Interview with an expert
Some questions that I posted to Ro at FOOTEE TALLAGHT about the burgeoning foot-golf scene in Ireland
1: Where did the idea come from, to bring footgolf to Tallaght and to Ireland?
I returned to education in 2012, embarking on a postgrad in Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Enterprise at the Innovation Academy, UCD. One of my deliverables for the course was to bring a viable new business proposition to the Irish market. I had seen FootGolf a coupe of years previously and loved the concept, believed it would be very popular in Ireland with our keen interest in sport, and the timing was just right as golf courses were facing closure around the country in the midst of recession.
2:Can it grow as a sport in Ireland/World wide? What are the participation levels so far in the game?
Since I opened the first course in Ireland in 2013, there are now 30+ courses dotted throughout the country, some excellent, and some incredibly poor representations of the concept. From a leisure point of view, the sport is thriving in Ireland as one of the leading birthday party/stag activities. The Irish FootGolf Association (which I founded in 2014) estimates that over 80,000 people play FootGolf annually.
In terms of FootGolf as a sport worldwide, it’s getting there (albeit slowly). Participation on a competitive level is increasing in some countries (UK, France in particular), but unfortunately here in Ireland it has been a real slow burner. We average only between 20 – 25 players in domestic tournaments this year. Our flagship event – The FootGolf Irish Open – has always faired way better with over 130 participants at each of our last two events.
3: I found footgolf has its own unique challenges (not thinking to kick as a straight football pass, for example)……how can a novice get better, any tips on how to improve my game…..
Just like golf, putting is key. Anyone with even a passing interest in FootGolf tends to be able to strike a ball well, but it really comes down to short approach shots and getting the ball in the hole. Best tip I can give to any budding FootGolfer would be to practice all types of putts from within 10 yards. If you can master those tricky, missable short putts, you’re off to a good start.
4: Reaction from the golfing fraternity? (as footgolf does sometimes share greens, courses)
Generally negative, as golfers don’t like sharing their fairways or clubhouses with the “hooligans”, lol. Shameful reactions at some courses trying out FootGolf to help boost revenues, where the golfers have got their way in the end and forced clubs to reconsider.
5: The future of the game? Tournaments? Professional players? World cups? TV?
All of the above. It won’t happen overnight but steps have already been taken to have FootGolf recognised as an official sport by the World Sport Accord.
FOOTEE TALLAGHT is Ireland’s Original & Best FootGolf Course! Situated in Tallaght just off the M50, footee is for people of all ages and fitness levels, males and females, young and old. Don’t worry about bringing your own football as you can always rent one for €2.
Get Outdoors. Get Active. Get Your Kicks.
Full article here
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