FOOTGOLF: The new craze hoping to sweep the nation

FOOTGOLF: The new craze hoping to sweep the nation

Nicholas Turner, proprietor of Drayton Leisure Golf Centre in Banbury, is confident footgolf can be a big hit

Ed Mezzetti displays a fine short game with a successful 'putt'

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

GENTEEL golf and rowdy football may appear to have little in common, but a new sport is hoping to change that.

Footgolf, which combines the two historic games, has spread quickly in the USA and aficionados hope for a similar impact on these shores.

With Oxfordshire’s first course having opened at Drayton Leisure Golf Centre in Banbury, members of the Oxford Mail sports team went along to try out the hybrid pastime.

“I was up here one night and the radio was on,” said proprietor Nicholas Turner.

“I heard someone talking about footgolf as the fastest growing sport in the UK. I went online and looked it up and thought it seemed quite a sensible idea.

“I mentioned it to my wife and she said ‘that’s bloody stupid’.

“But I went up to Hull to see one of the first courses in the country.

“I then met with the CEO of UK footgolf and he came up with the course we have here.”

Turner followed his instinct and opened the course alongside Drayton’s existing par-three golf set-up late last year.

The two sports are offered at different times to avoid chaos!

Like real golf, footgolf comes in par threes, fours and fives – with the aim to sink your size five football in the 52cm hole in as few kicks as possible.

Holes at Drayton range from 54 to 131 yards, with much of the difficulty coming from the hilly terrain.

There are no raised tees – you simply kick off from behind a line and go from there.

Drayton’s course record of four-under-par for nine holes proved out of our range, but anyone with vague footballing ability can get to grips with the challenge.

Turner, who played rugby for Banbury, hopes he is on to a winner with footgolf and is planning events to coincide with the football World Cup.

“I thought ‘why not go for it’,” he said. “There was no one around here doing it and I just had a feeling about it.

“I felt it was something that would take off.

“In the past, people have talked about frisbee golf, but I couldn’t really see that.

“I could see the social side of this.”

The course was fairly simple to follow, although we did spend a bit of time searching for the third green.

One of the biggest challenges was judging how fast the football would roll through different length of grass, while the uphill holes proved unforgiving if your kick came up short.

Each of us ended up playing second shots from behind where we had teed off on the ninth.

But on the positive side, we enjoyed a few birdies and a couple of eagle twos.

Footgolf has several leagues in the USA plus a growing UK scene.

Drayton Leisure hosts monthly competitions, which contribute towards a national leaderboard.

Turner says purpose-built courses are likely to come in the future and is considering further development in Banbury.

“If it takes off, we will do some landscaping work,” he said.

“I think it will just keep growing.

“A lot of people that like to kick a football around no longer feel up to having youngsters yapping at their heels.”

PRICES

(9/18 holes)

Adults weekdays £7/10; Adults weekends £8/12; Under 16s £5/8.

  • More information available from ukfootgolf.com or draytonleisure.co.uk

Latest Sport news

Tom Newey agrees Oxford United release

Oxford Mail: Tom Newey

5:40pm Monday 26th January 2015

TOM Newey has agreed a settlement to leave Oxford United early by mutual consent.

James Roberts on target again as Oxford United beat West Brom

Oxford Mail:

4:34pm Monday 26th January 2015

JAMES Roberts scored for the second time in three days as Oxford United won 2-1 a development match at West Bromwich Albion.

Oxford United have transfer bid accepted for striker Tyrone Barnett

Oxford Mail:

12:10pm Monday 26th January 2015

OXFORD United have had a transfer fee accepted by Peterborough for striker Tyrone Barnett.

Oxford United fans' chat

Oxford Mail:

12:00pm Monday 26th January 2015

Have your say on the main talking points at Oxford United in our 60-minute interactive discussion.

VIDEO: Highlights from Oxford United's draw with Exeter City

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Monday 26th January 2015

WATCH the goals from Oxford United's 2-2 draw with Exeter City, where James Roberts scored a stoppage-time equaliser at the Kassam Stadium.

It was pure instinct, says Oxford United saviour James Roberts

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Monday 26th January 2015

JAMES Roberts said it was a huge relief to get off the mark in front of Oxford United’s home fans and admitted his superb equaliser was down to pure instinct.

GOLF: Eddie Pepperell proud of equalling best finish

Oxford Mail: Eddie Pepperell

8:00am Monday 26th January 2015

OXFORDSHIRE’S Eddie Pepperell reflected on equalling his best European Tour finish after claiming fourth place in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in Doha.

FOOTBALL: McDonagh hat-trick boosts Thame United in easy victory

Oxford Mail: Conor McDonagh netted for North Leigh in their 2-1 defeat at Wimborne Town, which dealt a further blow to their Division 1 South & West play-off hopes

8:00am Monday 26th January 2015

CONOR McDonagh scored his first goals for Thame United with a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory over Wootton Bassett Town in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division at the ASM Stadium.

FOOTBALL: Oxford City crash to a heavy defeat after keeper Salva's early red card

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 26th January 2015

Goalkeeper Salva de la Cruz was sent off after just six minutes as Oxford City were beaten 3-0 at home by high-flying Barrow in Vanarama Conference North on Saturday, writes Matthew Bruce.

Overjoyed Josh Ashby had no warning of Oxford United debut

Oxford Mail: Josh Ashby

8:00am Monday 26th January 2015

Josh Ashby was grateful he was given little warning about making his senior debut for Oxford United in the 2-2 draw with Exeter City.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree