afternoon event.
If you’re reading this and interested in playing, the first step is to find a soccer golf course near you. After this, you’ll want to book your tee time. From here, you’ll step up on the course and have so much fun.
Soccer golf obviously has a lot of room for growth but I’m excited to see where the sport is headed!