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New-age golf .. Troy Spall, aged 9, left, Archie Spall, 4, Josh Dodge, 10, Keziah Bolton, 3, Oliver Bolton, 5, and Emelia Spall, 5, try out footgolf at the Rangiora Golf Course. PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP

By SHELLEY TOPP

A new form of golf using a size-five soccer ball and no clubs proved popular at Rangiora Golf Course last Sunday.

The game, known as footgolf, has gained popularity worldwide in recent years, with more than 500 courses in the United States alone.

Footgolf is a precision game, similar to golf but with a custom-made tee area and giant holes for the larger balls.

The aim is to kick the ball into the hole with as few kicks as possible.

The Rangiora Golf Club has developed a 9-hole footgolf course alongside its golf course. It is laid out with par three, four and five holes and there is an official scorecard.

“The terrain is rolling and some of the holes are dog-legs and set amongst trees so it can be quite challenging,” club member Wayne Hawkyard says. “It should take between 60-90 minutes to complete a round of nine holes for four people.

“It is a good, low-cost, family sport, suitable for all ages, and ideal for building on soccer skills,” he says.

The club’s footgolf open day last Sunday was held to launch the sport in North Canterbury.

New Zealand has 10 golf courses affiliated to the New Zealand Footgolf Association.

The Rangiora club hopes to become affiliated and is holding footgolf sessions at its course from 1.30pm to 4pm every Sunday from this weekend through May and June to ascertain the popularity of the sport.

Around 200 people attended the open day on Sunday, which exceeded expectations.

“We didn’t know what to expect but we were very pleased with the turnout,” Wayne says.