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What is your favorite practice drill? Tips from Our Top Ams

NICK MOORE Two-time NCGA major winner–2013 When I’m on the range, I try not to think too much. I like to use an alignment stick for my feet to make sure they are aiming at the target. I like to try and hit the ball straight as much as possible on the range. I practice lining up square to my target, swinging aggressively, and attempting to hit the ball straight. I don’t over- due the range.


NCGA Senior Match Play Champion–2012 I like to practice a “one leg drill.” I keep the weight on my left side and pull the right leg back, keeping the right heel off the ground. This helps my balance stay

centered and creates arm speed while getting the right impact position on the ball.

At the end of Septem-

ber, there were 18 FootGolf courses in the U.S., but Ballestrini is optimistic that the number will grow closer to 40 by the end of the year. The first FootGolf World Cup was hosted in Hungary last year, and the popularity of the sport has exploded in Europe, especially among professional soccer players. FootGolf has been featured on ESPN Deportes, and Ballestrini is working on developing a professional tour in the U.S. “We have huge respect

and admiration for golf,” Ballestrini said. “We look at the golf course as a sacred place. We follow the rules of golf, but FootGolf is not as complicated.” FootGolf derives its rules,

customs and etiquette from golf, not soccer. Even most of golf ’s zany attire has been inherited, including colorful argyle knee-high socks. The dress code also prohibits soc- cer cleats. Couple that with

the absence of divots, and FootGolf delivers almost no damage to the course. Golfers and FootGolf-

ers actually share the same course at Haggin Oaks, and alternate starting times on the first hole. FootGolf greens are usually shaved into the rough, away from traditional golf lines of play. “I’ve made 15 changes since I designed our course, whether it’s a safety issue, or we find a healthier, grassier area,” Woods said. “We had a couple holes where there’s rough in front of the pin. That works great for golf, but not for FootGolf. “We’ve been messing with

the green heights, incorporat- ing slopes, bunkers and trees. All of that is crucial for mak- ing the course fun.” The 18-hole FootGolf course at Haggin Oaks is 2,600 yards and plays as a par 72, with holes ranging from 65-210 yards. Green fees on the Arcade Course are the same for FootGolf as


CASIE CATHREA Three-time Junior Tour of Northern California Player of the Year When I am working on the range I do a step through drill with a driver—or, what some call a punch drill. I do this to practice

proper impact position.

SANDY WOODRUFF Two-time NCGA Senior Women’s Champion I practice the ladder drill on the putting green. I drop six balls only one foot from the hole and putt them in the hole. Once this is done successfully, the balls are then

moved out approximately another foot and I repeat the drill. I continually move away from the hole but if I miss a putt, I start from the very beginning. Even- tually, those little two- or three-foot putts seem like nothing and they become automatic. This drill is my way of practicing my putting without getting bored, which is a real issue for me.

golf: $15 for adults and $7 for juniors. “You could be playing

golf out here, and the group in front of you could be four people with soccer balls,” Woods said. “We built an 18-hole FootGolf course on the footprint of our nine- hole course.” Each group of FootGolf-

ers is given a tutorial on the rules and etiquette of the game before teeing off. The groups are even accompanied by Woods and his staff for the first couple holes. “Even beginners feel

comfortable enough to try it out and toe-poke it down the middle of the fairway,” said Woods, who estimated first- timers average around an 85. FootGolfers have proven to be fast learners, and even faster players. The average 18-hole FootGolf round for a foursome has been an hour and 45 minutes. Golfers take two hours to play a nine on the Arcade Course. “You play FootGolf so

much faster,” Woods said. “You’re not taking practice swings, you’re not selecting a club, you’re not looking for yardage. As you’re walking to your ball, you find yourself starting to walk in from the left a little bit to hit it with your right foot. You hit it almost in stride.” In a lot of ways, FootGolf

returns players to golf ’s roots. It invokes thoughts of the rural beginnings of links golf. “FootGolf is played on

the ground,” Woods said. “Taking it over a tree is nearly impossible. Trees are very much in play. “Most of the holes we

set up, we are encouraging FootGolfers to play down the golf fairways. When you play down the fairway, the ball rolls a lot farther, and it gives you a better angle for your second or third shot.”

So, are you interested in giving FootGolf a shot? FALL 2013 / NCGA.ORG / 13

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