Norwich’s footgolf courses hailed a success

Footgolf opening at Mousehold pitch and putt course back in August. Cllr Roger Ryan with Alex Meeken

Footgolf opening at Mousehold pitch and putt course back in August. Cllr Roger Ryan with Alex Meeken, Nathan Young and Lewis Rump. Picture: Antony Kelly - Credit: Archant

It's one of the UK's fastest growing sports and Norwich people appear to have decided it suits them to a tee.

There were eyebrows raised when Norwich City Council splashed out £5,000 to create the city's first footgolf course in Eaton Park last year, taking up part of the pitch and putt course.

But new figures have shown that the investment to create a course for the hybrid sport, which mixes football with golf, paid off. Almost 4,300 people have enjoyed a round of the game since the course opened in August 2015.

That generated £26,000 in income for a council which has had to look for new ways to generate money as government funding dwindles.

The success at Eaton, coupled with a national decline in people playing pitch and putt, prompted the council to create a second course at Mousehold pitch and putt, off Heartsease Lane. That opened this August and brought in £3,350 in its first month.

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Roger Ryan, the city council's cabinet member for customer care and leisure, said: 'At a time when we are having to explore ways of increasing income, I am pleased to be able to report on the success of a new service that has not only developed a new income stream with low level investment, but has also brought a new sport to the city and a new opportunity for children and families to get active.

'It is also pleasing to see the role footgolf is playing in getting children and families active, with the proportion of ticket sales for juniors and families playing footgolf being greater than for pitch and putt.'

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Of the decision to open a new course in Mousehold, Mr Ryan said: 'The course makes footgolf more accessible to residents living on the east side of the city.

'It has different opening times to Eaton, so footgolf can be played in Norwich every day of the week, except Wednesdays, during the summer sports season and it provides a different experience and challenge to the Eaton park course.'

The origins of the sport are unclear, with some claims that former Barcelona player Juan Manuel Aensi invented it, although the Netherlands was where the first proper tournament took place.

The first Footgolf World Cup took place in Hungary in 2012.

How to play footgolf

Footgolf is played with a size 5 football.

The object of the game is to get the ball into the hole using only your feet in the fewest number of shots possible.

The rules are:

Keep pace with the other groups in play.

If you fall behind let players pass.

Wait for the ball to come to a complete stop before the next kick.

Tee shots must be played from up to two metres behind the tee line.

Only one ball must be in motion at any one time.

Loose articles may be removed without penalty (branches, leaves stones etc).

You can lift or drop a ball without penalty if an immovable obstruction hinders play (tee sign, fence, cart etc).

If a ball is deemed out of bounds or unplayable it can be dropped in play with a one stroke penalty, but no more than one metre closer to the hole or alternatively if it can be replayed from the previous shot.

When another player is to play do not stand directly behind them or in line with the hole as this may cause a distraction.

Maximum score is 10 shots per hole.

When can I play?

Footgolf can be played at the following times:

Until October 23:

Eaton Park

Tuesday – 3pm to dusk

Friday – 3pm to dusk

Saturday – 1pm to dusk Mousehold

Monday – 3pm to dusk

Thursday – 3pm to dusk

Sunday – 1pm to dusk

After October 23

The Mousehold course will be shut until March, but footgolf will be available at Eaton Park on Saturdays from 10am until dusk. The pitch and putt course in the park is open other days from 9am until dusk.

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