Soccer-golf hybrid kicks off in Surrey

SURREY – Get your knee-high argyle socks and flat caps ready because footgolf has landed in town.

Eaglequest Coyote Creek has opened a course for the soccer-golf cross sport and held a grand-opening event on Wednesday, July 23.

This is the first footgolf course to open in the Lower Mainland. There are already two other courses open in the province – one at Sun Rivers Golf Resort in Kamloops and the other at Skaha Meadows in Penticton.

Canadian FootGolf Association codirector Alex Elliot said that even though the weather didn’t cooperate, it didn’t dampen the mood of the day.

“The event went great,” he said. “It was the one rainy day of the month. But once you’re out there playing, it’s pretty fun, rain or shine.

“There was a 10-year-old who hit an eagle on a par five. He hit one over the river and it dropped in the hole,” Elliot added.

The sport is as simple as it sounds. Players kick a size five soccer ball down a fairway towards a 21-inch hole.

“For people who are playing for the first time, it’s pretty exhilarating,” Elliot said.

“They get to hit over the river, hit over the bunker and all the little obstacles really makes it a fun experience for the little guys. For the older crowd out there, for them to have a drink in hand and able to kick a soccer ball and enjoy the technique aspect of playing on a golf course is something different.”

The sport was created in the early 2000s, but the official rules were set in the Netherlands in 2009.

The event had 210 slots for players playing an 18-hole round and Elliot said they nearly filled them all, which he was impressed by as it was a Wednesday morning.

It cost $40 to play in the tournament. The cost included the green fees, a CFGA membership, lunch and a $5 donation towards the Right to Play organization.

He mentioned that Coyote Creek will hold two more events – one in August and one in September – with at least one of them landing on a Sunday.

Elliot, who is also one of the founders and co-owners of the Vancouver Futsal Association, said even though it is less of a high-intensity sport, the technical aspect is still present.

“It’s nice to play a sport like footgolf where the competitive level drops a bit, but the enjoyment and the ability to enjoy football culture and to get together with a bunch of guys and enjoy the sport,” he said.

The CFGA’s co-director also said the sport is all-inclusive and allows players of all skill levels and ages the chance to appreciate the sport.

“The thing I love about it is that anyone and everyone can play. Whether you’re an extremely talented soccer player, you can enjoy it for the technical aspects or if you’ve never played soccer before but you’re a soccer enthusiast and like watching soccer on TV, it’s a sport where you can still toepoke the ball down the pitch, have a drink in hand and enjoy the day.”

Getting Started

THE GEAR

The main thing needed to play any ball sport is the ball itself and footgolf is no different. Size five balls are used when playing and are available for rental before teeing off, or you can bring your own.

Despite soccer being a sport full of passion and excitement, footgolf is played on a golf course – which means that etiquette of the game is a little different.

This means be wary of how loud you are cheering when you sink a putt or land your approach on the green.

Soccer cleats are not allowed on the course because of the studs at the bottom of the shoes.

Flat runners or indoor shoes are options, but turf shoes are optimal. Elliot said that turf shoes have enough grip on the base of the shoes to prevent someone from slipping.

Players will also need to wear a collared shirt and golf shorts, but the courses are a little more relaxed on a day-to-day basis.

For those looking to play more seriously, there is a standard uniform players must wear on top of a collared shirt and golf shorts.

A flat cap or drivers hat should be worn as well as knee-high argyle socks for all tournaments and CFGA events.

WHERE TO GO

Currently there is only one course in the Lower Mainland. It is at Eaglequest Coyote Creek which can be found at 7778 152 St., Surrey. There are two other courses in the province and eight others across the country.

For more information, visit Footgolf.ca.

kyle.benning@gmail.com