JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
Team Charleston FootGolfers came out to Wrenwoods Golf Course, July 11, 2014, to participate in the Air Force's first ever Battle FootGolf competition, as part of the monthly fitness challenges offered by the Joint Base Charleston Air Base Fitness and Sports Center.
Twenty-two, six-player teams competed for the lowest score, with Airmen from the 437th Aerial Port Squadron taking home the win with a score of 60 for the 18-hole course.
"I saw the poster at the base fitness center and realized it was soccer and golf, my two favorite sports, so I got a team together," said Staff Sgt. Richard Babb, 437th APS air transportation craftsman and team captain. "We came out to win."
FootGolf takes place on a golf course, but instead of using a golf ball and clubs, players use their feet and a soccer ball. Aaron Sales, JB Charleston Golf Operations general manager, explained the traditional FootGolf game follows the basic rules of golf, but organizers here adapted local rules for the 'battle' portion of the game to make the match more competitive.
"Our superintendent, Brian Brown, who's involved in the soccer community, came up with the 'battle' idea, which is definitely a unique spin on what we typically offer," said Sales.
For this event, a pair of teams tee-off by each making their first kick toward the hole. For the second kick, each team had the option to kick the opposing team's ball away from the hole. This counts as a stroke for the opposing team, and with a six-stroke maximum at each hole, added another level to the competition. Teams continued to sprint throughout the course to kick the ball, with each kick counting as a stroke, until they either made the goal or took the six stroke maximum for the hole.
While the Battle FootGolf was fast-paced and challenging, Sales said they welcome FootGolfers to participate recreationally anytime during the week and after noon on weekends and holidays. The fees to play are $7 for E1-E4 Airmen and Sailors, $5 for juniors under age 17, and $10 for everyone else. Soccer balls are available for rent for $4 and golf carts are also available for rent should you choose to ride while playing, explained Sales.
"The great thing about FootGolf is anyone can play and kick a ball around the course," said Sales. "FootGolf is a great activity for friends and families looking to have lots of fun."
Sales explained that FootGolf is an official sport popular in both Europe and South America, and was established in the United States in 2011 through the American FootGolf League. He added that Wrenwoods Golf Course is the first accredited course recognized in South Carolina, as well as the first in the Air Force, and that the Redbank Plantation Golf Course on the Weapons Station is expected to begin offering the game Aug. 1.
"By having two 18-hole FootGolf courses available for Joint Base Charleston, we will soon be offering FootGolf as an alternative fundraising golf tournament for squadrons," said Sales. "Think about it, you don't have to have golf clubs or deal with the intimidation factor of hitting a small white ball. All you have to do is kick a soccer ball. I believe this creates a more welcoming environment than traditional golf. We are also offering PT FootGolf free of charge to squadrons and units from 6:30 - 7:00 a.m. weekday mornings."
Sales added he hopes more people will come to the Joint Base Charleston golf courses to try FootGolf and that they plan to make the Battle FootGolf an annual fitness event.
Though anyone is welcome to play, customers are encouraged to "dress the part," to include wearing: indoor soccer shoes or turf soccer shoes (no soccer cleats), golf cap, collared shirt and knee high argyle socks.
For more information on FootGolf or to reserve squadron PT or a recreational game, contact Wrenwoods Golf Course at 963-1833 or Redbank Plantation Golf Course at 794-7802.