Saddleback Golf Course marketing director Robbie Finley first saw footgolf in Orlando, Fla.
Saddleback Golf Course marketing director Robbie Finley first saw footgolf in Orlando, Fla. (Matthew Jonas / Longmont Times-Call)

FIRESTONE — — The concept seems absurd, really.

Combining golf and soccer doesn't seem natural.

That's certainly how Robbie Finley felt when he first heard about this new sport called footgolf.

"When I first saw it in Orlando, I'm like, 'Come on!'" said Finley, marketing director at Saddleback Golf Club.

Two months later, Finley and the staff at Saddleback are about to make history. On Friday, Saddleback will unveil the first footgolf course in the state. It's an 18-hole course that runs in conjunction with the main course at Saddleback. The course has been in place for less than a week.

Saddleback will host a grand opening party beginning at 4 p.m. Friday and running until dark. Those who show up in traditional footgolf attire — ascot cap, knickers and argyle socks — or a soccer jersey will get free food and drinks and be able to play the course for free.

The staff at Saddleback dug out 18 holes, about 22 inches in diameter and set up 18 tee boxes. The game is played with a soccer ball.

"It's played like golf," Finley said. "You kick it from tee to green in as few kicks as you can, and don't touch it with your hands. It's kind of that simple."


The origin of the sport isn't known, but Finley said it's believed to have started in 2009 in the Netherlands. Not long after that, rules for the sport were defined. The sport has grown in Europe, and 22 countries are now members of the Federation for International FootGolf. The American FootGolf League governs the sport in the United States.

After his initial skepticism, Finley quickly discovered why it's so popular.

"I played it and it's rockin'; it's fun," said Finley, 53. "I played a hole of it, and I loved it. Once you see it and play it, it's cool."

Finley said Saddleback owner Tom O'Malley and superintendent Rob Flemming were in Orlando, as well, when they were introduced to the sport just two months ago. All three eagerly agreed that they needed to add it to their property.

"The golf industry is really losing its battle introducing the game to that 15- to 30-year-old (group) because it isn't cool," Finley said. "But that same demographic loves soccer."

The new sport could be a way to introduce golf to a new demographic, Finley said. There has been a lukewarm reaction among members of Saddleback, though.

"There were 20 questions," he said. "There really is a learning process. There's a learning curve that I went through."

Traditional golfers are concerned with footgolfers getting in the way or slowing the pace of play. But footgolf plays at a much quicker pace.

And, golfers, don't worry about your ball going in the 22-inch footgolf hole. The footgolf course doesn't open until 2 p.m. and until then, the holes are covered with a hard surface topped with artificial grass. After that, if a golf ball does drop in the footgolf hole, it's a simple drop, with no penalty.

Finley likens the reaction of traditional golfers to the reaction skiers had when snowboarding was new "because we're meeting with a little bit of trepidation."

Nevertheless, the administration at Saddleback is excited to see how the sport catches on. They have already received positive feedback on social media from the soccer community as far away as Wyoming and Castle Rock. Finley said they have also heard from "a few people that are a little disenchanted with golf."

The reaction they've had leads Finley to believe they'll have a great turnout for Friday's event.

"We're very excited," he said. "We're either going to look like champs or chumps."

After Friday's event, cost for footgolf is $15 to walk, $23 to ride a cart.

Contact Writer Brian Howell at or on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.