Invented a decade ago in the Netherlands, Footgolf is a sport which has captured imaginations on the other side of the world, in Mexico.
“We’re a footballing nation, and we love to kick a ball around. So for those who like to get out and about, it’s far less expensive than actual golf, in which you have to invest a lot of money to play. All you need is a ball, and most of us have one in the house,” said Juan Soto–a Mexico Footgolf player.
Mexico is a member of the Federation for International FootGolf, an organization with thirty-seven member countries from around the globe.
While the holes are a lot shorter, FootGolf works under the same rules that govern professional golf. Each kick counts as a stroke, with a player’s aim being to put his ball into the 53 centimeter diameter cup in as few strokes as possible.
“I’m a football player as well as a golfer, and the mixing of the two sports was very attractive to me. It requires the physicality and skill of football, but you must think like a golfer: wind conditions, terrain, ball positioning and power. It’s a good mixture,” said Jose Miguel Bolanos, Mexico Footgolfer.
Mexico has nine different tournaments throughout the year, which draw crowds of thousands, according to Fernando Lame, the director of Mexico FootGolf Federation.
With the 2018 World Cup underway in Russia, Fernando says his organization is seeking to capitalize.
“It’s an important opportunity to spread the word about our sport, to get people down to the golf courses and playing our sport. Passion for football is never greater than during a World Cup, and we want to offer people an enjoyable alternative,” said Fernando Lame, Mexico Footgolf Federation Director.
As the Mexican football team’s heroics continue in Russia, these footgolfers are cheering them on from the fairways, hoping the coutry’s passion for the beautiful game will translate into greater participation on the course.