Just for fun: FootGolf at Cleveland Metroparks

For some people, golf is a slow-moving sport that's expensive to take up, is neck deep in boring etiquette, and requires at least one good pair of dress shorts. Fortunately, the Cleveland Metroparks has come to the rescue with a golf-like alternative where tank tops aren't frowned upon and you never have to worry about plucking the wrong club from your Callaway Odyssey bag.
FootGolf is a combination of soccer and golf in which players kick a regulation soccer ball onto shortened courses with 21-inch diameter cups in place of the usual golf hole. As in golf, the player who finishes with the fewest shots wins. The game is regulated by the good people at the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG), so participants can be comfortable knowing that everything is on the up-and-up.
"A 'kick' and a 'stroke' are similar, so rules-wise it's very similar to golf," says John Dorsey, head golf professional and clubhouse manager at Cleveland Metroparks. "It's mostly an individual sport where you're playing your own ball throughout the course."
Mastick Woods Golf Course has a certified, 18-hole FootGolf course, while a course at the Bedford Reservation offers nine holes. Weekday and weekend rates are $10.50 and $12.50, respectively, with discounted pricing for junior (17 and under) and senior (60 and over) footgolfers.
Now in its fourth year at the Metroparks, FootGolf attracts younger folks searching for a fun alternative to traditional sports. High-school soccer teams and even a few Cleveland-area companies enjoy a rousing round of FootGolf as a team-building exercise. Soccer or turf shoes are the only recommended attire for a game most anyone can play.
"It's definitely kid-friendly, because there's not much of a learning curve," Dorsey says. "You don't need to know much to kick a ball."
FootGolf-related events this summer include two- and four-player scrambles and a course championship at Mastick Woods. "Fun" is the operative word for this easily-accessible, lively sport, says Dorsey.
"If you watch soccer, it's high energy and fast-paced," he says. "You hear a lot of cheering and yelling."

Cleveland Metroparks is part of Fresh Water's underwriting support network.

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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