Some people think golf and country clubs are stuffy, snobby, boring wastes of time and space. We want to show that golf can be played by anyone almost anywhere if you just have the right ball and a country club can be anything and everything if you just have the right attitude.
Footgolf has become increasingly popular over the past twenty years with many golf courses across the country and across the world opting to add Footgolf targets to their preexisting holes (Disney World's Oak Trail offered afternoon tee times to footgolfers while we were there). Footgolf is played like regular golf only you use a soccer ball instead of a golf ball and your leg to kick instead of swinging a club. The object is to get your ball (size no. 5 is the regulation size ball) into the 21 inch cup (cheaper portable ones here and here) in as few kicks as possible. The player with the least number of total kicks over the course of 9 or 18 holes wins. Sometimes golf courses shorten holes (averages tend to be around 150 yards) because soccer balls don't travel as far as golf balls do. Par is usually 5 or under and should be posted near tee boxes. Footgolf can be played in campgrounds, parks, backyards, beaches, inside (with a set like Soccergolf using a soft ball), in parking lots, or any place you can find to kick a ball at a target. Something to keep in mind: when playing Footgolf at preexisting golf courses be sure to dress in golf attire (collared shirt and golf like pants or shorts) and wear tennis shoes, not cleats or spikes.
Beach Golf is essentially any type of golf played on a beach. The BGSA (Beach Golf Sports Association) has taken the sport to the next level by regulating and professionalizing it in an entertainment centered way involving music, the audience and objects on the beach as obstacles. It also features "caddie girls" who carry a "protection belt" to secure the crowd away from the golf swing. A round of beach golf begins from a tee box (a chipping mat or strike pad) set in a designated area and extends as far as the finishing target designates. Targets may include chipping nets, two rods or sticks stuck in the sand that you hit your ball between, or a dug out hole with a flag centered in it. Shots between the tee box and the target are hit from the sand or from a chipping mat placed close to where the ball lies. There are no boundaries though a ball hit into the ocean may incur a penalty stroke. People and/or objects along the beach are supposed to be considered obstacles. If the ball hits someone or lands near their stuff they are free to do with the ball whatever they wish: they can throw it away from the target, into the ocean or back at you. Or they can let you play it as it lies. The point is to have the audience (read innocent bystanders) interacting positively with your game if (when) they inadvertently become involved with it. Whiffs count as a stroke. The ball the BSGA plays with is 2 1/2 inches round and made of polyurethane foam. (I could never find a place to order an official beach ball from so I ordered a few variations from Amazon that I thought would be close. Our favorite is this one.) For putting they use a standard golf ball and dig a hole in harder sand. Score is kept by counting the strokes it takes to get from the tee box to the final target plus any penalty strokes. There is no time limit. BGSA events take place on long stretches of beach in teams of two. The teams consist of one high and one low handicapper. The sum of their handicaps will be deducted from their final score. The overall lowest scoring team wins. That's just how the pros do it-- I'm sure we can come up with dozens of other ways to play and improve upon beach golf, let's just hope the beach crowds are as cool as they must be in Italy.
*From Seve the Movie*
Street Golf is the most urban of all forms of off course golf. Players take to the streets and hit their balls off of strike pads from in front of a store, down alleys or streets, to a fire hydrant or whatever they so indicate. In the past playing with real golf balls in the streets was simply an irresponsible man’s act of rebellion and disregard for other people's property. Today, Street Golf has evolved into a new, highly accessible form of golf using harmless, limited flight balls to be played by anyone (Almost Golf Balls). Urban Golf is the broader term for playing through the streets, alley ways, construction sites and open lots in urban areas. Cross Golf is the broadest term for playing off of a golf course and through anything from streets to construction sites, open areas and also includes parks, school yards, residential lawns and anywhere else around a neighborhood. Cross Golf does not have the rebellious connotation that usually goes along with Street Golf or Urban Golf.
Backyard Golf most definitely originated from many places over multiple periods of time due to necessity to play. There are countless games to imagine and ways to play in you backyard. Often it is played like regular golf only on a much smaller scale and on a consenting land owner's lawn. It was originally played with wiffleballs that were often covered with masking or duct tape. Now there are so many different kinds of practice balls on the market that games could be tailored to each ball style. The course can consist of a few to many holes using different flags if you have access to multiple targets or it can be played with one central flag location and few or many tee box locations. Targets can range from actual in ground golf cups available to order from Amazon to hula hoops or anything in between. The game is very easy to play and requires minimal skill, especially if you choose to use larger balls to hit. Backyard Golf is actually very popular in western Massachusetts where they have held organized tournaments. The Ancient Nine, also known as the Lavoie Course, is a semi famous permanent course in Ludlow, Massachusetts where the public is welcome to play for free on private property during daylight hours. Another course exists in Willoughby, Ohio an Marble Lane.
Pasture golf, sometimes also called rough or natural golf, is played through pastures and fields usually landscaped by cows, sheeps or goats. Golfers hit from indicated tee boxes (mowed areas, arranged hay bales, compacted sand/dirt areas, etc.) toward targets (traditional flags and holes, 17 gallon washtubs, painted/chalk circles, etc.) keeping tally of strokes taken per hole. A course might have any number of holes and par is assigned to each hole as in standard golf. Players play with real golf balls if there is plenty of space or limited flight balls if playing on a smaller field or to minimize damage to surrounding structures or vehicles. Courses are intended to be informal in their design and tend to be laid out with pre-existing hazards incorporated including cow patties, barns, farm equipment, stone walls, roads, and water. Greens can be made of sand or may be closely mowed areas and may double as tee boxes. Some courses use large buckets as targets, hitting the target results in a hole out, landing your ball inside the bucket results in a deduction of a stroke for that hole. For extensive information about Pasture Golf or an index of pasture golf courses, visit pasturegolf.com.
Snow Golf is played the same as regular golf but on ice or snow instead of grass. Greens are called whites and should have a maintained surface. Circles are drawn in the snow around the flags with the object of stopping your ball in the circle (instead of holing out). Rumor is Snow Golf was invented by Rudyard Kipling, author of the Jungle Book, while he living in Dummerston, Vermont in the late 1800s where he painted golf balls red and hit them into tin cans buried in his front yard. The World Ice Golf Championship has been held in Greenland every year since 1997. It is a 36-hole stroke play tournament played on a nine hole course reformed every year by shifting ice on the fjord. Max handicap is 36. Most players play on ice for the first time the first day of the tournament. There have been other Snow Golf Championships in places like Argentina, Finland, Switzerland and in the U.S., in Vermont at the Grime Hill CC Invitational. Some snow golf *advice* I was able to uncover in my research: hit off the tee like you normally would; if ball lies on hard snow, don't hit down on the ball as much but more towards the middle of the ball; improve your lie in soft, deepish snow by making a footprint behind the ball or rake the snow away with your club to prepare for your swing; if the ball is in deep snow use your club or shovel to set it up on top of snow then choke down accordingly and swing like your playing from the rough; use a sand wedge to chip off frozen water--check ice before walking on it! If you don't want to risk it take a drop; use a 7 iron instead of a putter for icy, snowy greens. Don't let winter lock up your game, call your local golf courses when the conditions look right. Someone will let you play. Make sure to get some bold colored golf balls like Callaway's Superhot Bold Red or Volvik's Vivid Matte in an assortment of colors or Wilson's Duo Soft Optix in red.
My Water Golf research sent me down many ambiguous rabbit holes which I have tried to synthesize but in the process I may have gotten far off the original path and come up with something entirely different. (Pretty please authorities of the Water Golf world pardon any of my misconceptions and feel free to message me with your consternation or demystification). Water Golf is played in a pool, lake, ocean or on any water surface defined as the water court. Players may play standing in or out of the water or may play from floats, rafts, tubes, noodles, kayaks or any floating mechanism that was approved by all players prior to start of game. Players fling "water bags" or skipping water balls like the Waboba or WaterRipper brands with a water bag launching device such as a scoop ball or any other launch device (see pics below and click to follow links to buy) everyone agrees upon before start of game. Any floating object can be used as a target from a rubber ducky to a pool float to an actual floating green if you've got one of those handy. It is best to anchor the target so that it doesn't move so much but it is not completely necessary. Standard play follows the basic gist of golf: find a suitable tee off location and have each player launch their ball from it, go to your ball and launch it from that spot toward the target in order of who is farthest away from the target. Keep count of the number of launches it takes to hit the target, the person with the lowest number of launches leads the next tee. Play as many holes (rounds) as you predetermine before play and the Water Golfer with the fewest total launches wins.