At a recent meeting at the PGA Show in January, I attended a Grow the Game presentation chaired by Mark King, CEO of Taylor Made Golf. The name of the venture was called Hack Golf, funded primarily right now by Taylor Made, but open to anyone where there would brainstorming sessions, and any different idea, no matter how unusual would be considered as an avenue to bring new people into golf. Someone from the audience mentioned soccer golf which I had never heard of. Well much to my surprise and many others I am sure, there is a new game called Foot Golf.
Some creative soccer fans have invented a new way to enjoy their sport in a very untraditional environment- golf courses. The world of golf will never be the same. This spring 39 Foot Golf courses are slated to open up across the United States on the very same land traditional golfers already play. The 18 hole Foot Golf course is on an existing golf course with 18-21 inch wide holes and can be played in approximately the same time as 9 holes of golf . And due to the placement of the foot golf holes in the rough, near sand traps, or in proximity to other undesirable locations, the two games rarely cross. Players are not allowed to wear soccer cleats on the course.
Laura and Roberto Balestrini co founded the self-funded league in November 2011 and already count 64 courses with operations in Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico. Haggin Oaks Golf Club, with two18 hole traditional courses in Sacramento, California has adopted an 18 hole Foot Golf course within nine holes of its 6552 yard Arcade golf course. It has generated over $100,000 revenue in the first 6 months of play for Haggin Oaks.
“We’re not building a business, we’re building a new sport,” said Ms. Balestrini, President of the American Foot Golf League, AFGL, based in Palm Springs. “It’s a growing business and it is something we have the patience to do right.” At this early stage of their 5-year plan, they have not begun to focus on league revenue, instead spreading the word about Foot Golf and its potential as an additional revenue stream at golf courses. Eventually they plan to run the league similar to the USGA with a yearly membership and players paying for a handicap system that will begin testing next month.
There will be a AFGL tournament held March 23-24 at the Willow Springs Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas with the NASL San Antonio Scorpions soccer team playing against the field. For more information go to www.FootGolf.net.