Eighteen-hole footgolf course to open at Gypsy Hill in Staunton

footgolfThe Gypsy Hill Golf Course will soon be introducing a new sport to its fairways. Starting April 1, footgolf, an international sport that is growing in popularity, will be available to the public and to current members. Footgolf is a combination of golf and soccer, using a regulation soccer ball. The objective is to get a soccer ball into the oversized hole in the fewest amount of kicks, or strokes. The holes are 21 inches in diameter and will be marked on the course with flags.

According to the United States Footgolf Association, which is the national governing body for the sport, more than 50 of the largest soccer clubs in the U.S. will bring footgolf to their players as either a recreational activity, fundraising opportunity, or to form a footgolf club. Additionally, more than 30 soccer organizations, including youth clubs, youth state associations and sports complexes, are committing to the sport.

Chris Tuttle, director of Staunton Parks and Recreation, first learned about footgolf while attending an educational session at the 2014 VRPS Annual Conference.

“After hearing a representative from the USFA give a presentation about the positive impact footgolf can have on golf courses, I thought it would make a good addition to the Gypsy Hill’s Golf Course,” Tuttle said. “I believe that the sport will bring a new customer base to the park, while allowing us to maintain the traditional golf course without interference.”

Footgolf holes range from 50 yards to 180 yards. The course is 18 holes and the same rules, conduct and etiquette for golf apply. Fortunately, this sport can be played alongside and in between regular golfers; however, footgolf tee times will be scheduled during off-peak hours. Just like golf, one must call for a tee time. This is a walking sport at Gypsy Hill, with the goal of promoting healthy, active lifestyles and encouraging families to learn the sport together. Participants must bring their own soccer ball, and wear regular tennis shoes or indoor cleats.

Currently, there are very few footgolf courses in Virginia. Staunton will join the ranks of those in Northern Virginia and Midlothian. Wes Allred, Gypsy Hill Golf Pro said: “In recent years most of us have noticed that golf is not as vibrant as it once was. Footgolf will bring a whole different clientele to the golf course, and we will be able to fill unwanted tee times as well.”

The cost per game for non-members will be $10 for adults and $8 for juniors (17 and under). For a family of 5 or more, the cost will be $25 for all. Footgolf players will receive a receipt upon registration that they must keep for the remainder of their game, as rangers will be roaming the course and checking receipts.

For general information about footgolf, visit www.usfootgolfassociation.org.

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