The UK’s fastest growing sport, footgolf, has arrived in Bromley. Hatty Collier visits a course in Downe to try out a hole new ball game.
Footgolf blends two of the nation’s favourite pastimes, with players attempting to kick a normal sized football into an oversized golf cup.
And in spite of the overcast, wet and windy conditions, I teed off for a round of footgolf at High Elms golf course in Downe on Monday morning.
Just like the rules of golf, the footgolfer who completes the course in the fewest number of strokes is declared the winner.
Footgolfers are encouraged to go ‘all out’ in collared shirts and bright colours when dressing up for the game, just as UK FootGolf regional development manager for Kent, Richard Brown, did for Monday’s game.
Mr Brown, 34, of Ladyfields in Gravesend, told News Shopper: "Anybody can step up and have a kick from aged four up to 104.
"The whole family can come and play and it’s nice to see more women involved.
"Anyone can kick a ball even if they haven’t for 25 years."
The borough also has a footgolf course at Orpington Golf Centre, which Sunderland striker Connor Wickham and six of his friends visited in June.
The 18-hole course is open seven days a week from 6am until dusk with adult games costing £10 and under-16s costing £8.
Mr Brown, who worked as a production editor at a gaming company before taking up his role with UK FootGolf in May, said: "My job is to promote the sport and encourage more golf courses to host footgolf in Kent.
"No footgolfer should have to travel more than 15 minutes to find somewhere to play a round."
Seven footgolf courses have opened up in Kent over the last six months with monthly footgolf competitions held at Orpington Footgolf, Corinthian Footgolf at Corinthian Sports Club and Folkestone Footgolf at Folkestone Sports Centre.
All players are currently part of the same league but Mr Brown said he plans to launch separate leagues for men, women and children in Kent next season.
The High Elms footgolf course launched just three weeks ago but the site's golf operations manager Rob Lucas said it had already proved popular with stag dos and parties.
He said: "In the coming months, we’re going to be focusing our efforts on primary schools and existing football teams in the area.
"We really want to get the local kids in to have a go because it’s really good fun.
"From a golfer’s perspective, you don’t think footgolf will work but it really does.
"A lot of golfers have turned their noses up at it but once you try it, it becomes addictive."
High Elms Footgolf is open seven days a week from 11am to 7pm.
Players can choose from a nine-hole round costing £8 or an 18-hole round for £10.
A family ticket is £24 for two adults and two children or one adult and three children.