Credit: UK Footgolf
- Four Footgolf courses to be introduced in Scotland soon
- Expansion will be in the Edinburgh, Dundee and Perth areas
- Leigh Griffiths and Stuart McCall are huge fans of the sport
The amount of Footgolf courses in Scotland is set to double heading into 2016 as clubs look to boost revenue by accommodating one of the world’s fastest growing sports.
First introduced to the home of golf at Cowal GC in Dunoon in May last year, three courses – Hilton Park, Palacerigg, and most recently Roodlea in Ayrshire – have been added in 2015, with the expansion into more eastern areas expected in the coming months to meet the demands of keen Footgolfers across Scotland.
“We’ve got four courses up here just now but by next year, I think we’ll have eight,” said Scotland sales director Paul Doherty, who became interested in Footgolf two years ago when the nearest course was in Hull. “I’m talking to two golf clubs in and around Edinburgh at the moment so I’m pretty certain by next year we’ll have at least one there, while I’m also speaking to Dundee council about two courses there and one not far from Perth.
"We definitely need some courses over on the east" - Paul Doherty
“We get lots of golfers coming down from Perth, Dundee, even Aberdeen, to play our courses and they’re all on the west, so we definitely need some courses over on the east. They love it over there just as much as we do over here!”
Footgolf’s popularity is evident with Hilton Park full most weekends they have it on, while Palacerigg, where Doherty is based, is open to the sport on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and regularly attracts 350-400 people over the course of a weekend.
But it’s the demographic that pleases Doherty the most, with it appealing to a younger audience, no doubt helped by some famous faces from Scottish football trying it out and loving it.
“We’ve had Celtic player Leigh Griffiths, their backroom staff including John McGlynn and Tosh McKinlay and women’s international Leanne Ross all give it a go, while Stuart McCall absolutely loves it and recently played in a tournament where he came seventh,” he said. “Having those guys participating, especially Leigh and Leanne, is obviously a huge benefit to us and encourages a younger people to play the game.
“It’s also bringing to a golf club people who may have never thought about setting foot in one before and there is the hope that some of the Footgolf players could then take up golf as well. It won’t be harmful anyway.”
It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. At times, Doherty has experienced reluctance from golf clubs and their members to embrace Footgolf, despite it giving them a way of increasing revenue and keeping membership costs down.
“You get some funny looks from time to time,” he admitted. “One time when we were setting up at Hilton Park, we had a couple of golfers saying they weren’t too happy about us doing it, but you’re going to get that to begin with. It was the same at Dunoon, but I’m sure now they get three times as many Footgolfers as they do golfers.
“You’re always going to get a bit of reluctance – I’ve had it while speaking to committees – and there was a club in the Borders that I spoke to who were losing £30,000 per year. I was showing them a way of how they could earn £90,000-£100,000 per year with very little investment – but they didn’t do it.
“In Scotland, most clubs are ruled by a committee and it’s been a bit of a nightmare trying to get through to them and speak about the success we’ve had. Committees don’t want to upset their members, even if it could keep their costs down, so the majority of the clubs I speak to are privately owned as they tend to think more commercially.”
Would you welcome Footgolf at your club?
— Bunkered Golf Mag (@BunkeredOnline) November 4, 2015
Footgolf :: Would you embrace it?
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