May 27, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

May is the perfect season to hit the golf course. The average high temperatures are in the 70s and the wind tends to stick to no more than a breeze. This would be a good month to introduce your kids to the sport of golf.

Not interested in chasing down small white balls while teaching your young ones how to tee off?  A new sport called footgolf is catching on around the U.S. Footgolf started in Europe and came to the U.S. in 2011. Wilderness Ridge Golf Course in Lincoln started offering it in 2014, and in 2015, La Vista Falls Golf Course and Papio Greens Golf Center both started offering the sport.

Footgolf is a combination of the popular sports of soccer and golf. The game is played with a regulation soccer ball on shortened holes with 21-inch diameter cups, which sit to the side of the golf holes. The holes are covered when not in use for patrons’ safety.

At La Vista Falls, the nine-hole game has its own tee times of Mondays and Wednesdays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 5 p.m. to dark.

“The times we picked are typically times when people are not playing golf,” says manager Denny Dinan.

Papio Greens has 18 holes built within the 18 hole par 3 course and is designed to be able to play both traditional golf and footgolf simultaneously.

“We have families that come out and the mom and dad will golf, and the kids will play footgolf at the same time.”  Tyson Thomas, general manager of Papio Greens, says.

Both courses consulted with the American Foot Golf League to develop their courses and learn the rules of the game.

The rules largely correspond to those of golf. Players tee off by kicking the soccer ball towards the hole. The object of the game is to get the ball to the hole in as few strokes as possible.

Footgolf has its advantages over both soccer and golf. It’s good exercise without requiring lots of running, as in soccer. And it allows people to aim towards a larger hole, which makes the game easier than golf.

The big advantage of this game is that it does not cost as much money as regular golf. All one needs to play is a group of friends and a regulation soccer ball. Because the game is played on a shortened course with a large ball, players don’t need any special knowledge. They just need to know how to kick the ball towards the hole.

It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to play a round of footgolf at La Vista Falls.

Dinan says players can wear any regular sneakers to play footgolf, but cleats, either soccer cleats or golf cleats, are not allowed. Players should adhere to the dress codes and rules of the golf clubs at which they choose to play.

“Anyone can come out here and play,” says Thomas. “It really is a nice workout. It’s a good thing to come out here and do. It’s good for everyone from young kids to adults.  As long as you can kick a ball, you can play.”

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