Kick a Birdie

Written by Gabriel Sandler Category: Health & Fitness Issue: August 2015
Group Free

Kick a Birdie Punt and putt in Peoria with a game of footgolf.

Take a typical round of golf, substitute your leg for clubs, a soccer ball for a golf ball and make the hole about five times bigger. Voila! You’ve got a game of “footgolf.”

“It’s something everyone can do,” says Scott Richmond, general manager at Peoria Pines Golf and Restaurant. “Everyone knows how to kick a ball. Whether you’re 3 or 93, everyone can kick a ball.”

Peoria Pines Golf and Restaurant added footgolf to its course this past summer, both as an extra revenue stream and as a way to draw more families.

Using a regulation #5 soccer ball, players tee off from various markers, attempting to kick the ball into the hole in as few shots as possible, on a course designed like a shortened golf course. The holes are scored with the classic par system, complete with golf jargon like “eagle” and “birdie.”

Footgolf has been gaining traction both abroad and nationally over the last several years. Currently, 29 states have courses certified by the American FootGolf League, but every state except Rhode Island and North Dakota offers footgolf in conjunction with traditional golf facilities. California has the most footgolf opportunities with 54 courses, and Arizona offers players four locations to enjoy. In addition to the Peoria course, Arizonans can play at courses in Casa Grande (Francisco Grande Hotel and Golf Resort), San Tan Valley (The Links at Queen Creek) and Tempe (Shalimar Country Club).

The game is family-friendly, but competitions draw dedicated international athletes, many with backgrounds in professional soccer. The Federation for International FootGolf has 28 member nations.

Richmond says the appeal of footgolf is its accessibility. “I think as soccer grows, this will grow,” he says. “It’s easy, it’s fun… there’s a little over 400 golf courses in the United States right now that have it on their course.”

There’s one added bonus of the game: Don’t worry about hitting the ball into the water; soccer balls can float!

Check It Out
Arizona’s only American FootGolf League-certified course is at:
Peoria Pines Golf & Restaurant
8411 N. 107th Ave., Peoria

Footgolf Facts
The first FootGolf World Cup, held in Kisoroszi, Hungary in 2012, gave rise to the Federation for International FootGolf. The FIFG started with 10 member nations.

17 member nations, including the U.S., collaborated to create an official footgolf rulebook in 2014. It governs everything from official attire to scorekeeping and handicaps.

The official footgolf uniform inIcludes a flat, Hogan-style cap; collared shirt; golf-style pants or shorts; knee-high argyle socks and turf shoes. Cleats would damage the course!