Players on the 18th hole of the Las Vegas Footgolf course
|Highest governing body||Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG)|
|Team members||Teams or single competitors|
|Country or region||Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States|
The game is played the same way as golf, except players use a football instead of a golf ball, and the ball is kicked rather than struck with a club, working towards a 21-inch "cup" in place of the usual golf hole. The player who plays the 9 or 18 holes with the fewest shots wins. FootGolf as sport is played on golf courses only. The first shot has to be played from the tee box, and to reach the hole, bunkers, trees, water and hills have to be crossed or avoided. This means a powerful shot is useful, but not decisive. Reading the course, a smart approach and accurate putting are even more important.
The game is played a regulation No. 5 soccer ball. Because soccer balls travel less distance than golf balls, Footgolf is played on holes shorter than those used for golf, with one course in California averaging 157 yards. Pars are typically 5 or below.
The origins of FootGolf are unclear as they can be attributed to many countries at the same time. The first 9 hole FootGolf tournament on a golf course, and played as the sport is know today, was organized in the Netherlands in 2009, by Michael Jansen's marketing team and the Nederlandse FootGolf Bond. Later Belgium and Hungary switched from playing in parks to golf courses. The game appeared in Argentina (AAFG) in 2010 and the American FootGolf League (AFGL) introduced the sport in the United States in 2011. The game was internationally publicized, and countries worldwide started collaborating on the development of the game. By October 2014, the game was offered at more than 240 courses in the United States and was in the final stages of being recognized by Sport England.
The game's emergence coincided with the decline of the popularity of golf among young people, with 643 courses closing between 2006 and 2014 in the United States. The sport has financially saved many struggling golf courses. One course in the United States has Footgolf holes running perpendicular to regular golf holes, so that both games can be played at the same time. Paul Collinson of the UK Footgolf Association has observed that compared to golf, Footgolf is quicker to play, more accessible to players, and does not require expensive equipment.
The first Footgolf World Cup was held in Budapest, Hungary in June 2012. Players from eight countries (Hungary, Argentina, Belgium, Greece, Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, United States) gathered in the capital city of Hungary. The championship was played on the Kisoroszi Golf Course. About eighty players played 18 holes on the first day, and another 18 on the second day. In the end Béla Lengyel was crowned first world champion, ending just ahead of Peter Nemeth (2nd) and Csaba Feher (3rd).
In 2009 the International FootGolf Association (IFGA) was established by the founders of the NFGB. In June 2012, the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG) was created. In December 2013, the International FootGolf Association (IFGA) recognized the Federation for International FootGolf as the governing body for the sport of FootGolf, and Michael Jansen, one of the founders of the former NFGB and IFGA, joined the FIFG as the first Ambassador in the organization.
The Federation for International FootGolf's (FIFG) main function is to promote worldwide recognition of the sport of FootGolf as it oversees international development and growth to ensure equitable play worldwide for all players. To reach this goal, the FIFG has established the international rules and guidelines of FootGolf under which all members agree to abide. The FIFG recognizes only one member of this organization per country. The organization is based in London, UK and represented in more than twenty countries.[self-published source?]
Footgolf is a growing sport, which was been benefited by the 2008–2012 global recession due to declining revenue for golf courses.
Several world-class football players have tried their hands at the sport, including Jose Luis Chilavert, Frank de Boer, Ruud Gullit, Roy Makaay, Juan Sebastian Veron, Sylvain Wiltord, Jean-Pierre Papin and Christian Karembeu.
- "Foot/golf fusion sport growing around the globe". Rediff. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- "The American Footgolf League". AFGL. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Warwick, Josh (22 October 2014). "Why footgolf could be your new favourite sport". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Fleming, Deirdre (20 October 2014). "Footgolf gets a leg up in Portland". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Vercammen, Paul (8 October 2014). "Will FootGolf be the next big thing?". CNN. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "World Cup 2012". First Hungarian FootGolf Club. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- FIFG Member countries