By Jimmy Rhatigan
IT MAY never nudge its sister off the world stage but early aficionados of the comparatively young craze called Footgolf are happy that it will find its niche.
The game is already quite popular here. The first local club to be formed is Kilkenny Pococke Footgolf and the home course and main sponsors are Pococke Golf Course owners John and Edel Holmes.
Among the enthusiasts are Davy Brennan from Threecastles and Wayne Clowry from McDonagh Street in Kilkenny City.
The boys are committed and enjoy travelling to Belfast and Shannon for weekend matches.
“We have a nice black and amber team kit, jerseys, togs and socks and an excellent home course. We have a good team.
“The game is comparatively young and we are getting a great kick out of it,” Wayne told The Kilkenny Observer.
“I love a round of Footgolf, competitive or otherwise. It is great to get out in the evening after work while light permits and also enjoyable at weekends.
“Once it is not raining heavily, it is great to be out in the fresh air. Even if you don’t win a prize, there is a feel good factor.”
Wayne said Davy is a very useful player. He won a plaque for his display in the Northern Ireland Open Amateur competition in which he was runner-up.
The sport is run by the Footgolf Union of Ireland. There are professional and amateur levels.
There are regular matches and, like the game of golf there is a 19th hole that will be back in vogue post pandemic.
The popularity of a game where you kick a big ball rather than drive a small one reminds of the blossoming of the game of soccer in rural Ireland following England’s World Cup win of 1966. Early indications as new junior soccer clubs sprung up in every nook and cranny, bailiwick and village around our country were that soccer would gobble up other sports.
The latter never materialised. Clever folk always knew that but the revolution was not a flop either as many clubs born then are still hale and reasonably hearty.
Can the novel game of Footgolf rival its world famous professional and amateur game that enjoys a love affair with millions around the globe?
Young and young at heart, male and female who have taken a shine to putting their best feet forward are probably more hopeful than confident.
Rules are the same as in golf. You tee off by kicking the ball towards the first green.
Naturally, holes are much bigger than in golf as players kick a football into a hole in the lowest possible number of kicks.
Holes in one are not uncommon particularly at par threes.
In a Ryder Cup-style match Kilkenny beat Munster. The first match was 13-13 and the second 25.5 to 24.5 in favour of our locals.
The Pococke Club has been active for a few years. Interest is increasing.
It may not feature in the Olympics but it will keep enthusiasts happy.
Meanwhile Kilkenny Kitchen Solutions soccer team of which Wayne Clowry is a member had a great season in the Kilkenny Floodlit League.
The team won the Division 2 League and overall cup and was runner-up in a divisional cup.