What is Foot Golf? – Rules Explained for Beginners!

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When you think of golf, the first thing that comes to mind might be Tiger Woods or even country clubs. But have you ever heard of Foot Golf? It’s a relatively new sport where people use their feet instead of a golf club – but what exactly is foot golf and how do you play?

Foot Golf is a sport that features aspects of both soccer and golf but is aligned more to golf. The aim of foot golf is to kick a soccer ball into a hole that is 50 to 52 cm in diameter in as few shots as possible. The player that completes the course with the lowest number of shots wins.

The official name of Foot Golf is FootGolf and from now on, this is the term we will use in our blog post to reference the sport.

If you are new to Footgolf then check out the video below which gives a great visual overview of this fast-growing sport in the US.

Rules of FootGolf

Although FootGolf is regarded as a casual game there are strict rules you must follow in order to play. Abiding by the rules makes the sport more fun to play because everyone is on a level playing field.

The game in the US is governed by the American FootGolf Federation and although they have a detailed list of rules which include many do’s and don’t they also have a handy guide for beginners called “FootGolf for Dummies”.

This is a great way of explaining how the game works, etiquette on the course, and more to beginners. The basic rules include:

Overview of FootGolf

Foot Golf is played from the teeing zone and you have to try to get your ball into the hole in as few kicks possible.

This game is self-played and requires players to act responsibly in the accordance to the spirit of the game. All players should behave in a well-mannered way during every game. This is what FootGolf’s all about!

What Should You Wear at FootGolf?

On most courses, you can pretty much wear what you like as long as it’s decent!

But if you want to take the sport seriously then you should wear the following on the course:

  1. Hat: A traditional golf flat cap or baseball-style golf cap.
  2. Shirt / Blouse: A smart shirt or blouse with collar that is breathable and allows you to play the game in comfort.
  3. Legs: Wear proper golf shorts with knee-high socks, also called Argyle socks these are “criss-cross” designed socks that serious players always wear!
  4. Shoes: The best shoes to wear are soccer styled indoor Astro boots or smart sneakers.
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What Equipment Do I Need to Play in FootGolf?

The ball is the most important piece of equipment in FootGolf and you must play with an official size 5 soccer ball.

This ball is classed as adult-sized and has a 68cm to 70cm circumference depending on how hard the ball is blown up.

There no rules on what type of tee you should play with but the Federation recommends all players should use a FIFG approved tee. (FIFG stands for Federation for International FootGolf).

Starting the Game

Get to the first tee at least 10 minutes before your scheduled tee time.

It’s not advisable that you work on any strategy on the course before you start and you are not allowed practice kicks before your match!

Teeing Zone – Who Goes First?

The correct protocol for teeing off in FootGolf is as follows:

  • The player with the lowest score from the previous hole always goes first.
  • Wait your turn to kick the soccer ball down the fairway.
  • You can kick direct from the ground or use a tee that is placed up to 2m from behind the tee-off markers.  (Using a tee is optional and many players prefer not using one).

Fairway Play

After kicking the ball down the fairway, what happens next?

Whoever is furthest away from the hole takes their turn first on the fairway. Any balls

Once you have played your shot, take note of any balls that are in the way or placed in a position that could be deemed advantageous.

The offending balls must be marked and removed immediately.

If your ball interferes with another player, you will be able to mark it.

Sand Traps – How to Play in Bunkers with FootGolf?

If you are in the bunker, do not attempt to lift the ball out in a scooping motion.

After you have completed your kick, remember to rake the bunker so it’s ready for the next unfortunate golfer who ends in the sand trap!

Green Zone – What Is It?

The green zone is just the green and if you kick your ball within 3 meters of the hole you are obliged to mark it.

Failure to mark the ball results in one penalty stroke for both yourself and the player that kicks the ball into yours.

To mark the ball, you need to put your ball marker behind it as if it is in line with the hole.

You can put the ball by using your toe or the instep of your foot. You cannot use the sole of your shoe to cushion and guide the ball into the hole.

This is called “rolling” and is against both the rules and spirit of the sport.

Water Hazards – The Penalties Explained

A FootGolf course has two types of water hazards that every player should be made aware of.

These are labeled as red (water traps to the side) and yellow (at the front of the hole).

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You cannot kick a ball that is floating in the water – it’s against the rules and you must take the penalty kick of plus one to your score for that hole.

A legal kick in water is when the ball is not floating – for example if you kick the ball and it ends up in shallow water with it sitting on a solid footing.

On YELLOW marked penalties:

  • Return the ball to the spot you last played it from.
  • Kick the ball from the position where it last crossed the water trap and the pin.
  • You can move the ball back as much as you want.
  • Balls that end up past the hazard and end up in a post green water trap can drop the ball at the point it entered the water.

On RED marked penalties: 

  • Red penalties apply to the above or:
  • The next kick must be 2 meters or below at the point it entered the water.
  • For shots that result in the ball landing in over 50% of the length of the water hazard then you can take the drop at the point of entry.

What to Do if You Hit the Ball Out of Bounds

If you hit your ball outside of the course boundary, you must take a penalty shot and return to where your last kick was.  (There is no provision for a drop).

The STOP Shout and When to Use It

When the wind is blowing or it is hard to keep your ball still on the ground once the shot has been played, you can shout “STOP!”.

You then mark the ball.

Your ball can’t be picked up unless another player requests that you do. If it moves, you can position it back.

How to Score in FootGolf

In TopGolf you score other players and before the first kick is teed off in the game all players must hand their scorecard to another player.

Every score on each hole must be written clearly.

After every hole that has been completed – verify that all scores are correct and at the end of the match each player must sign other player scores.

What Else Should I Know When Playing FootGolf?

Smoking, drug-taking, drinking too much alcohol, and abusive language are not allowed when you are playing Foot Golf.

Nor are uniforms from other sports such as football or basketball.

This helps to keep the sport fun, relaxing, and safe for everyone, after all, FootGolf is designed to appeal to all ages from kids to adults.

Are You Ready To Try FootGolf?

Play fair on the FootGolf course and you’ll have a great time.

FootGolf is an exciting, new way to enjoy America’s favorite pastime with your friends and family.

The benefits of this sport include calorie burning, physical fitness and spending quality time outdoors in a relaxing environment.

We hope you find our article on what is Foot Golf useful and informative- it’s a perfect way to enjoy an active lifestyle and learn a new sport!


Image credit: JuanMFernandez2000, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons