Soccer-golf hybrid is exploding in popularity in Minnesota

  • Article by: JEFF STRICKLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 17, 2014 - 9:21 PM

Footgolf, a kickball-golf hybrid, is the hot game on the fairways as courses spring up around the Twin Cities at a blistering pace.

Peter Anderson was tantalizingly close to getting a hole-in-one on the par 3 seventh hole at Hyland Greens Golf Course. So he walked up to his ball and gave it a tap with his toe, knocking it into the hole.

The rest of his foursome — sister Amy and parents Mark and Lee Anne — didn’t complain. Instead, they complimented him. “Nice birdie,” his dad said.

Until this summer, kicking your ball was a major no-no on a golf course. Then Minnesotans met footgolf, a unique blend of kickball and golf.

Now kicking is common, as is the sight of people running down the fairways decked in argyle socks and long shorts that replicate the knickers of the 1930s.

Bloomington’s Hyland Greens opened the metro area’s first footgolf course in the spring. Since then, five other courses are either open or in the works in the Twin Cities, with additional courses in St. Cloud and Brainerd.

“Through the end of June, we had 540 rounds of footgolf played,” said Rick Sitek, Bloomington’s golf manager. “Then we had 600 in the first two weeks of July alone.”

And the numbers are still mushrooming. On a recent weekday, Hyland Greens supervisor Jerry Marick sent out a dozen foursomes of footgolfers in a little over two hours.

“We’re getting birthday parties, we’re getting soccer teams, we’re getting companies that are organizing outings for their employees,” he said. “We’re getting kids, and we’re getting seniors.”

In an era when the golfing population is getting smaller and skewing older, the opposite demographics of footgolf offer a lifeline to financially struggling courses.

“The idea behind this was to see if we could get more young people on the course,” said Sitek.

It’s working.

In fact, it’s working so well that Maciek Gralinski, the founder of the promotional organization FootGolf Minnesota ( has been scrambling to keep up. And he believes that he’s going to get even busier.

“This could get really, really big,” said Gralinski, who has consulted on all eight courses in the state. “I’m predicting that within five years, there will be 75 to 80 courses in Minnesota.”

Fans of the game give several reasons for the rapid growth. The basics are easy to pick up, it doesn’t require expensive equipment (if you don’t have a ball, you can rent one at the course for $3), fees tend to be less than for regular golf (Hyland Greens charges $9 for footgolf compared with $14 for green fees) and it doesn’t require a major time commitment; the average nine-hole round takes about an hour if you walk, although some soccer teams run the course.

“Soccer players have an advantage” in controlling their shots, Gralinksi said of newcomers. “But you don’t have to have any experience. All you have to know is how to kick a ball — and who doesn’t know how to do that?”

Besides, soccer players face their own learning curve, he said. They’re used to playing on a flat, uniformly manicured field. It’s a new experience to factor in hills that make the ball roll sideways and to deal with sand traps and the rough — and, yes, even water hazards — that can ensnare an errant shot.

“The good news,” Mark Anderson quipped, “is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for your ball.”

Trying the sport for the first time with their parents, Peter Anderson, 26, in town from Orlando, and his sister, Amy, 23, a first-grade teacher at Poplar Bridge Elementary School in Bloomington, admitted that after getting the hang of it, their competitive juices started flowing. Soon, they were analyzing how they could play better.

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Golf with a kick

    Wednesday July 23, 2014

    A kickball-golf hybrid is the hot game on the fairway.

  • At the Hyland Greens Golf Course in Bloomington, footgolf enthusiast A.J. Doll, 10, kicked off while playing with his three buddies.

  • Peter Anderson and his father, Mark, ended a round of footgolf at Hyland on a conciliatory note after a bit of father/son rivalry.

  • Andrew Hulbert, 10, reacted after missing a “putt.”

  • Peter Anderson, left, and his father, Mark, checked out the ball positions of their group at Hyland Greens Golf Course in Bloomington.

  • Footgolf courses in minnesota

    There were no footgolf courses in the state until this summer; now they’re springing up faster than you can say “Fore!”


    Angushire Golf Club, 224 Waite Av. S., St. Cloud; 1-320-251-9619; www.angushire­

    Baker National Golf Club, 2935 Parkway Dr., Medina; 763-694-7670;

    Cragun’s Legacy Golf Club, 11496 East Gull Lake Dr., Brainerd, Minn.; 1-800-272-4867;

    Hyland Greens Golf Course, 10100 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington; 952-563-8868;

    Majestic Oaks Golf Club, 701 Bunker Lake Blvd. NE., Ham Lake; 763-755-2142;

    Under construction

    Brookland Golf Park, 8232 Regent Av. N., Brooklyn Park; 763-488-6497;

    Columbia Golf Club, 3300 Central Av. NE., Minneapolis; 612-789-2627;

    Hiawatha Golf Club, 4553 Longfellow Av. S., Minneapolis; 612-724-7715;

    Jeff Strickler

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 53 3rd Qtr
Golden State 53
Portland 46 3rd Qtr
LA Clippers 48
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 0 3rd Prd
Colorado 2
Montreal 0 3rd Prd
Anaheim 2
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 2nd Half 0:08
Fresno State 67
Nebraska 50 2nd Half 3:35
Illinois 55
Colorado State 78 2nd Half 1:25
Nevada 59
Boise State 60 2nd Half 6:13
San Jose St 40
San Diego St 28 2nd Half
Oregon 27 1st Half 1:23
Oregon State 28
UC Santa Barbara 10:59 PM
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters