FootGolf debuted at the Mandan Municipal Golf Course on Sept. 1 and more than 50 players engaged last weekend in the friendly competition of kicking a soccer ball into 21-inch diameter cups, in as few shots as possible.
“FootGolf is the duo sport of soccer on a golf course,” said Brad Olson, golf course operations manager with the Mandan Park District. “It’s fairly new, although North Dakota was the last state in the nation to acquire an accredited course.”
The Mandan Municipal Golf Course is the first course in the state accredited by the American FootGolf League.
“FootGolf gets people out to exercise and, normally, those people are not golfers,” Olson said.
The rules for FootGolf largely correspond to the rules of golf. Players kick a regulation No. 5 soccer ball at a golf course with shortened holes fitted with 21-inch diameter cups. The goal is to sink the ball in the cups in as few shots as possible.
Mandan's FootGolf course consists of 18 holes with two sets of tees to match any skill level. The cost is $10 per player, and participants can play solo or in groups.
Players should wear golf, turf or athletic shoes. No cleats are allowed, as they could damage the greens.
"We have plenty of soccer balls to rent, but you're more than welcome to bring your own," Olson said.
The fee to rent a soccer ball from the golf course is $2.
Olson recommends reserving a tee time online, to avoid excessive waiting.
"If it's busy, you'll have to wait and wait and wait," he said. "It's always best to schedule a tee time."
Olson said it's the Mandan Park Board's job to supply exercise for the people of Mandan, then quoted its mission statement: "To preserve and provide recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities, while improving the quality of life for the citizens of Mandan and its visitors."
"The new FootGolf course was a blast," said Bismarck resident Michael Jochim, whose family was one of the first to try the course. "The kids had fun with it because it gave them a target to kick the ball towards, rather than just dribbling around the backyard. The holes playing down the fairways were especially fun because the ball would roll forever.
"It was a great way for the whole family to do something together, and to get a little exercise in without even realizing how far we had just walked," he said. "It was great and we can't wait to get out and do it again."
"It's nice to see the kids come out," Olson said, noting that all ages are welcome to participate. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”
This year's FootGolf season ends Oct. 15, to allow plenty of time to winterize the golf course.
"As soon as we can next year, we'll be open," Olson said.
For more information, call 701-751-6172 or visit www.golfmandan.com.