Blog : Eco-Friendly Golf Course Kickstarts Foot Golf This Summer

By Ali | May 23, 2014 | in

By Austin Sorrette

Usually, kicking your ball through the rough is considered cheating, a sneaky way to save a stroke. Now, it's the entire nature of gameplay in a twist on the sport of golf called Foot Golf. Never heard of Foot Golf? That’s okay because Sagamore, a local golf course, will open the new game to anyone who wants to give it a try this summer.

Foot Golf has been sweeping the globe since its inception in 2009, and its popularity is growing. Richard Luff, president of the Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club on North Road in North Hampton, New Hampshire, adopted the game as a way to reach out to more players and keep the golf course one stroke ahead of the competition.

“Introducing Foot Golf will be a nice compliment because it will introduce our facility to another demographic,” says Luff. “The learning curve to play Foot Golf is easier and you can get families out there as well as soccer players.”

Foot Golf started in the Netherlands in 2009 when a group of soccer players convinced a golf course in Holland to create a course. Since then it has become a world-wide sensation. The sport finally jumped across the pond in 2011 when it was adopted by a golf course in California. As both player and President of Sagamore, Luff likes to keep himself abreast on industry news. That's how he first heard about this new twist on the sport. Luff became immensely interested in bringing home a new element to an old classic to the Sagamore fairways.

“We are always looking for new ways and new people to bring to this sport,” says Luff. “It shouldn't have to be just a game with 14 clubs, people should enjoy it and get creative with it and I think this diversification can be the spark that attracts new people to the game of golf. It also can be a fun way for long-time golfers to play with their sport and try it from a new angle.”

The rules and gameplay are, essentially, a fusion of golf and soccer. There are still 18 holes to play and players must still try to score with as little strokes as possible. But instead of carrying around all those clubs and using those ever-elusive small golf balls, players kick regulation-size soccer balls towards holes that are 21 inches in diameter and marked with orange flags. Sagamore allows players to reserve tee times up to one week in advance. To make sure the game is played authentically, Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club has become an official member of the American Foot Golf League.

All of the Foot Golf play will take place adjacent to the front-nine holes of the traditional Sagamore golf course. The Foot Golf fairways are about half the distance of regulation fairway holes. Though the Foot Golf courses run parallel to Sagamore's standard fairway, that doesn’t mean the sportsman-like atmosphere will change. Luff believes that players of both sports will respect one another during gameplay and can perform harmoniously with each other.

“Obviously we won't offer Foot Golf during busy golf hours like Sunday mornings,” says Luff. “But there is enough distance where all players can play their own games and not disturb other games going on around them.”
Foot Golf is allowed Monday through Thursday until 2:30 p.m. and after 5:30 p.m. On Fridays, weekends and holidays, Foot Golf is allowed after 5:30 p.m.

The dress code goes hand-in-hand with Sagamore’s everyman approach as a public golf course. While collared shirts are encouraged to maintain the level of respect between golfers and Foot Golfers, formal soccer attire is acceptable, which means you can sport your favorite Soccer star's jersey and bring your team from the nets to the links. There is only one exception: athletic cleats are strictly prohibited as they would most certainly damage Sagamore's fairways. Foot Golfers are asked to wear indoor soccer shoes or sneakers.

The tees and holes, of course, will utilize Sagamore's signature eco-friendly maintenance to set themselves apart from most other golf courses without losing their competitive edge.

When Luff's father, Peter, opened the Hampton course in 1962, he quickly recognized the environmental benefits of using alternative resources as a solution to cut down the dangerous chemicals commonly used for course maintenance. Sagamore maintains its course with as few chemicals and hazardous materials as possible, fertilizing their turf with all natural alternatives such as soybean meal, granite dust, kelp, fish emulsion and turkey manure.

To enhance their green identity, Sagamore also became a Business Partner with the Green Alliance, a union of over 100 sustainability-minded businesses who offer discounted goods and services to its card-carrying members. Since 2009, Sagamore has offered 15 percent off weekday green fees to any member of the Green Alliance.

Sagamore plans to kick-off the Foot Golf Season on Tuesday, June 3rd. This will give Luff and the rest of his staff plenty of time to squeeze in some games of their own to make sure the holes are par-for-the-course.

“There are some hills on the front nine, so we're trying to think of ways to get a soccer ball to hold on the hill,” says Richard. “We'll definitely be playing some games this week to test it out.”

For more information about Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club and the rules and regulations of Foot Golf, visit www.sagamoregolf.com.

For more information about the Green Alliance, click here!