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Goal-f! Football plus golf = a new sporting sensation in Addington

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IT'S A concept so simple it's a wonder no one thought of it sooner. Take Britain's two most popular sports and combine them to make one, simple game.

No, we're not talking about rugby-tennis, this is FootGolf, creating McIlroy-Beckham hybrids on a golf course in Addington.

The new 18-hole FootGolf course at Addington Court opened last year and has already had more than 2,000 people take on its undulations and hazards.

Spotting a gap in the market, Addington Court's director of golf Paul Oliver pushed owners Crown Golf to build the new course, which has holes ranging from the short, par three 40-yarders to par fives of more than 200 yards.

The game itself is, perhaps, less stuffy than golf and players are welcome to arrive in their soccer shirts, armed with just a football in their arsenal.

Mr Oliver said: "Its beauty is it's so simple. It combines the two most popular participation sports in the UK."

Mr Oliver, a Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) member, is confident that although in its relative infancy, the game will become big business.

"It's getting busier and busier," he added. "We know we've got a great product here, it's just waiting for someone big to come in and it's going to take off massively. When a Nike or an Adidas get behind it, it's going to be huge."

Crystal Palace legend Mark Bright, who is good friends with Mr Oliver, will be donning his boots for a charity FootGolf event at Addington Court, in Featherbed Lane, on Sunday.

Players will line up to try and beat Brighty for the chance to win a signed shirt with the pundit's name on it.

"He's very good. He may have retired but you can tell he still oozes class," Mr Oliver said.

The par for the course is 65 and the ball – although much larger than a golf ball – is equally tricky to navigate around the fairways.

Putting techniques vary, although Mr Oliver recommends the 'toe-putt', which is the golfing equivalent of a poacher's toe-poked finish, rather than a side-footed technique.

Mr Oliver, who is the highest ranked FootGolf player in the UK, thinks the game's appeal is massive.

He said: "We've had 60th birthday parties, we've had stag dos, we've had groups of mates.

"You don't need to practise as much as you would in golf and you don't need clubs to play – you just need a foot and a ball."

Goal-f! Football plus golf = a new sporting sensation in Addington


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