Becoming increasingly popular in Europe, FootGolf has been drawing interest also in Turkey. It is a combination of two sports branches namely golf and football.
A golf ball instead of a football is used in the game where athletes’ legs serve as golf clubs. The size of holes are designed in accordance with the ball size. Being established in London in 2012, the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG) determines the global rules of this game. The Assembly of Turkish FootGolf (TFGD) was established in our country in 2014, while the FootGolf Assembly of Youth and Sports was established in 2018.
Spread from Europe to the USA
The rules of golf underlies the rules of FootGolf. Athletes score by getting a standard number 5 size soccer ball into the holes which are 52 cm in diameter. Being played in England and Spain for the first time in 2007, FootGolf spread to Europe and from there to the USA in short time. FootGolf is played in a field with 18 holes. Every hole is marked with its own distance (meter) and number of kicks. The longest hole distance is limited to 300 meters in this game, while it is 600 meters in golf. Contrary to the golf, this game has the rule of continuance regardless of weather conditions. The FootGolf classification in the world is determined by the scores achieved in the Official FIFG Tournaments. Some of these tournaments are held in our country. The TFGD as an exclusive member of the FIFG with a 40 member countries is responsible from keeping records of the Turkish classification and the scores achieved by the Turkish players in our country. Every Turkish player who is also a player of the TFGD has the right to represent our country at international organizations and score points at the tournaments held in our country in the world classification.
One of the most interesting rules of FootGolf is the care you need to show both for yourself and your opponent. Each player has to wear a colored polo neck, shorts or golf pants as well as under-knee socks and indoor soccer shoes. Wearing cleats and soccer uniforms are strictly prohibited. Each player has to mark his/her own ball. Players wait for their turns after reviewing the score card. It is necessary to make sure that no one else is going for the same hole and the hole is available before a kick. A single kick is made to the ball. Dribbling the ball is not allowed. After a kick, it is waited for the ball to come to a halt. The position of the ball cannot be changed. The following first kick is made by the player whose ball is the farthest to the hole. If the ball lands in a water hazard or a golf green or out of bonds, the player gets one strike penalty and can place the ball at the position of the previous kick. Landing pits are leveled after kicks and appropriately prepared for the next FootGolf player.
FootGolf doesn’t require much effort. There are different categories for the age 15 and under and for the age 50 and over. Athletes compete in three leagues namely youth, women, and adult. Although most world champions come form golf backgrounds, it is highly possible for someone with no golf experience to achieve success in this sports branch. FootGolf requires foot skills while golf requires arm, back, and waist coordination. First official FootGolf field in Turkey is located in Kemer Golf Resort in İstanbul. The second preference of the FootGolf players is Kaya Palazzo Golf Club in Belek, Antalya. It seems as the FootGolf fields that are planned to be build in different cities such as Ankara and Muğla will increase the interest in this sports branch rapidly. The FootGolf Assembly of Youth and Sports, which was established in 2018, signs under different projects in this area. The assembly tries to popularize this game by holding FootGolf organizations. They target to establish a successful and just competition system in Turkey to achieve success for our country in the international tournaments.