By Brad Fauber
Soccer has long been the world's most popular sport, and the game has seen a rising interest throughout the United States in recent years. Soccer is becoming so popular, in fact, that people have begun to find ways infuse aspects of the sport into other activities.
That's the idea behind footgolf -- a golf and soccer hybrid -- and the sport is coming to the area for the first time.
The American FootGolf League (AFGL) is bringing one of its official tournaments to northern Virginia this weekend, as the Washington, D.C. FootGolf Open is scheduled for today and Sunday at Lake Ridge Golf Course (Woodbridge) and General's Ridge Golf Course (Manassas Park) respectively. Both courses are owned and operated by Billy Casper Golf.
"They basically wanted to bring an event to the area. It's a chance to show off the footgolf courses," said Andy DeKeuster, who works with Billy Casper Golf's in-house public relations firm, Buffalo Communications.
The two, one-day stroke play tournaments can be played independently today and Sunday, but both are part of the larger D.C. FootGolf Open. Today's event at Lake Ridge will be a nine-hole tournament beginning at 9 a.m., with the possibility of a second nine-hole tournament being held after lunch if participants are interested, DeKeuster said.
Sunday's tournament at General's Ridge will consist of 18 holes, and the event will tee off at 1 p.m. with an awards ceremony to follow its conclusion.
Participants can play for one day for $40 at Lake Ridge and $79 at General's Ridge, or they can register for both days for $119. The fee for signing up two players is $219 and for four players is $399. Each entry includes lunch, prizes, a gift bag and a customary footgolf hat.
The concept of footgolf is simple. It plays just like a standard game of golf except that a soccer ball is kicked the length of the course instead of using a golf ball and clubs. The object is to sink the soccer ball in the 21-inch cup in as few strokes as possible. The tournament will be operated under the rules established by the AFGL.
Golf courses need to be slightly modified to accommodate footgolf play, DeKeuster said, and the holes are cut into the rough to avoid damage to fairways and greens. DeKeuster said that modifications to the Lake Ridge and General's Ridge golf courses began back in March.
Footgolf's invasion into the area may have been spurred on by the high level of interest in this year's FIFA World Cup, DeKeuster said.
"I was reading something on ESPN where there were some record views for the World Cup," DeKeuster said. "Obviously soccer has got a pretty good foothold in the U.S. and particularly in D.C., so I think part of it was that. And it's a fun way to get people out on the golf course."
For more information or to register for the event, visit footgolftour.com.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org