One of the things that has been on my radar screen lately is FootGolf. For those unfamiliar with FootGolf, it is a sport started in Europe that loosely combines soccer and golf. In a nutshell, FootGolf is like playing golf with soccer ball, and the person with the lowest number of kicks at the end of the round wins. We started FootGolf at Mohawk Park in November, which admittedly wasn’t ideal timing, and after a slow start and minimal publicity, it’s gaining momentum every day the weather gets warmer. This past week, 6 in the Morning anchors LeAnne Taylor, Rich Lenz, and Alan Crone came out to Mohawk Park Golf Course for one their infamous “LeAnne versus the Boys” challenges. I spent an hour or so following the match and watched how much FUN LeAnne and the Boys had as they made their way around the soggy Pecan Valley FootGolf course. (We had substantial rains in the days leading up to the match. I let them know how wet the course was, and, due to production schedules, they decided to tough it out. I really do think that the puddles added a tremendous amount of fun and challenge to the match.) I was struck by the competitive nature AND camaraderie that LeAnne, Rich, and Alan had from start to finish, especially when they were playing a sport that they never tried before. It was hysterical to watch LeAnne be the first down the creek bed to fetch Alan’s ball. In the end, it was the teamwork of all three that retrieved the ball from the water, and allowed Alan to continue the match. You can watch the YouTube video below to see how it turns out. But I mean it when I say that this really isn’t a shameless plug for FootGolf. It’s what I experienced with “LeAnn and the Boys” that I think is important for the game of golf in general.
The truth is LeAnn, Rich and Alan had some pretty low expectations of their performance. They had never done it before, the course was soaked, and despite the sunshine, it was pretty chilly at the start. But there was a spirit among them that was undeniable. Earlier I mentioned the competition and camaraderie that they shared. If I paid more attention to style, I would have said camaraderie and competition, reversing the order. Granted I had never met any of the three before, but I can only assume that they have to share a degree of friendship that is more than just co-workers. Their willingness to laugh at themselves and each other without offense was impressive. Their willingness to help each other (mostly fetching errant kicks) exemplified true sportsmanship. BUT… the desire to win was NEVER in question. This is the way I play “regular” golf with my friends. My skills have eroded over the years (quite honestly, I have young children and being really good at golf is not as high a priority as watching them grow up and being a part of who they become), so I have had to lower my expectations. But my friends and I try our best to advance the “little, white ball”, have more than a few laughs along the way, and win the meaningless skins game at the end of the day (even though the teams are almost always stacked in one person’s favor). To be honest, we’re usually just thrilled that nobody got hurt during the course of the round!!
Being the General Manager of the City of Tulsa golf courses, I get to see and meet golfers from all walks of life. I get to see good golfers and bad golfers, wealthy golfers and not-so-wealthy golfers, well-dressed golfers and, well… the list goes on. I really do enjoy the diversity. But the golfer I like the most is the one who laughs, the one who enjoys spending time with people who are important to them, and especially the one who likes to have FUN. I’ll have more to say about FootGolf in the days and weeks ahead.