I had never been a soccer fan. For years I have driven by soccer fields and seen
the masses and thought to myself, this is a detriment to golf because all of
these kids were playing soccer and not Junior golf. My perception changed with a
text I received from my daughter Ambry while I attended the PGA Merchandise Show
at Orlando in January.
That text is still on my phone. "You need to talk to Tom Morton (PGA pro in
Sacramento) about FootGolf. Playing using a soccer ball. Only 45 facilities in
the country doing it because it is so new, but it would be a home run at your
facility. You could set up the FootGolf on the par three course and it wouldn't
interfere with regular play."
I Googled FootGolf and watched a 3-4 minute YouTube video showing the sport being
played at Haggin Oaks Golf Course which is Morton's facility. What I watched was
amazing. It was a bunch of young people playing FootGolf at an outing and using
golf cars. They were kicking a soccer ball to a 21-inch hole. To say the
FootGolfers were having fun was the understatement of the year.
The next thing I did was to reach out to Roberto Balestrini from Southern
California. He founded the American FootGolf League. Sign me up. Balestrini's
magnetic personality was all it took and I have become the leading spokesperson
for FootGolf in the American golf population. In January there were only a few
dozen courses and today that number has swollen to over 100 nationwide. FootGolf
is now in over 30 States and in January the number was only 11. Let the craze
This Saturday, May 3 will be "FootGolf Day in The North America" thanks to
Balestrini. If you have interest in seeing an Indiana first come out to The
Legends Golf Club on 2555 North Hurricane Road in Franklin. If you want to play
this Saturday in the event call 317/736-8596 and we will take the first 12
players at no cost!
Franklin Mayor Joe McGuiness has declared Saturday as "FootGolf Day in
Franklin." HBO and Golf Channel have arranged for film crews to capture the
historic event which will be conducted on the Dye Course Par 3 at The Legends.
Last week Franklin College soccer coach Shaun Mahoney brought his team out for a
trial run and said, "FootGolf is awesome. My guys loved it."
When I decided to incorporate FootGolf into our program at The Legends, I was
introduced to Dan Kapsalis by my son-in-law Ted Davidson. Kapsalis was a member
of two NCAA soccer championship teams at Indiana University. He lated coached
Carmel to a State Championship and has founded the Indianapolis area youth
"I immediately fell in love with the concept. For decades we have been playing a
form of FootGolf in our soccer practices. But, we kicked to stationary objects
such as goal posts, trash cans are lamp posts," said Kapsalis. "Now to be able
to go to be real live golf course and play to a 21-inch hole is unbelievable.
"I had a chance to play a The a Legends FootGolf course lady weekend and it is
great," remarked Kapsalis. "Soccer people are going to love this. We played 18
holes in just over two hours."
According to Kapsalis there are over 65,000 kids playing soccer in Central
Indiana. Nationwide there are over 50 million soccer players which is twice the
number of golfers in the U.S. Soccer is growing at an 8% rate per year while
golf has seen a slight decline each year over the past five. From my vantage
point, this is the classic form of- if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
FootGolf is an affordable activity. 18-hole green fees are $15. The Legends is
offering a Junior Rate for kids 18 and under of $8. Players can walk or ride.
FootGolfers are encouraged to bring their own soccer balls or they can be rented
at the facility which also has Junior sized balls for kids. The dress is
encouraged to be the official uniform of FootGolf which is shorts with
knee-length argyle socks and a special FootGolf cap. Collared shirts are
preferred. However, this dress will not be required for casual play at The
The Franklin Chamber of Commerce is the first golf outing to offer a Foot golf
component on June 5 with the idea of giving non-golfers a chance to be part of
their outing. As of now, The Legends has booked five stand alone Foot golf
outings including one on June 21 with the Brickyard Battalion, the fan club of
the Indy Eleven our pro soccer team in the North American Soccer League. The
club has picked a Saturday during the World Cup competition and will use it as a
This Saturday will be primarily known for the Kentucky Derby or the Mini
Marathon. However, there is a historical element to this week being the premier
of FootGolf in Indiana. While it will be the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby
it will be the initial launch of FootGolf in the Hoosier State. Soccer combined
with golf to form a sporting thoroughbred.
What will they be saying about FootGolf in 140 years?