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Ford City SummerFest fundraiser a mix of golf, soccer | TribLIVE.com
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Ford City SummerFest fundraiser a mix of golf, soccer

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Kehley Shank, Trib Total Media
Jeff Hunter kicks a soccer ball towards the hole Tuesday afternoon while playing FootGolf at Cabin Greens Golf Course in Freeport.

Ford City Legacy aims at hitting a hole in one for SummerFest at a FootGolf fundraising event at Cabin Greens Golf Course in Freeport on Saturday.

Organizers heard about the hybrid sport — which combines elements of soccer and golf — and figured it would be a fun way to get people out in support of a good cause.

“We try to do things that don’t clash with other nonprofit fundraising,” said Rachel Dinus, who organized the event with her husband, Ben. “And we try to think outside of the box. The sport is new to the area, and you can be young or old to play.”

In FootGolf, players follow the rules of golf. But instead of using a club, they kick a soccer ball and eventually try to sink it into a 21-inch-diameter cup cut into the greens. Although some form of the sport has been played worldwide for some time, FootGolf has been growing in popularity in the United States since 2011.

“I first heard about it in March, and it looked like a fun thing to do,” said Jim Bowser, owner of Cabin Greens. “At most golf courses, business is dropping because 95 percent of golfers are aged 30 and up — but 95 percent of soccer players are 30 and younger. So I thought, let’s give this a try.”

Cabin Greens Golf Course, which hosted its first game in late August, is certified by the American FootGolf League and is the only course in the Pittsburgh area to offer the sport.

The FootGolf course is set up on Cabin Greens’ 9-hole golf course. Par for 18 holes is 72, the same as golf.

“Everybody who plays it says it’s a blast and really enjoys it,” Bowser said. “But it’s harder than most soccer players think because it’s a challenging course with hilly areas. FootGolf won’t replace golf, but it’s a growing sport. I would compare it to snowboarding 20 to 25 years ago.”

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or [email protected].

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