First FootGolf Course Opens in Arkansas

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The historic Belvedere Country Club in Hot Springs is now home to Arkansas’s first FootGolf course: The Hills at Belvedere. The 18-hole public course, opening at the end of October, is the brainchild of businessman Robert Raines, who is the founder and director of the Gangster Museum of America.

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Raines bought the property after the Belvedere, which opened in the 1940s, closed last year. Along with FootGolf, the property will also host a nine-hole golf course too—with tentative opening plans aimed for the spring of 2015. The 21,000 square foot clubhouse is also in line to be refurbished.

“It is such a historic place I couldn’t see it go by the way of the Majestic.” Raines said. “ So I just had to buy it.”

Raines said the course is part of the American FootGolf League. He said there are around 250 courses in America now, all PGA sanctioned.  “FootGolf is part of the PGA because it is saving golf courses,” he said.

Raines first came across the sport around a year ago in California at a place called Haggin Oaks, a prestigious golf club in the state. “This guy was kicking a soccer ball off the first tee and I said, you let people play soccer out here?,” he said.  “And they said, no that is FootGolf.”

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As to the sport, it is exactly as it sounds—a hybrid of soccer and golf. It basically involves the same set up as golf, except you are using your feet, a soccer ball and the footgolf cup is 21-inches in diameter.

Raines said there are a lot of courses in Europe because soccer is such a big deal there. He said the sport is just now being introduced in America, but that it is quickly growing. “It [the sport] has only been in existence in the U.S. for two and a half years,” he said. “And in Dallas there are already six of them.”

For more details on the Hills at Belvedere click here.