Dan Shambeau and his wife Sandy, R-L, have brought the new sport of FootGolf to Eastwin Valley Golf Course in Two Rivers. / Nate Woelfel/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com
TWO RIVERS — Imagine you’re playing a round of golf, about to tee off when all of a sudden a soccer ball flies through the air. It might seem out of the ordinary at just about any golf course in Manitowoc County, just not Eastwin Valley.
The Two Rivers golf course, run by Dan Shambeau and his wife and parents, recently took a chance on the sport of FootGolf. The sport, which combines soccer with golf, has players kick off from a tee box and attempt to get the ball into a 21 inch diameter cup in the least amount of kicks.
The reaction from the public has been positive so far according to Shambeau.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect at first,” Shambeau said about who would be drawn to the sport. “I half expected to have mostly 20-30 year old’s but we’ve had people as young as seven and as old as 85 try it out. We’ve had people from as far away as Sheboygan Falls visit.”
Shambeau says FootGolf is a perfect fit for Eastwin Valley because of it being a par-3 golf course.
“Adding on a FootGolf course was seamless because of the size of the course,” Shambeau said. “With the length of a FootGolf course being so small we’re now able to have a full-length FootGolf and par-3 golf course side by side.”
While it may seem odd to have soccer and golf balls soaring through the air at the same time, Shambeau says neither sport interferes with the other.
“I was a little concerned at first with how the golfers would react to a change in the course but we’ve had no problems so far,” Shambeau said of the foot and regular golfers coexisting. “Some of the regular golfers gave us some puzzled looks to start but they have no reservations at all. It fits right in and doesn’t interfere with each others play”
The sport gives people who never would normally come to a golf course and opportunity see what it’s all about.
“People think golf is too expensive to play with all the clubs and equipment but all you need for FootGolf is a soccer ball,” Shambeau said. “We’re also allowing players to rent their own soccer ball from us so there’s no real need to make a long-term investment.”
The cost for a round of nine holes is $5 while a ball can be rented for an extra $3 or players are allowed to bring their own as long as it’s a No. 5 soccer ball, which is the standard used for the sport. Other options for the golfers are 18 holes for $9 or season passes for adults ($150) or youths (100). A day pass for unlimited FootGolf is also available for $20.
Another aspect which makes FootGolf unique is because of it being played on a regular golf course, all the regular hazards such as sand, water and trees are in play.
“We’ve seen some people get the ball lodged in the bottom or 10 feet high in the trees,” Shambeau said. “Balls also routinely go in the water so we have a pool skimmer we use to get them out.”
The rules are also easy to learn. Players simply kick the ball along the course with no running allowed and aren’t allowed to wear soccer cleats as they would damage the course. The other main rule is if a ball gets stuck in the water, weeds or one of the evergreen Christmas trees a one-stroke penalty is assessed.
Other rules include — no drop kicking, balls must completely stop before being kicked again, no kicking from golf greens and those who hit the ball in the sand traps are asked to rake them after.
Shambeau is confident what the reaction to anyone would be if they give it a chance.
“I think they’ll have fun.”