Footgolf is the sport you don't realize is missing from your life until you play your first round. The name says it all. It takes place on golf course, using a soccer ball, your foot and a gigantic hole. Unlike regular golf though, which often separates husbands from wives and parents from kids for large chunks of a beautiful day, footgolf is a game everyone, regardless of ability level, can play together. And it's a great way to practice soccer skills in the off-season.
To play, instead of picking up a club, you get a ball and attempt to “kick” par. Many footgolf courses, including most of the ones in NJ, are laid out right alongside the regular golf course. The holes tend to be shorter than on a standard course, so 18 holes of footgolf may equal a nine-hole regular course. Some other resorts share the fairway—with footgolf players and conventional golfers alternating tee times. Call ahead to schedule yours.
Where to Play in New Jersey:
• Bel-Aire Golf Course (3120 Allaire Rd., Wall Township) is a nine-hole par-three course. Its short length makes it a perfect introduction to the sport, and the low fee helps, too. Adults are $10 and children up to age 12 are $7.
• Crystal Springs Golf Resort (Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg) is one of the premier golf destinations in NJ, with plenty to do beyond footgolf. It has six traditional golf courses, a spa, three hotels, plus a number of restaurants. It makes a great weekend away. The cost for a round is $35 on weekends before 2 pm and $25 Monday to Friday and after 2 pm on weekends; it's an additional $10 for cart rental. Make sure you bring cash on the course with you to buy snacks from the roving snack cart.
• Gambler Ridge Golf Club (121 Burlington Path Rd., Cream Ridge) is in Central New Jersey, right around the corner from Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson Premium Outlets, New Egypt Speedway and Cousins Paintball Park (meaning it makes a great add-on to one of those other excursions).The first footgolf tee-time of the day is 10:30 am. A round will cost you $13 on weekdays to walk and an extra $4 for cart rental; and $15 on weekends plus an extra $6 for cart rental. Ball rentals are $5.
• High Bridge Hills Golf Club (203 Cregar Rd., High Bridge) has open play Mondays after 4 pm, though group bookings can be made in advance for other days of the week, including birthday parties (wouldn’t this make a fun sweet 16 for a sporty kid?). They charge $15 to walk the course and an additional $6 for cart rental. Ball rentals are $5.
• The Links at Brigantine Beach (1075 North Shore Dr., Brigantine) is the place to go once you get serious, since it requires proper golf attire and offers a unique Scottish-style, hazard-filled footgolf course. Adults are $25 on weekdays and $35 on weekends; juniors (13-17 years old) are $15 on weekdays and $25 on weekends; youths (12 and under) are $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends. Cart rentals are $10.