Footgolf arrived to the Village of Oak Creek just four months ago, and the sport that combines the knowledge of golf and the skill of soccer has taken off.
It is the only course north of Loop 101 in Phoenix, located at Canyon Mesa Country Club. Players from Camp Verde, Cottonwood, and even Flagstaff as well as other far reaches of Northern Arizona come to play the nine-hole course.
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“We come down here a few times a month,” said Bryan Taylor of Flagstaff. “It’s so great for us to have this. We can come and play in an afternoon instead of a whole day in Phoenix.”
The course hosted an American FootGolf League West region qualifying tournament on Saturday, Oct. 14, with a full capacity of 48 players coming from five different states.
Darrin Karuzas, who helped design the course, said that top players in the country came to the competition, which gave a national championship qualifying berth to the top three finishers in their respective age group.
The VOC course is different from courses in Phoenix for a couple of reasons. Being that it resides on a nine-hole golf course, it is shorter than most.
However what it lacks in distance it makes up for in difficulty. Karuzas, a top-five player in the nation in the senior division, and Darke designed, played and revised the course layout a number of times to get it to what it is today.
“It’s a lot more technical. It’s definitely shorter but technically it’s just as hard,” Taylor said. “In Phoenix it’s flat and long. I like this course a lot because of its technical aspects.
“This course consistently challenges.”
There are more casual competitions at the course every few Fridays. At the most recent one, on Oct. 6, there were 15 players.
The players divide into groups for a shotgun start, and scores are kept. There were prizes for the top three finishers.
Interested players can call Darke at Canyon Mesa to inquire about tee times, fees and upcoming informal tournaments.