YouTube video and online stories are calling "FORE!" about a new sport set to debut in May on the outskirts of Dublin called Footee, a mash-up of golf and soccer football, played on a golf course with a soccer ball and no more equipment than a pair of football shoes.
Or is it so new?
The Footee website calls the game " a competitive, skillful and addictive sports game that mixes the passion and strength of football with the elegance and tradition of golf."
The game rules are identical to golf – each hole carries a par and the aim is to get the football in to the (bigger) hole on each green in as few shots as possible.
The sales pitch is that Footee is for people of all ages and fitness levels, males and females, young and old, that it's relatively low cost with no need to invest in expensive clubs and with greens fees running between 6 and 15 Euro.
Looks like fun, but already there's controversy. When a story about the "new" sport appeared in entertainment.ie, it drew this impassioned comment:
"This Footee idea is NOT ORIGINAL and in FULL VIOLATION of several copyrights. The only official sport which combines golf and soccer nowadays is FootGolf. It has been played since 2007 around the world (15 nations at the moment)"
FootGolf is governed by the Federation for International FootGolf or FIFG, an international organization headquartered in the Netherlands with a snazzy website, high-end corporate sponsors and a recap of their first World Cup last year in Hungary.
Then again, the idea for this hybrid sport actually hatched in Chicago in 1929 by Dr. William Edward Code who invented Codeball-on-the-Green. Codeball was played on a fairway consisting of approximately 14 or 15 bowls, similar to the holes in golf. A six-inch rubber ball is kicked from a marked kickoff area, with the goal being to get the ball into the hole in the fewest number of kicks. (SPORTS TRIVIA! The first Codeball championship was won by Bert Gates, with a score of 69 for 15 bowls, at Forest Park, St. Louis, in 1935.)
All these golf/soccer variations sound like low-tech, low-cost fun and exercise, but I'm waiting for the return of another golf hybrid which also came to us from Illinois about the same time Dr. Code was laying out his first course--Aerial Golf!
The game was played by two-man teams, one on the ground with the golf clubs, the other in an airplane with the gold ball. The idea was for the pilot to drop the ball from a designated height over a golf course as close to the hole as possible and then for his partner to play it in from there. The Springfield public course team defeated Illini Country Club on October 5, 1931 in the first recorded match.
Then there's this version of Aerial Golf which dispenses with ground team all together, unearthed from the archives of British Pathe:
MEDIA PINGS: Speaking of golf, the Irish Business Organization of New York will hold its annual Golf Classic on Mon., May 20 at Pelham Bay (click HERE for details)...The IBO's monthly meeting on May 8 will have a media angle with guest speaker Robert Bakish, CEO, Viacom International Media Networks (I'll be speaking briefly as well). RSVP HERE...The next Irish American Writers & Artists Salon will be Tues, May 7, at 7 PM at Bar Thalia, on 95th, a few steps from west of Broadway...