Top footgolf tips for beginners including having the right equipment and focusing on accuracy rather than power.
The nice thing about footgolf is that if you’re a decent footballer, you should be able to play to a decent level within a few rounds of taking it up. If you have a reasonable knowledge of golf- how to read a course, how to use the contours, knowing when to be aggressive and when to play it safe etc – you’ll fare even better.
But whether it’s your first-ever attempt at this wonderful sport or you’ve played a couple of times and are looking to kick on, here are a few basic footgolf tips to get you on your way.
Number 1 footgolf tips: Buy a good ball
To play footgolf you’re going to need: a polo shirt, shorts with pockets and a place to put a belt, long socks, astro-turf football boots (none of those long studs for grass please, they’re forbidden) and a coin/marker to mark your ball. A hat and a good pair of sunglasses will be useful sooner or later as well. More experienced players carry a pump with them and pump up/let air out of the ball when appropriate from hole-to-hole but don’t worry about that too much for the time being.
But given this game is all about kicking a ball around a footgolf course, your most important piece of equipment is your ball. If you’re going to play for the first time, fine, use any old Size 5 ball.
But if you’re going to try to be as good as you can, the better your ball, the better you’re going to play.
There are several problems with using a cheap ball. The biggest is that they don’t travel far enough which is going to cost you when you need distance, particularly off the tee.It’s not much fun when your playing partner’s ball is going 25 metres further than yours despite hitting it with the same strength just because they ave a superior ball.
Other problems are that some are hard to lift high enough when you need them to or may even not roll straight.
So you might as well buy yourself a good one as soon as possible. Like with most things, you get what you pay for but with about 100 Euros/110 dollars/90 GBP you should get a pretty good one that should last you at least a couple of years.
Try out a few to see which one suits your style but if in doubt go for any of these: Jabulani, Speedcell, Terrapass or Europass, all made by Adidas. They’re the ones the pros generally use and may cost you a bit more but you can look for good deals online, especially on auction sites.
Getting a good ball that provides both accuracy and distance is arguably the most valuable of all our footgolf tips.
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Don’t try to belt it
If this game was purely about power, then Man City’s keeper Ederson or Lazio’s Aleksandr Kolarov would be world champs as two of the hardest kickers of a football. They’re not.
When you’re starting out, focus on accuracy. You’ll hear few more important footgolf tips than that one. The easiest way to be accurate is to use your side foot. Once you become a bit more confident, you can start teeing off using your in-step which gives you more power but even then, don’t try to take the cover off the ball. It’s normally only on Par 5s that you need the extra distance anyway.
Trying to kick the ball too hard could result in you pulling a muscle (make sure you stretch properly before and during rounds, by the way). And depositing it with power when it’s going down the middle of the fairway is all well and good but if the shot is crooked, it’s going to be even more crooked given how hard you hit it.
You’ll have plenty of time to put your foot through it once you get better. Take it easy to begin with.
Read Betting Maestro’s piece about the emotions and decisions going through your head when playing footgolf and standing at the 18th here.
Know the rules and the etiquette
Another of the more important footgolf tips so take note.
This game isn’t just about tee-offs, birdies and course records. Familiarise yourself with the rules including those relating to taking drops, penalties for going out of bounds, marking your ball on the green, how you can kick the ball in the bunker and where the ball needs to be when you tee off, among other things.
These things may not sound particularly important now but sooner or later it’s going to cost you not knowing the rules and it’s going to cost you where it most hurts: on your scorecard.
Also get into the habit of writing down yours and your playing partners’ scorecards correctly. Not only do you not want to be hard-done by on your own score (or see you benefit because that’s not fair either) but you don’t want to be giving them a better score than they deserve. Marking needs to be 100% accurate. Somewhere down the line it could be the difference to winning a tournament or coming fourth.
Etiquette is also an extremely important part of the game. You don’t want to be the muppet everyone is laughing at because you don’t know the dos and don’ts of how to behave on a footgolf course. You may also run out of willing partners if your behaviour is out of line.
This includes knowing when your turn to play is, not talking when your partner is preparing to take a shot, not swearing or showing signs of petulance when things go wrong or…not smoking on the course.
So ask plenty of questions to more experienced players and get up to ‘scratch’ with rules and etiquette as soon as possible. No pun intended.
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Last of the footgolf tips: Take your time
It’s a great game and you’ll be excited about taking your next shot so the temptation is to get to our ball and play it as quickly as possible. Big mistake.
There are no prizes on offer for the quickest player, only the most accurate. Ok, no-one wants to play with someone who mulls over each shot for five minutes but given there’s no shot clock, you don’t need to rush things, either.
There are three occasions where you might want to take an extra minute before playing. 1: when teeing off on a Par 3 where your first shot is essential, especially on a sloping green. 2. When you get yourself in trouble and need to decide whether to take a drop or play it from where it lands. 3. On just about any putt. Just like in golf, driving is for show and putting is for dough so taking an extra few seconds to read the green and decide on the ideal pace could make all the difference.