Footgolf is a new sport that has started to sweep across the world and here’s your chance to see why it’s hugely popular at Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club (AESGC).
Combining golf and football, the activity has been a huge success.
With no golf club needed, you only need precision with your feet to kick the football into the large holes around a nine-hole course.
The US and UK are just two of the countries where the sport has a big presence and the UAE has now caught the Footgolf fever. Since being introduced on the schedule at AESGC, the only way has been up with even schoolchildren trying out the new leisure activity.
“Footgolf has been extremely popular since its introduction a little over a year ago,” said Gavin Chappell, golf manager at AESGC.
“We have been regularly getting 72 players per event although the numbers are beginning to decrease now with the warmer weather.
“But we have more activities than any other of its kind in UAE so Footgolf was a perfect opportunity to expand even more. We heard of its popularity in UK so we wanted to be first to offer it in the UAE. Al Ain has a lot of people from Arabic speaking backgrounds living here, but golf isn’t high on their to-do list. We know how popular football is for them and so we thought Footgolf was a great way to get people to the facility so they can see for themselves what we have to offer.”
Whether you’re new to the sport or have tried it out previously, footgolf is open for all abilities.
“One of the best things of FootGolf is that it can be played by anyone and no prior training or experience is required. All you need is a pair of comfortable training shoes and be able to kick a football,” said Chappell.
“All games are played on our 9-hole Academy course which would last around 60 minutes.”
While general play is available, (advanced booking is required), there’s also an opportunity to play in one of their fun tournaments later this month.
Registration is still open for their May 25 event (start 18:00) and Chappell insists it’s a perfect chance to play with your friends and win some great prizes.
“It will be a four-person team and the best two scores on each hole will count towards the final score,” he said. “It is really enjoyable social event where we play music and give it a party atmosphere.”
Sunday was a truly remarkable day in Dubai, with Sweden’s Aron Anderson completing 92.14 kms in his wheelchair – the highest distance covered out of 155,288 registered participants from 58 countries – to be crowned the new men’s Wings for Life World Run global champion.
The historic feat was achieved in soaring UAE temperatures as Anderson finished in top spot in the Emirate and globally.
He, along with thousands of others, helped to raise €6.8m for spinal cord research.
After the Land Rover Discovery catcher car driven by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Adil Khalid caught up with Anderson at 92.14 km, an ecstatic and exhausted Aron said: “Thanks to everybody putting on this race for spinal cord injury. I had cancer when I was seven years old, had surgery in the back and I ended up in a wheelchair. It’s tough to be in a wheelchair sometimes.
“It’s really, really hard. Thanks to everybody raising money for this, actually making a change. I don’t know if I will be able to walk one day, but that could be pretty cool! Thanks everybody!”
Marc Herremans, Sports Director Wheelchair for the Wings for Life World Run, added: “In a sports wheelchair this is normal, but he did this in a regular wheelchair according to the rulebook – an amazing achievement. It’s important to know that we’re all doing this for spinal cord injury.
“There are so many people who have tetraplegia and are paralyzed from the neck down. They can’t use their arms like Aron. So he’s racing not only for those who can’t walk, but also for those who can’t use their hands.”
In Dubai, the female record was broken by Britain’s Emily Waugh, who clocked an impressive 43.01 km, just about doubling Caroline Gutierrez’s (COL) 2016 distance of 21.52.
To see the full Dubai results, click here.
Globally, Poland’s Bartosz Olszewski (88.24km) was the men’s runner who achieved the highest distance in Milan, with another Polish athlete, Dominika Stelmach, finishing as the overall female champion after her epic 68.21 km run in Chile.
Here is a summary of the top results worldwide:
Global Results MEN: 1. Aron Anderson (SWE) / event in UAE 92.14km, 2. Bartosz Olszewski (POL) / Italy 88.24, 3. Lemawork Ketema (AUT) / Austria 87.16, 4. Giorgio Calcaterra (ITA) / Italy 87.15, 5. Tomasz Walerowicz (POL) / Poland 85.14, 6. Florian Neuschwander (GER) / Italy 83.49, 7. Elov Olsson (SWE) / Sweden 75.05, 8. Anton Rehn (SWE) / Sweden 74.55, 9. Philipp Aigner (AUT) / Netherlands 71.37, 10. Shishov Konstantin (RUS) / Russia (70.39)
Global Results WOMEN: 1. Dominika Stelmach (POL) / event in Chile 68.21km, 2. Cornelia Moser (AUT)/ Italy 62.37, 3. Vera Nunes (POR) / Chile 62.17, 4. Olesya Nurgalieva (RUS) / Australia 60.97, 5. Elena Nurgalieva (RUS) / Australia 57.92, 6. Alexandra Morozova (RUS) / Russia 57.59, 7. Nathalie Vasseur (FRA) / California USA 57.24, 8. Sophia Sundberg (SWE) / Sweden 55.29, 9. Karen Torrealba (CHI) / Chile 55.16, 10. Nikolina Šustić (CRO) / Great Britain 55.14
Hundreds of Dubai runners will be joining more than 100,000 people worldwide by taking part in the Wings for Life World Run on Sunday – an incredible global movement with 100 per cent of funds going directly to the non-profit Wings for Life foundation to fund life-changing spinal cord research.
With the race starting at 3pm in Dubai – conditions will obviously be very hot and humid as runners make their way around the 5km Dubai Autodrome track and then out onto Al Qudra Road.
The reason the run begins in peak UAE sunlight is that the event, which takes place in 58 countries, kicks off simultaneously worldwide and is aligned to the UTC timezone.
Fascinatingly, for those that don’t know, this race boasts a unique concept. Simply – runners don’t run to the finish line – the finish line comes to the runner.
All over the world, 30 minutes after competitors cross the start line, a Catcher Car sets off on the same course, pursuing the runners and gradually gathers speed.
For runners, as soon as the Catcher Car passes you, you have to bow out of the race.
The car doesn’t stop until it tracks down the last man or woman running.
EVENT DAY INFORMATION – You can collect your race pack from the activation zone in Dubai Autodrome on the day of the race.
WHERE: Dubai Autodrome
WHEN: Sunday, 7th of May
START TIME: 3:00pm
– Be onsite at the Dubai Autodrone by 2pm to collect your starting bib from the activation zone.
– Parking is available on site.
– Hydration stations will be available throughout the course.
– Warm-up & cool-down sessions will be held at the activation zone.
TRACK YOUR RUN
– Download the MORECAST App [available on the App Store and Google Play] for a hyper-local forecast of your weather conditions.