GENEVA – With the recent World Cup demonstrating an increase in soccer popularity in the United States, a sport called FootGolf is also on the rise.
Using a regulation-size soccer ball, FootGolf combines the basics of soccer and golf into one sport. Players play with golf rules except clubs and golf balls are replaced with feet and soccer balls. The Federation for International FootGolf has 12 members and held the first FootGolf World Cup in Budapest in 2012.
FootGolf recently came to the area, as the Mill Creek Golf Club in Geneva has added FootGolf to its par-3 course. The timing of opening the course during soccer's World Cup was merely a coincidence, but perhaps a fortunate one.
“People have been raving about it,” Mill Creek general manager Steve Feddern said. “We just want people out here having fun, that’s the bottom line.”
Feddern met with Mill Creek’s parent company, Eagle Golf, in Dallas, Texas, this spring, and the opportunity came up to put FootGolf into the Chicago area market. With Mill Creek already having a practice par-3 course on its site, the decision to add FootGolf was a no-brainer.
The FootGolf course opened at Mill Creek on July 3 on its short par-3 course located across the street from the clubhouse in the Mill Creek neighborhood. The course will continue to be used by both golfers and FootGolfers alike as the two can be played in conjunction with one another. The FootGolf holes – 21 inches in diameter – are just off the greens, in the fringe or rough area.
“Whether it’s FootGolf or it’s soccer players that like FootGolf and want to give regular golf a try, we just want to kids out on the course,” Feddern said.
Eventually, Mill Creek could host actual tournaments for professional FootGolfers in the area through the Illinois FootGolf Association.
So far in the course’s first few weeks, the plan has worked, attracting both soccer players and golfers to try out the new facilities.
“We can come out and enjoy the game that we love,” Sarah Migliazzo, a Geneva and Mill Creek resident, said as she and her children recently visited the course.
“It’s a great idea,” Geneva’s Amy Ahean added. “If you can’t get 11 people together, you can do this and just enjoy the day.”
Rates are $10 for adults and $5 for kids and each payment grants patrons unlimited trips through the course for the rest of the day. Ball rentals are also available for $3.
The course's grand opening took place July 26 after an earlier date was washed away by inclement weather.