The new and innovative hybrid sport FootGolf, combining soccer and golf, is growing in popularity. As FootGolf has grown, competitive FootGolf events of varying levels of ability, including those featuring world-class athletes, have flourished to become more high-profile events. Thanks to the vision of a few like-minded individuals, FootGolf, a game that, not coincidentally, incorporates elements of soccer and golf, was born and had been spreading across the globe since. Footballers are known to enjoy playing golf in their free time, so it is perhaps not surprising that FootGolf has proved to be so popular among those from footballing backgrounds: 70% of those who took up the sport were footballers.
FootGolf has opened doors for an entirely new audience who might have never considered playing golf. There are over 30 countries where FootGolf is played today, and the popularity is being felt at golf courses, both in positive and negative ways. FootGolf has come a long way over the past decade, from the barreling barnstorming of Roberto and Laura Balestrini out of the trunk of their car to being recognised and legitimised as a worldwide sport, to having excellent golf facilities that welcome people of all ages and types, kicking footballs around on fairways. Footgolf is not only for golfers or football players. However, as more football players learn about the sport, more the growth is happening, according to Roberto Balestrini, the AFGLs founder.
Perhaps more akin to golf than soccer, footgolf can be played at golf courses or courses designed expressly for the sport. According to the United States FootGolf League, the sport is played using an average-sized football in five dimensions on a golf course with reduced holes and a jumbo 21-inch disc. Since the inception of the American FootGolf League (AFGL) in 2011, the sport has seen a growing presence on desert greens. FootGolf (also written footgolf) is played worldwide in varying forms and is now considered an actual sport, sanctioned by the Federation of International FootGolf (FIFG). Since January 2014, and with more FootGolf courses being introduced to Southern California and other regions, FootGolf Rounds booked on FootGolf courses have steadily increased, with players from ages 5-65 trying FootGolf.
Different versions of footgolf, a sport combining football and golf, were kicked around various European countries for around 20 years, Switzerland in the late 1980s, and Scandinavia in the 1990s before being introduced to the U.S. via the American FootGolf League (AFGL). Later, Belgium and Hungary switched from playing in parks to playing on golf courses, and FootGolf was introduced in Argentina in 2010.