Course in Algarve is economic to create and run

The footgolf course is largely grass, with some artificial grass greens

A new footgolf course in the Algarve, Portugal, has bucked the trend in design with a deliberately non-‘green’ appearance.

Howard Swan, an architect at Swan Golf Designs, has designed a course that, apart from the artificially turfed greens and some trees and rocks, is all sand.

Footgolf is a hybrid between golf and football, in which players kick a football into the holes. The holes are shorter, reflecting that the football will not travel as far as a golf ball that has been hit with a club.

Drew Kirby, development director for International Golf Development, which has supported the investment in the facility, said: ‘The setting within the umbrella pines gives us a lovely landscape in which to play this alternative form of the game: shade and shelter in the hot summers in the south of Portugal, and a frame of mature vegetation to enhance the experience of what is great fun.

‘We have used all the wood from the site, chipping timber to create the areas of roughs and surfaced the whole of the playing area with sand found on the land … a highly responsible approach to conservation and a sustainability result.’

The new course is part of the Algarve Tennis and Fitness Centre.

‘Examples of dedicated footgolf courses are few and far between,’ said Howard Swan. ‘One in Essex and one in Chester have proved there is a place for them, commercially and financially. But, as far as I am aware, no one in the world has yet tried this approach, producing such a natural layout for kicking a football around.

‘It also allows for a simple and cost-effective maintenance programme: one keeper, a blower, a sand pro, and a rake. It makes a lot of sense and gives every chance to a developer, but, more adventurously I would suggest, one who, like this venue, already offers multi-recreational facilities.’

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