One day a friend of mine wanted to teach me to play golf in Moraines Park in Carouge, a park surrounded by buildings. The first 2 shots, I did not hit the ball … the 3rd went straight into a window!
At that time, I played football assiduously and, as I always had one with me, the ball was already a passion. So it’s very naturally that I swapped the golf club with my right foot and the small ball with a foot ball to continue the game.
We were aiming at trees and the gravel paths that crossed the park represented water hazards that absolutely had to be avoided. We had a lot of fun, it was in 1999… Quickly, this little game became an institution and many friends came to play with us, the perfect “after school” ! Despite the ever-increasing affluence to the Moraines Park for the premises of what would later become footgolf as we know it today, many people still made fun of us at that time. I think about them with a touch of affection and a lot of pride today. If no one laughs at your biggest dream, dream again, dream bigger!
In 2009, after years of asking each other if we should start an association together at the end of each game, it became reality after being fined for “disturbing public order” while we only were hitting balls in a park. The ASFG was born, Swissfootgolf! The first in the world, the first of a very long series!
From there, we were able to organize official tournaments in the parks of the city of Geneva, targeting our beloved trees. We were the first to communicate on the internet and social networks our passion for footgolf which rules did not stop improving over the games. But we had to wait until 2013 before we could create our first “hole” course, in Saint-Cergue, thanks to the trust of the owner Eric Blum; we replaced a small golf with a footgolf and the first year was a real success.
Since then, it is possible to play footgolf in 31 countries and on nearly 2’000 courses! Swissfootgolf has visited 18 countries and played in over a hundred courses, including some very prestigious golf courses. But footgolf is also thousands of unique encounters and dozens of articles and reports in the main Swiss media.
In terms of results, the Swiss team plays for the win. 2014 European champion and 2015 runner-up since her international debut, with David Mancino and Lionel Jacot European champions in individual in 2014 and in 2015. Perseverance, friendship, pugnacity, smiles and a great dose of madness are the ingredients of Swissfootgolf’s recipe.
To conclude, no one has invented footgolf, it is a discovery as there were in the past, perhaps on another scale: fire, writing, french fries or agriculture. But the inevitable evolution of this sport is certainly the fastest in history!
This story, we will tell our grandchildren every 4 years while watching footgolf at the Olympics and the story will inevitably begin with “Once upon a time in Carouge”!