A review of the FootGolf UK Open

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 29, 2021 06:41

In August The Belfry’s greenkeepers modified the Derby course with new tee boxes and new greens cut for larger holes in order to welcome the FootGolf UK Open, the first ever footgolf event at the world famous resort.

The Belfry Hotel & Resort situated in the heart of the country in Royal Sutton Coldfield, North Warwickshire, renowned for its world-class golf courses, played host to the FootGolf UK Open 2021 in early August.

The FIFG World Tour was created in 2017 for players to compete internationally as well as domestically, today there are 33 FIFG members. Footgolf is totally inclusive with categories for men, women, and seniors (45+) plus sub-categories for rookies, over 50 and 55 as well as juniors.

Footgolf combines the best of football and golf and is played on a traditional golf course. Players kick a size five football around the course while trying to putt the ball into an enlarged hole in as few shots as possible. A round of Footgolf usually takes two to two and a half hours to complete compared to up to five hours for a round of regular golf.

The FootGolf UK Open 2021, had major international Footgolfers in attendance including Sophie Brown, female world champion; Matias Perrone, male world champion; world number one, Ben Clarke; and professional footballers Jamie O’Hara and Tom Williams. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic the tournament featured less players from overseas in comparison to previous years.

Footgolf uses the same model as golf, with a fairway, tees, hazards, bunkers and nine or 18 holes of play for players to navigate. During the FootGolf UK Open 2021, players had to make their way around 18 holes on the resort’s Derby course, a parkland golf course with far-reaching views across the Warwickshire countryside. The course was strategically adapted by the award-winning Belfry greenkeeping team to provide the perfect course for the tournament without affecting the quality of the course. This included new tee boxes added in and new greens cut for the holes. A footgolf course needs 21-inch diameter holes, compared to up to 4.5 inches for a golf hole, and the holes were also shortened to be under 190 yards each. Similar to there being different clubs used by golf players, footgolfers need to use different kicking moves and foot surfaces when making their shot.

James Willis, head of golf sales at The Belfry Hotel & Resort, has been involved with the planning of the tournament since the summer of 2020. Talking about the tournament at the resort, he said: “We were thrilled to host the FootGolf UK Open 2021, it is a great event to be involved with. Our courses are recognised as world-class with a rich golfing history, but this marked the first time footgolf has been played at The Belfry which is very exciting. It was fantastic to add yet another incredible high-scale and memorable sporting event to The Belfry’s history.

“Footgolf is breaking down barriers and making golf more accessible than ever to a wider audience. It’s the perfect way to get people who like playing football onto the course as footgolf can be played without any expert practice, and it can be played by everyone, whatever your age or ability. Many footgolf players aren’t golfers and haven’t even played golf before. Footgolf is an excellent form of exercise and beneficial for our mental and physical wellbeing, it is also introducing more and more people, especially the younger generation, to golf which is a great thing.”

The Belfry’s golf courses, including The Brabazon and The PGA National are recognised as world-class, having previously hosted The Ryder Cup four times – more than any other venue in the world – and 18 European Tour events, producing some of the most dramatic moments in the history of golf. Most recently, the iconic Brabazon course played host to the Betfred British Masters 2021, firmly placing The Belfry back on the tour agenda. However, the major footgolf tournament, part of the FIFG World Tour Major 1000, marked the first footgolf event held at The Belfry.

For more information on golf at The Belfry, please visit: www.thebelfry.com/golf

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick October 29, 2021 06:41
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1 Comment

  1. Magnus October 31, 17:11

    Great initiative! I designed a 9 hole golf and footgolf course (combined) for Bosjökloster GK (Swe) earlier this year. Growing in at the moment. Opens may 2022. Golfers and footgolfers in harmony together, having fun. ⛳️⚽️

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