Footgolf is a precision sport where players kick a soccer ball into a cup in as few shots as possible.
The origins of footgolf are unclear as they can be attributed to many countries at the same time, as early as 2006. The first nine-hole footgolf tournament on a golf course, and played as the sport is known today, was organized in the Netherlands in 2008 by Michael Jansen and Bas Korsten, and played by a mix of Dutch and Belgian professional footballers. Jansen learned of the sport from Dutch footballer Willem Korsten, who recalled playing a similar game during his time with British club Tottenham Hotspur who would end training sessions by kicking the ball from the pitch back to the changing rooms in as short a time as possible.
Later Belgium and Hungary switched from playing in parks to golf courses and the game was introduced to Argentina in 2010. The American FootGolf League was founded in 2011. The game was internationally publicized, and countries worldwide started collaborating on the development of the game. By October 2014, the game was offered at more than 240 courses in the United States and was in the final stages of being recognized by Sport England.
The game’s emergence coincided with the decline of the popularity of golf among young people, with 643 courses closing between 2006 and 2014 in the United States.The sport has financially saved many struggling golf courses, and the Professional Golfers’ Association of America and World Golf Foundation have both acknowledged footgolf’s contribution to helping golf courses generate more income, and noted that it may contribute to the growth of golf itself. PGA president Ted Bishop said that “I think it would be ludicrous to think there won’t be a percentage of those people that might say, ‘Hey, you know what? I think I’d like to try and play golf.” One course in the United States has footgolf holes running perpendicular to regular golf holes, so that both games can be played at the same time.
Three countries combined to form the Federation for International Footgolf in June 2012, and the first Footgolf World Cup was held in Hungary that month.
In the spring of 2015 the National Golf Courses Owners Association (NGCOA) recognized the American FootGolf League (AFGL) as the governing body for the sport of FootGolf in the U.S.
In 2016 the second FootGolf World Cup was held in Argentina.
A sport with near identical rules, codeball, attained brief popularity in the United States during the late 1920s and 1930s.