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FootGolf Arrives at Two Chicago Courses

LAKEVIEW — Golf balls aren't the only flying objects on Chicago's courses this summer.

Recently, FootGolf was introduced to the Chicago Park District courses at Marquette Park and Columbus Park. The sport consists of kicking a regulation-sized No. 5 soccer ball into a 21-inch-wide hole.

"Not everybody can play golf, and most everybody can kick a soccer ball," said Travis Kane, a regional manager for Billy Casper Golf, which oversees the Park District golf courses. "I find it to be an opportunity that's tapping into a new market."

Justin Breen explains how FootGolf is played right alongside golfers on the course:

FootGolf uses the same course that golfers use, with shorter holes. For example, a regular par-4 hole that's about 350 yards can fit two FootGolf holes, Kane said. He also noted that groupings could play golf or FootGolf at the same time.

FootGolf was founded in America in 2011 by the American FootGolf League. AFL has FootGolf courses in 37 states, and Marquette Park, 6734 S. Kedzie Ave., and Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave. in Austin, are Chicago's first two courses to be outfitted for play.

Kane, whose main office is in Lakeview, said the Park District is conducting a beta sample on the two courses with an introductory rate of $5 to play, plus $3 to rent a soccer ball — although FootGolfers can bring their own ball.

For now, Kane said the Park District has no plans to expand FootGolf to its other five courses — Douglas Park, Jackson Park, South Shore, Sydney R. Marovitz and Robert A. Black.

"It's a grass-roots type of situation. We want to do it right," Kane said. "We don't just want to jump into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim."

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