Footgolf celebrates its decade anniversary this year, however the sport remains relatively unknown. The hybrid between football and golf combines two fan favourite sports, particularly here in Scotland and gives players the chance to spend hours out on the course competing. The game consists of similar rules to golf, the obvious differences being, rather than using a club you use your foot and rather than a golf ball, you use a football.
Given that we’re three football fans, this seemed like the perfect activity for us to try out. Myself, Josh and Daniel headed down to Footgolf Cumbernauld to try it out and see for ourselves just how good the game is.
We were lucky enough to give it a try for free however, the prices at Footgold Cumbernauld are certainly reasonable. An adult can play for just £15 while a child will be charged only £8. There is also a student discount as students get in for £10, attracting a younger audience to try this activity.
Footgolf Cumbernauld had quite the rural look to it, the buildings looked old fashioned yet homely and was surrounded in greenery. The main building hosted a small pub and had a store attached where you could collect your balls before heading out for a game.
We were greeted with scorecards and had a detailed explanation of the rules and the course layout to make things a little easier to understand given our ‘beginner’ status.
On paper 18 holes doesn’t seem to difficult but having spent hours racking up more and more shots, the course starts to feel like a marathon. The sport itself did prove to be unique, challenging and fun all at the same time. Like golf each hole was either a par three, four or five which depended on length and difficulty.
The Cumbernauld course had plenty of burns to avoid and hills to climb making the holes increasingly challenging. The par three’s and downhill holes felt like reliefs as it gave us a break from what proved to be a difficult workout. Kicking a ball for hours on end takes it out for you even if it does seem like a small task.
It’s safe to say the sport takes time to master, with all three of us gaining scores well over par. Like golf and football, the game requires technique and strategy as opposed to just smashing the ball as hard as you can with your foot and that’s where we went wrong.
Footgolf UK offers tournaments all year round where professionals can compete to prove who is the best and show off some real talent. They also have a footgolf World Cup, last year the tournament ran from the 9th of December through to the 16th. The competition was held in Marrakesh, Morocco and hosted 500 players coming from 33 different nations.
Matias Perrone was crowned footgolf world champion, finishing 16 under par, two shots ahead of second place, Ben Clarke from the UK. Sophie Brown won the women’s competition convincingly. She was six under par while the second place finished on par, the top 3 women were all British. The British team were defeated however, suffering a loss in the final.
As much as the sport is fun and laid back, the official world cup was taken very seriously as you can imagine, with official qualifying conditions, a clear dress code and even a Toyota sponsor. The week long tournament was planned out well in advance, even allowing an hours practice at the start of the first day.
It’s safe to say none of the CSF crew will be competing in next year’s competition with the biggest events of our day consisting of; finding a lost phone, recovering from a fall in the mud and searching the burn for our footballs on what seemed like every second hole.
Our overall experience was a positive one. Despite our tragic moments and lack of ability, we still had a good day out. The warm weather definitely makes Morocco a more ideal venue than Scotland to play the sport, however, Footgolf Cumbernauld offers Scots the chance to play a well laid out, challenging course that introduces people to the sport.
For those of you who are into your football, your golf or even sports in general; this is well worth a try. Even if you aren’t, it’s worth giving it a shot as the sport is an enjoyable bit of exercise, a fun day out and there’s always the pub to help forget about those terrible shots. One thing that I’d encourage everyone to remember though is, bring your boots, otherwise it may be a dirty trip back home.
By Kyle Mcleod