The newest craze in sports has come to Carson City.
The sport of FootGolf, a game which combines soccer and golf, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. today at Silver Oak Golf Club. Footgolf is the fastest growing sport in North America. The local golf course held a special AYSO day on Monday afternoon.
Terrie McNutt, Silver Oak Golf Club general manager, said the idea came about last spring.
“Garth Richards (Silver Oak owner) saw it and thought it would be a good idea,” McNutt said. “We’re a very big soccer community. I think it will be something for the whole family to participate in.”
“It’s another avenue into introducing people who wouldn’t otherwise golf, into golf and being on a golf course,” said Rob Mason, Silver Oak’s head professional. “Soccer is very popular. This is an alternative to the regular game. It seems to be gaining ground around the country.”
Mason said an 18-hole FootGolf course uses just nine holes on the regular golf course. The American FootGolf League organized the first 18-Hole FootGolf tournament in Wisconsin in July of 2012, and the organization said there are approximately 170 courses in 35 states. The American FootGolf League also introduced the sport in the region, co-founding the Mexican FootGolf Federation, the Puerto Rico FootGolf Association and the Canadian FootGolf Association. The game originated in Europe.
McNutt said Silver Oak’s course is laid out on the back nine, which is the flatter of the two sides. Tee times are available seven days a week after 2 p.m. There is a limit of four players per tee time. The cost is $16 for adults to walk and $24 with cart rental. For juniors, the cost is $8 to walk, and it’s $5 for every additional junior player in a group.
The game is played with a regulation No. 5 soccer ball at a golf course facility on shortened holes with 21-inch diameter cups. The rules largely correspond to the rules of golf.
FootGolf as a game is played throughout the world in many different forms, but as a sport, it is regulated by the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG). The American FootGolf League (AFGL) is the exclusive member of the FIFG and governing body for the sport of FootGolf in the United States. The AFGL is organizing tournaments throughout the country working with golf courses to bring FootGolf to their clubs as another avenue for revenue and to develop the game further.
Carson Valley’s FootGolf course is open in the afternoons, and McNutt said Silver Oak will follow the same practice, meaning from 2 p.m. on you will see a combination of golf balls and soccer balls flying through the air.
McNutt said the FootGolf greens will be on the side of the fairways, not on the regulation golf greens.
“I don’t think it will interfere with the flow of golf,” McNutt said. “Footgolf is faster. The holes are shorter. It shouldn’t interrupt golfers at all.”
McNutt said that a couple of staff members did go over to Carson Valley to play the course.
“It was fun,” said James Potter, Silver Oak’s assistant golf pro. “My foot was sore after the round. I thought it was really hard. It was hard to kick the ball (accurately).”
Potter said that the FootGolf greens will be located to the side or in front of the regular golf greens. He estimates that it would take a little over 90 minutes to play a round of golf.
“Who knows, people that just like to play soccer may be interested in trying out golf,” Potter said. “I definitely see it as a family thing.”
Paul Van Sickle, assistant golf pro at Carson Valley, said the new “craze” has been successful at his course.
“It’s gone great,” he said. “I couldn’t give you exact information on how many rounds a week, but it has gone well.
“We have had as many as 15 or 20 people from a local soccer team come out and play and sometimes we have just a couple of groups. It depends on the day of the week and time of the year. It has picked up some since school has ended and families are hearing about it. The demographic for FootGolf is a lot more family oriented.”
Despite the fact that you are getting around the course using your foot and not a club, etiquette is still the same. Van Sickle has tried to educate both the golfer and the FootGolfer on pace of play and other nuances of the games.
Eagle Valley also features FootGolf daily from 2-5 p.m. The course is having its grand opening Aug. 3. For more information visit www.eaglevalleygolf.com.