Sunday, June 17, 2018
Sports

FootGolf kicks off at Largo Golf Club with open house, tournament

LARGO

Hit the links but leave the clubs at home. A new hybrid sport called FootGolf is coming to the Largo Golf Club.

"It's like the game of golf, only played with a soccer ball," said Jason Wilson, the golf course's supervisor. "It's pretty exciting. We're the eighth certified FootGolf course in the nation, the second in Florida and first in Tampa Bay."

The game is played using a regulation No. 5 soccer ball on a golf course where 21-inch diameter holes, 14 inches deep, have been carved into the turf. Players tee off and aim for the holes marked with red flags, kicking their way through the 9- or 18-hole course with as few shots as possible. The lowest score wins.

FootGolf kicks off this weekend with two big events.

On Saturday, the golf course hosts its inaugural FootGolf Open House. Beginning at 1 p.m., all are invited to "walk the course and kick the ball around." The event is free and includes music, complimentary food and drinks, and giveaways. Participants are encouraged to bring their soccer ball. Loaners will be available on a limited basis.

Then at 4 p.m., those who have preregistered to play in Sunday's Tampa Bay FootGolf Open, a game sanctioned by the Florida FootGolf Association and the American FootGolf League, can play a practice round.

On Sunday, registration for the open begins at 11:30 a.m. with tee off at 1 p.m. and an awards ceremony at 4 p.m. The tournament is limited to the first 96 FootGolfers and consists of a round of FootGolf along with complimentary lunch, FootGolf hats and prizes. Fees range from $59 for an individual, $105 for a twosome and $199 for a foursome. Go online to footgolf.net to preregister.

Note that soccer cleats will not be allowed on the course — only indoor turf shoes or sneakers. Casual dress is fine for the open house, but proper attire is encouraged for the tournament and includes a collared shirt and shorts (no soccer attire). For a really dapper look, come dressed with a drivers cap and argyle socks — knee-highs, if you please.

FootGolf is a family-friendly game designed to appeal to not only dad, but mom, the kids, and grandma and grandpa, too.

"Anyone that can kick a soccer ball," said Wilson.

• • •

Golf courses have seen declining revenues during the recession but FootGolf, which is sweeping through Europe, South America and has a foothold in California, could be a game changer for Largo and the industry as a whole.

"We're an executive (shorter) golf course that traditionally attracts seniors and beginners," Wilson said. "We want to expand our customer base and draw in people of all ages. As they become familiar with the game and the course, they may try golf, too."

He said the shorter, city-owned course is an ideal length for soccer kicks.

The advantages of FootGolf are many.

The game can be played in a relatively short time — about an hour and 15 minutes for nine holes. No special skills or equipment are needed to play. It's good exercise. You can ride a golf cart around the course, or choose to walk since there are no heavy clubs to carry.

It's cheaper than golf, too.

Rounds for 18 holes are $15 to walk and $20 to ride a golf cart. Juniors, 14 and under, walk for $5; ride for $10 with a paying adult.

• • •

Beginning Oct. 12, regular tee times for FootGolf will be available on weekend afternoons. Plans are for the traditional golfers to play simultaneously with FootGolfers on the course.

It will be interesting to see how cheers and squeals from little kickers are received.

"We're looking forward to that," said Wilson. "We aren't a traditional golf course; we're part of the city of Largo's recreation department. We do have some core golfers that we definitely don't want to interfere with and usually they just play in the mornings.

"We will have to do our part and teach FootGolfers about the etiquette of golf."

Correspondent Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at [email protected]

     
Comments

Tarpons’ Castillo, North squad notch FSL All-Star Game victory

TAMPA — The Tarpons' Diego Castillo led the North squad to a 5-0 victory in the 57th Florida State League All-Star Game on his home field Saturday night.The game MVP went 2-for-4 with two doubles and started the scoring for the North in the sec...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Sunday, June 17

TODAYAutosXfinity: Iowa 250 qualifying2:30 p.m.FS2Xfinity: Iowa 2505 p.m.FS1BaseballMarlins at Orioles1 p.m.FSFRays at Yankees2 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMAstros at Royals2 p.m.MLBRed Sox at Mariners (in progress)5 p.m.MLBCubs at Cardinals8 p.m.ESPNCollege b...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

Rays journal: Arroyo on DL, Hechavarria returns

NEW YORK — Just when it seemed like SS Adeiny Hechavarria might not play another game for the Rays, he will rejoin them on Sunday.The Rays announced after Saturday's 4-1 loss that INF Christian Arroyo was placed on the DL due to an oblique stra...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

RHP Ryne Stanek did his job as the opener just fine in getting four outs on Saturday, but for the Rays' unorthodox pitching plan to work it takes a team effort. And LHP Ryan Yarbrough's inability to throw strikes quickly put them in a hole.The experi...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Updated: 10 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

For starters: Rays at Yankees, trying to break through

UPDATE, 11:49: Cash said he played Cron at 1B in an effort to get him more involved in the game, indicated he may do so again Sunday (with Bauers off vs. LH Sabathia) and should have done so more as Cron struggled. … Cash reiterated that CF Kev...
Published: 06/16/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg frustrated, but optimistic

NEW YORK — So what does the boss — lowercase, of course, around here — think of this up-and-down, hot-and-cold Rays season so far? Appropriately, a variety of things.In a 30-minute chat with the Tampa Bay Times before Friday's 5-0 l...
Published: 06/15/18