FootGolf is teeing or kicking off at the Otumoetai Golf Club. The club will be running free events on Wednesday April 24 and Sunday April 28 from 3pm-5pm.
Club Manager Kevin Steward says the club is interested to see how the new sport will appeal to the local community.
“It’s quite big in the UK,” says Kevin. “We’ve decided to introduce it here as part of our facilities, to provide it as another amenity for the Tauranga area.”
FootGolf is played and scored the same way as golf, except you are kicking a football into a larger hole instead of hitting it with a golf club. As with golf, the lower the score, the better.
“We’ve had a pretty good response from the local football clubs. We’ve set up an association with the Otumoetai Football Club which has over 1000 members, and we’ve set up an 18-hole course at the Otumoetai Golf Club.”
FootGolf is, according to the NZ FootGolf Association, the fastest growing new sport in the world with more than 500 courses operating in the USA; it’s also huge in Europe and Great Britain. It is played throughout the world in many different forms but is regulated by the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG).
Since 2015, FootGolf courses have increased throughout New Zealand, with 11 courses around the North Island and one in the South Island.
There are courses at Wainui, Pukekohe, Bombay, Te Aroha, Hukanui, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, Fielding, Carterton, Wellington and Queenstown.
“We went across to the course at Hukanui, outside of Hamilton,” says Kevin. “It’s been a great addition for them, so hopefully it will work for us being right in the middle of the city.
“Some of the smaller golf clubs in the UK have actually closed their golf facilities just to handle FootGolf because it’s so popular in the UK, so we thought we’d introduce it here and see.
“We think it’s a great addition to the Tauranga area and we see it going through all ages. It’s not one age group thing. Kids can play it and adults can play it.
“We find on corporate days that a lot of people can’t hit a golf ball with a golf club but we think most people can kick things, so we think it will take off as a corporate activity as well.”
The New Zealand FootGolf Association began developing the sport of FootGolf in 2015, helping golf courses increase their revenues and attract new customers. New Zealand FootGolf Association are the governing body of FootGolf in New Zealand.
“We’re not a registered member of New Zealand FootGolf yet,” says Kevin. “We plan to eventually be members, but at the moment we’re just seeing how it will take off in the area.
“Everything is very positive from all those who are involved in the football fraternity so it’s quite interesting.”
The public are encouraged to contact the club to book a time to come and try out the new sport on one of the free days they are running.
“Wear your trainers with no boots, sprigs or cleats, and bring your own soccer ball and pencil to record your score,” says Kevin. “It’s suitable for all ages, men, women and the kids. Just kick your soccer ball into the oversized golf holes.
“If you think this may be a something your firm or company may wish to involve themselves in with a Corporate or Team Building day please give us a call and we will make a date for you. All our normal facilities like the bar and catering are available and it will be fun.”