Kern River Golf Course offers footgolf

Footgolf is offered at golf courses across the country, including in the Kern Valley. | Unsplash/Paola F

A fun game that has gained momentum around the world in recent years is footgolf – a combination of football and golf that can be played by people of all ages.

Footgolf is played much like golf, in terms of the aim of the game, but players use a football instead of a golf ball. It is normally played on a golf course and the soccer ball is thrown towards, and ultimately into, a 52 centimeter cup, according to the American Footgolf Federation. The player who completes the course with the fewest strokes is the winner.

The first shot is played from a tee box. Since the soccer ball does not travel as far with each kick as a golf ball, the course is generally shorter, but it usually includes features such as bunkers and obstacles that players must navigate around. Pars are normally five moves or less. The official rules of the game were created in 2013 by the International FootGolf Federation.

According to footgolffrenzy.com, the game’s origin is a bit unclear, as it has been attributed to a number of countries. One story is that Juan Manuel Aensi from Barcelona created the game in 2008. The first footgolf tournament was held in Holland in 2008, organized by Bas Korsten and Michael Jansen. It was played on a golf course and included professional football players from Belgium and Holland.

The idea for the game reportedly came to Jansen from Willem Korsten, who was a Dutch soccer player for Tottenham Hotspur. He said he would end practice by kicking a soccer ball into the locker room from the field.

Wikipedia says code ball was a game with similar rules that was popular in the 1920s and 1930s.

“Regardless of when footgolf was invented, its popularity emerged at a time when golf was losing its battle to attract new players from the younger generation,” according to footgolffrenzy.com. “Some have given him credit for saving many struggling golf courses from permanent closure. The game, with its simplicity and fun factor, is believed to have attracted more people to try the sport and thus helped to generate additional revenue for golf courses. »

Kern Valley Footgolf

The United States Soccer Federation has chapters in every state, including California, which 598 people currently follow on Facebook. Information on local competitions and events is also available at footgolf.us.

In Bakersfield, footgolf is offered at Kern River Golf Course. For 18 holes, it costs $15 for adults and $11 for children under 17. Cart rentals are $12 and balls can be rented for $5. The course was created in 2018 and was the first of its kind in the region. Kern River Golf Course requires proper attire, which is similar to golf. Soccer spikes and cleats are prohibited. Teeing off golf greens is also prohibited. The holes are located on the front nine of the course. The game is available daily after noon, however, starting March 15, tee times can be made Monday through Thursday after 4 p.m. Information can be found at kernrivergolf.com

According to footgolf.net, there are courses all over the United States and also in over 50 other countries around the world. Just outside the Kern Valley area are two other courses offering footgolf. The Delano Public Golf Course is located at 104 South Lexington St. in Delano and the Porterville Golf Course is at 702 E Isham Ave. in Porterville.

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