FootGolf set to take flight at Detweiller Golf Course

Bryan Veginski
FootGolf is set to make its Peoria-area debut Saturday. The game, which is soccer played on a golf course, will be featured at the Peoria Park District's Detweiller Golf Course. Holes, which are 21 inches wide to accommodate size-5 soccer balls, were constructed recently.

Most golfers and soccer players would not agree which of their sports is superior.

Starting Saturday, they can set aside their viewpoints and come together in a setting unique to the area.

The Peoria Park District’s Detweiller Golf Course is one of 14 FootGolf sites statewide, and the only one south of Interstate 80.

Detweiller received accreditation from the American FootGolf League, a 3-year-old organization based in Palm Springs, Calif.

The park district sees it as another way to draw people to Detweiller.

“There is a lot of history, longevity and memories that come with Detweiller,” PPD Supervisor of Golf Operations Sarah Cordis said last week. “Now we can use it for another purpose, too.”

FootGolf is the game of soccer played on a golf course.

Following the rules of golf, players place their size-5 soccer ball between the markers on the tee box, kick it down the fairway and continue advancing until they reach the hole (and pull the pin with the orange flag to avoid a penalty stroke).

The cups, which are located in the rough to the right or left of the regulation greens, are 21 inches wide.

There are par 3, 4 and 5 holes measuring between 105 and 215 yards. Keeping score in recreational FootGolf, as with golf, is optional.

Illinois FootGolf Association director and founder Carlos Stremi mapped out the FootGolf course for the PPD.

Another benefit with the addition of FootGolf is there is almost no maintenance added since regular upkeep is part of the routine for the golf course.

On the opening day Saturday, beginning at noon, patrons can try FootGolf for free (there is a charge for cart rental).

An overview of the game, basis rules and how to play will be discussed. All ages and skill levels are encouraged to attend.

Golf leagues and outings have priority, but FootGolf will occur from noon to closing daily.

Walking rates are: adults — $9 for nine holes, $11 for 18; junior (through age 17) — $5 with 18 holes permitted; family of four special — $21 for nine holes.  

There is a discount for IFGA members.

FootGolf players are encouraged to bring their own soccer balls and they must wear turf-friendly shoes.

Soccer balls, based on availability, can be rented for $3 per ball.

Regular golf and FootGolf can occur at the facility at the same time, so it will not be uncommon to see soccer and golf balls flying through the air.

“The fact that you play both sports, I think it could be big. It’s so unique,” Cordis said.

Basic golf etiquette — such as letting faster groups play through, being considerate of others on the course and having a maximum of four players per hole  — applies to FootGolf as well.

Condis went to an October  IFGA tournament in northern Illinois at Prairie Bluff Golf Course. Participants were dressed in official tournament clothing and ranged from about 16 to 60 years old in an exciting atmosphere.

Regular conversations transpired since then and, only seven months later, FootGolf in Peoria is a reality.

The website is a source for information on the area’s newest game.