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FootGolf - a Mix of Soccer and Golf, Luring Players to Milwaukee Courses

Scott Wise

While the world’s top golfers compete this weekend in the British Open, Milwaukee's Lincoln Park will host a FootGolf tournament.

The sport arrived in America just two years ago, yet it's already luring new customers to the links.

Chris Wood says he hasn’t golfed in more than 10 years, but he’s out on a course, wearing his high school soccer jersey, kicking a soccer ball toward a two-foot deep hole.

"FootGolf is easier because all you need is a soccer ball and like six bucks and you can come out here and play. Instead of having to go buy $100 worth of golf clubs and a golf bag,” Wood says.

FootGolf players share the course with traditional golfers. But instead of kicking the soccer ball toward the cup, the FootGolf players aim for 21-inch holes, dug off to the sides of the greens.

Credit Scott Wise
...but they aim for a bigger cup, off to the side of greens

Novice player Wyatt Ploetz calls the sport deceptively tricky.“I thought the wind played a big deal in where the ball went,” Ploetz says.

In Milwaukee, Lincoln and Doyne Parks opened their FootGolf courses in May. The goal is to bring in a different crowd of customers, according to Chet Hendrickson, parks manager.

“Some people may not be interested in playing traditional golf, but some may be soccer players who are intrigued by the game of FootGolf,” Hendrickson says.

Hendrickson says it cost the county a couple thousand dollars to prepare the courses but the parks have already recouped that money and then some. That success has him thinking ahead.'

“Once we get more FootGolf players in the area, it make sense to hold some sort of regional championship where the winner would qualify for a national championship at a different time and location,” Hendrickson says.

For now, the Milwaukee Open will have to do. The FootGolf tournament kicks off at noon Saturday with free admission.

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