LIMA — If you have a hard time deciding whether to hit the soccer pitch or the golf course, Hawthorne Hills Golf Course has the perfect solution for you in the form of footgolf. Introduced to the United States in 2011, footgolf has the same objective of golf — getting a ball into a hole in the fewest strokes. However, instead of using a club to hit a ball, players use their foot to kick a soccer ball.
“It’s a great way to take the elite nature of golf and combine it with the popularity of soccer,” course owner Dr. Paul Scheiwiller said. “Hopefully it’s a nice mesh and it can be a win-win for everyone.”
Scheiwiller has followed the sport since its U.S. arrival, and it soon dawned on him that the sport, now very popular on the coasts, could be a good fit in Lima.
“I think the enormous recent interest in soccer and the realization that soccer is tremendously popular in our community made me realize that Lima would be ready for a sport like this, and we launched it with that in mind,” he said.
After some renovations, a full 18-hole course is now open at Hawthorne, offering players its own unique set of challenges.
“You don’t play the same greens, and sometimes you share a tee, but it would be in a slightly different area,” Scheiwiller said. “We utilize the terrain, slope and the contours of the golf course to make the footgolf course just as interesting, and maybe even more interesting, than the golf course.”
Scheiwiller is hoping to attact a different demographic to the course, with footgolf being a very accessible sport for all ages and fitness levels, requiring only a soccer ball and non-cleat shoes for equipment.
“Our goal is to get as many people out to our property as we can. Most footgolfers have never been on the golf course. This gives us the chance to even pitch them a little bit of golf, as well. If we can get a couple of footgolfers that pick up on golf, it’s a win-win.”
Scheiwiller has been pleased with the initial traffic on the course, especially considering the fact that there has been little advertising as of yet.
“We’re still getting about 20 people a day,” he said. “I’m hoping to go significantly higher as we begin to involve schools or other groups that would want to come out and play.”
Scheiwiller is also hopeful that this will offer families a lower-cost option that will allow for entire families to enjoy the course. To play all 18 holes of footgolf is $12 for adults, $9 for students and juniors and $11 for seniors, with cart rentals available for $6 per person.
“This is a lot of fun and great for families,” Scheiwiller said.