Mulligans Introduces South Jordan to Footgolf
Mar 10, 2016 09:24AM
● By Bryan Scott
By Tori La Rue | [email protected]
South Jordan - While the amount of golf games played in the country each year is declining, a new combination sport is advancing in popularity, and South Jordan City is joining in that movement.
In the last decade, golf has seen a departure of five million players, according to a summary released by the National Golf Foundation. The same summary predicted that 20 percent of the existing 25 million golfers would quit within the next five years.
Men’s Journal said golf’s expensive, difficult and time-demanding nature is the reason for its decline in this increasingly fast-paced nation, which leads to less revenue for those in the golf industry. Brendan Dalley, a Utah golfer, is among those people who think footgolf is a way for golf courses to generate more business.
“It’s playing soccer on a golf course with golf course rules,” he said. “As the interest is going down for golf, the interest in soccer is going up, so that’s the economics of how courses can get more income.”
At the beginning of 2013, the United States had two officially recognized footgolf courses, but that number has increased to over 300 courses in 43 states, according to gofootgolf.com. One of these courses is South Jordan’s Mulligans.
Doug Brown, head golf professional at Mulligans, said he originally opened footgolf at Mulligans in September 2014 as an experiment because footgolf was the “new hot sport.”
“I didn’t know where it’d go with the footgolf. I thought it would be like an event – maybe last for a week or a month, but it was so popular that we started offering it every day,” Brown said. “I thought it would work out here because the sport is growing fast in California and we have a large demographic of soccer players here.”
Just as in golf, the idea of footgolf is to get the ball into a hole in as few strokes as possible from the area marked as a teeing ground. The difference is that a soccer ball is used in place of a golf ball and a player uses his or her foot to strike the ball instead of a club.
In footgolf, every hole is a par 4 and is about 150 to 180 yards away from the original tee, Dalley said.
Instead of building a new course for footgolf, the Mulligans personnel added footgolf holes to the existing golf course, so golfers and footgolfers intermingle as they play their games, Brown said. The system has worked well, and there hasn’t been much pushback from the traditional golfers, according to Brown.
Traditional soccer cleats aren’t worn during footgolf play to avoid destroying the court, according to Dalley. Instead of outdoor cleats, indoor turf shoes or regular tennis shoes are worn, he said. Participant’s other attire varies.
“One of the funnest things about footgolf is that there can be a really cool, funky style about it, if you want to get into it, much like there is with golf,” Dalley said.
Frequently, footgolfers sport long argyle socks, old-style caps and patterned sweaters and shorts.
“It’s just a different kind of look and feel than you get in soccer,” he said.
Dalley said he loves the new sport because it combines both of his favorite sports into one. He played soccer in high school and college and got into golf in his later years, and now he can do both at the same time.
He got so passionate about the sport that he and an old friend, Brian Galvin, started Utah FootGolf, an organization that seeks to promote footgolf in the state. Both men are natives to Southern Utah, where they’ve had quite a bit of success publicizing the sport with local golf courses.
They are still striving to develop a footgolf club in Salt Lake County, potentially at Mulligans, according to Dalley, but he said they need a little more interest before they can start it. More information about Dalley’s group can be found at http://www.utahfootgolf.com.
Overall, 6,000 games of footgolf have been played at Mulligans, compared to the 150 ,000 games of golf that are played there each year. Brown said he believes that number will go up as more people are introduced to the sport.
Brown said he played an equal amount of footgolf and golf in 2015. While he loves to play golf, footgolf is less complex and is something his 4-year-old can play with him.
“There’s just such an awesome family dynamic to footgolf,” Dalley said. “It encompasses all ages.”
Brown said footgolf at Mulligans will open for the season after the snow goes away. He anticipates this will be around March 1