FootGolf was created in the Netherlands in 2008 by Bas Korsten & Michael Jansen with inspiration from Korsten’s brother’s professional soccer team’s favorite pasttime. The team would attempt to get their soccer balls from their training area to the changing room in as few kicks as possible (1). The sport itself combines soccer and golf. The object of the game is to kick a soccer ball from the tee in the hole in as few kicks as possible. The game is played similarly to golf across a 9 or 18-hole course, with a few variations in the rules to adapt to the soccer ball. FootGolf is highly popular internationally and is only continuing to grow in the US.
The American FootGolf League
The American FootGolf League’s mission is to promote the sport of FootGolf in the US at all skill and age levels. The organization holds events for young adults up to the senior plus category, as well as for both the amateur and professional level.
“We really feel that FootGolf is the sport of the future. It will be the sport that kids grow up knowing about because they have played it when they are young. There are so many possibilities for it, and because it stems off soccer players, there comes a point in soccer that people leave the game. FootGolf is a crossover. You see this sport played by young families with kids and by people in their 60s who have joined because they can still get out there and kick a ball. It has such a broad appeal. Our demographic is really all over the board.”Laura Balestrini, CEO, American FootGolf League
The professional side, the AFGL Tour, runs from March through the end of October across the country, culminating in the National Championship. Depending on weather, amateur tournaments are held year round, hosted by professional clubs who strive to bring FootGolf into their local communities. This year, the 2022 AFGL National Championship will be held from October 13-16 at Brazell’s Creek Golf Course in Reidsville, GA. On the international level, the FIFG FootGolf World Cup will be held in June 2023 in Orlando, Florida.
What Does FootGolf Need from Hosts?
FootGolf tournaments are typically played on golf courses or disc golf courses. If setup is done on a golf course correctly, there is no extra maintenance and it never interferes with golf. For larger scale national events, the organization will need the course for up to a week, with setup being done at the start of the week and the tournament running into the weekend.
“When we bring in the National Championship or US Open, having housing partners there is also important for us. We tend to go to a Destination where the players can be staying right there or within the area. A major airport is very important because most will be flying in. We get about 20 countries bringing players in for the International events,” Balestrini shares. At their last US Open, 185 players came to compete. The American FootGolf League is looking for a high-level course that can host FootGolf year-round, including the National Championship and US Open.
Growing the Sport & Getting Involved
For those looking to get involved in the sport, Balestrini recommends going out and playing your local course if you have one. The learning curve in FootGolf is much faster than golf, so barriers to entry are low. “If you don’t have a course there, let your local golf course or your Parks and Recreation Department know that it is a sport you want to see come into the community,” she says. “It is a great community sport. If there is a golf course that wants to involve more of their community, and I always say that municipal courses are a perfect example because there’s community ownership there, and it opens up a new activity on the course.”
The American FootGolf League’s open RFP’s for 2022-2024 are on Playeasy. Click here to check them out and see if you could host!
Follow the American FootGolf League
To learn more about the American FootGolf League and follow them on Playeasy, head to their Playeasy profile here.
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