armchair cultural observation since 1995

New sport combines soccer and golf

footeegolfsoccer

The idea of combining two sports in America made for a few hearty laughs in the ’90s with the Miller Lite Full Contact Golf commercial in 1994 and the ridiculous South Park creators’ comedy BASEketball four years later so it’s hard to imagine a sports portmanteau that isn’t a joke. That’s what I assumed at least that Footee (the sport not the British kids football site) was when I first heard about it earlier this week.

As it turns out, the entrepreneurs behind an effort underway in Dublin, Ireland, to popularize the sport combining golf and soccer might actually be doing it with a straight face.

The website www.footee.ie purports to be opening the first course for the sport in May, describing Footee as the “newest and coolest top class novelty sports game that blends two of the world’s best and most popular sports – football and golf.” The website goes on to describe it as a “skilful (sic) and addictive sports game that mixes the passion and strength of football with the elegance and tradition of golf.”

The promo video that’s been making the internet rounds the last couple days lends some legitimacy to the effort while not completely ruling out the suspicion that it might yet turn out to be a clever spoof destined for viral internet glory. That or an outlet for French prankster Rémi Gaillard, whose massively popular videos of trick soccer shots would make him an instant superstar on the Footee pitch.

The more you look into the sport though the more legitimate it sounds. By another name, footgolf, the sport has already had a World Cup staged in Hungary in 2012 and has an international federation, FIFG that lists Argentina, England, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Portugal, Puerto Rico and the U.S. as members. Closer to home, the American Footgolf League is staging the California Footgolf Challenge in Oxnard, California, next month.

The Footee brand is the brainchild of a couple of Irishmen who met in business school and decided after seeing videos of the sport that there was opportunity in opening a dedicated course in Dublin on what was the Dublin City Golf Course. The course is slated to open May 4 and more than 700 have reportedly already signed up to play.

If it’s a joke, it’s an elaborate one at that.

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