By Chris Mellides
The Town of Huntington’s Dix Hills Park Golf Course became the first official FootGolf course on Long Island this weekend. The town’s aims: to stoke an interest in golf among young people and generating extra revenue for maintenance costs.
Originally created in the Netherlands, FootGolf is becoming increasingly popular across the nation, so it felt appropriate to bring it here to Long Island, said Huntington Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson, who got the idea from his brother-in-law, who lives in Augusta, Georgia.
“His kids are soccer players, he saw it played down there and they had all participated, so it seemed like a great idea to transplant here on Long Island.”
The game is played much like traditional golf, except players use a regulation No. 5 soccer ball instead of a golf ball.
Rather than being struck by a club, the ball is kicked across the green, and players must attempt to sink the soccer ball into a 21-inch round cup, with the least amount of kicks as possible.
Don McKay, Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Huntington, said FootGolf at the Dix Hills Golf Course is a welcome addition.
“Instead of an empty course, you’ll have people coming who can bring their kids,” said McKay. “There’s no need for a club membership, no training, and no fancy equipment. It’s the perfect environment to relax and have fun.”
The Dix Hills course was the only official FootGolf course listed on the American FootGolf League’s website.
With the first two games hosted at the Dix Hills Golf Course last weekend, Cuthbertson believes FootGolf will be a hit moving forward, and that this golf alternative has the potential to be a vehicle for raising money for charity on Long Island.
“If they want to add a little bit to the price for the round and raise money, whether it’s a thousand dollars or five dollars above it that’s great, and then that money can be used towards their favorite charity,” Cuthbertson said.
While there’s been excitement over this emerging sport, PGA professional and Long Island resident George Dixon is worried that avid golfers might not find FootGolf to their liking.
“There’s mixed feelings among other clubs who take the game of golf seriously,” Dixon said. “However, if we can introduce some new golfers to the game through this alternative than that’s a success.”