Blog : FootGolf Gives Local Soccer Teams Dynamic Edge

By Katelyn | Oct 5, 2015 | in

By Anne Twombly

Mini golf is a classic American pastime, a simplified and strategically edited version of golf’s traditional gameplay. Whereas traditional golf involves a large sprawling natural landscape, a spectrum of varied clubs, and heavily technical gameplay, mini golf is played in a shrunken, often fantastical, manufactured course allowing for faster paced game transitions between erratic swings of a one-size fits all standardized club. A concentrated dose of the marketable highlights of the traditional golf experience, mini golf aims to please the masses.

Like mini golf, FootGolf, an up-and-coming hybrid of soccer and golf, borrows the latter’s perceived highlights. However, contrary to the aspects hailed in mini golf, a Foot Golf course traditionally runs within or directly parallel to a traditional golf course.

Sagamore –Hampton Golf Club began offering FootGolf just last year, a welcome addition to the facility by both staff and local players. At Sagamore, the hybrid sport has met with success partly because of its symbiotic relationship with the club’s traditional 18-hole course.

“Typically, per hole, there’s two FootGolf holes. The yardages range anywhere from our shortest hole which is 50 yards to our longest hole which is 165 yards - those being par five,” said Kate Blais, Clubhouse Manager at Sagamore.”

The rules and gameplay of FootGolf fall in line more closely to those of traditional golf. Played on courses of nine to 18 holes, players try to score with as few strokes as possible. But instead of using clubs and golf balls, players kick #5 regulation-size soccer balls down the course into 21 inch sized holes marked by orange flags.

“The difference being you’re obviously not kicking a soccer ball nearly as far as you’re hitting a golf ball which is why the holes are much shorter and the layout is perfect for our front 9 because it takes you right back up to our clubhouse. So you do the same layout as just 9 holes but you get to play 18 holes,” said Blais

To ensure the game is played authentically, Sagamore is a certified member of the American FootGolf League (AFGL), which has courses in all 50 states. Currently, Sagamore is the only certified AFGL course in New Hampshire. Each AFGL course is designed using the FFANS layout system, to measure and score a players handicap, as approved by the Federation for International FootGolf governing body.

“Our hope is attracting more people to the course and giving them an opportunity to play a sport that can fit their abilities and their timeframe with a little bit less frustration as opposed to golf which we all know can be frustrating at times,” Blais said.

FootGolf has become a popular activity for families as well as athletes. Recently, the Sagamore foot golf facility is gaining popularity for team building/training excursions for local soccer teams.

“We’ve seen an incredible amount of families, even grandparents bring their grandchildren out. It’s something they can do together, anyone can kick a soccer ball whether its two feet or fifty yards depending on your ability,” Blais said. “The course brings in a lot of slopes, ups and downs, trees of course, we have some hazards, we have a couple creeks that they have to go over, or through, which happens all the time.”

A dynamic course topography also allows for a variety of choices in terms of rules of play. The Kittery Soccer Club girls team recently took advantage Sagamore’s course by utilizing it as a team-building event during the early season. Playing all 18 holes, the girls worked on soccer technical fundamentals, basic fitness and in a setting drastically different, and more challenging, than that of their traditional drills on a marked, flat soccer field.

Teams using the course as a practice field will often divide themselves into smaller groups for scrimmage matches. This develops a new focus on handling the soccer ball as well as providing team building exercises, critical thinking and creative approaches to gameplay.

“As a [small] team you’re trying to get the lowest score possible against all the other groups you’re playing against. So it really brings groups together, which I’ve been able to see over the past year and a half which is amazing,” Blais said.

Adopting a sport that celebrates the natural topography of the facility comes as no surprise at Sagamore. The company take a tremendous amount of pride in it’s ecological beauty, maintaining the course with as few chemicals and hazardous materials as possible, as well as fertilizing their turf with all natural alternatives such as soybean meal, granite dust, kelp, fish emulsion and turkey manure. 

“We try to keep it cost effective so people are coming out to see our facilities, learn about the game and sport as well as to enjoy the wildlife, being outdoors and in nature,” said Blais. “It’s just a great aspect.”

To learn more about Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club, click here