Soccer balls are flying at Sah-Hah-Lee Golf Course -
Golfers at Sah-Hah-Lee Golf Course in Clackamas have been doing a double take in recent weeks, as they see young people kicking soccer balls on the fairways.
Sah-Hah-Lee is among a handful of golf courses in Oregon that has opened its fairways to the relatively new sport of FootGolf.
The rules are pretty much the same as in regular golf, except FootGolfers play with a soccer ball and they advance the ball with their feet, instead of with a club. FootGolf greens are situated on the course, near the regular golf greens.
Glendoveer in Portland, Mallard Creek in Lebanon and Awbrey Glen in Bend are the only golf courses in the state besides Sah-Hah-Lee that have opened up their fairways to FootGolf. Sah-Hah-Lee saw its first FootGolfers on July 19.
Its a growing sport, said Steve Lisac, owner of Sah-Hah-Lee. It just started in Washington last fall and theyve already got it on 15 courses. There are something like 300 courses that offer it nationwide.
Lisac says that par 3 courses like Sah-Hah-Lee are a great fit for the game.
Most people cant kick a soccer ball 100 yards, so many of our par 3s become par 4s or par 5s, he said. A par 54 golf course turns into a par 72 FootGolf course.
We had 115 individual plays in our first nine days, and were getting a few more people every night, as the word gets out, said Sah-Hah-Lee assistant pro Nick Pileggi.
Pileggi says he has introduced youngsters to the sport at his junior golf camp.
Its a little faster pace [than golf], said Pileggi. Our hope is that we can use it as a way to introduce kids to golf. Everyone thats played seems to like it.
Our vision is that mom and dad play golf, while their kids play FootGolf in the same foursome, Lisac says. Its all about growing the game.
Lisac noted that Sah-Hah-Lee also has an 18-hole mini-golf putting course to help introduce people to the game.
Tayler McCamman and Tahni Harr, teammates on Clackamas Community Colleges successful soccer team, were out playing 18 holes of FootGolf together at Sah-Hah-Lee in late July.
Its fun, said Harr, who will be studying business at Washington State University this fall. I like it. Its quick, and you can be outside in the sun....
The only thing I dont like about it is the price. It sucks, if youre a college student. If it didnt cost so much, Id do it more.
Its fun, said McCamman, who is transferring to Mt. Hood Community College this fall to study physical therapy. I like it a lot. Id do it all the time if I had the money. If it was like maybe seven bucks, Id come twice a week.
Asked if she thought playing FootGolf might help her soccer game, Harr said. Not much, except maybe your free kick.
The people who play [KickGolf] tend to be people who have played soccer, said Pileggi. Theyre young, or middle-age.
We started it here May first and its becoming pretty popular, said Evan Lundgren, golf assistant at Glendoveer. We had 800 rounds in July, and thats pretty good, considering we just do it two days a week [Tuesday and Saturdays], and after 3 p.m.
Lundgren said that the average age of FootGolfers at Glendoveer has been 18 to 35 years of age.
Glendoveer lists its course record for FootGolf at 6-under-par 66.
Glendoveer will host its first major FootGolf tournament, the Playworks Charity FootGolf Open, on Saturday, Aug. 16.
Organized FootGolf is said to have originated in the Netherlands in 2009. It began to take hold in the United States in 2011.
Sah-Hah-Lee opens its fairways to FootGolf at 4 p.m. every day of the week, except for Fridays. Theyll also allow FootGolf play, by reservation, at any time on Mondays and Thursdays.
FootGolf green fees at Sah-Hah-Lee are $8.50 for nine holes and $15 for 18 holes for adults; and $7 and $12 respectively for youth 15-and-under.
Players can provide their own standard-sized soccer ball for play, or they can rent a soccer ball at the course.
To reserve a FootGolf tee time at Sah-Hah-Lee, phone 503-655-9249, or visit the website at www.sah-hah-lee.com.