Mission Hills, the pioneer and innovator in China’s golf and leisure industry, has scored another notable first with the launch of the country’s inaugural footgolf tournament.
Comprising five rounds, the Mission Hills Footgolf Championship will culminate with a Grand Final from which the champions will be presented with the opportunity to compete in the Footgolf World Cup 2016, to be held in Argentina.
Registered in Hong Kong in March, the China Footgolf Federation was officially established by the Mission Hills Group.
As Asia’s first Footgolf federation it is committed to promoting and developing footgolf in China and the region.
A total of 48 two-man teams took part in today’s first round on the resort’s Pete Dye Course at Mission Hills Mid-Valley, Shenzhen.
The sport has the same basic rules and concepts as golf, except players kick a football rather than use traditional clubs and golf balls.
“We are delighted with the success of the first round of the first footgolf tournament in China.
“We hope it will be just the start of a programme that will see us host a regular leagues,” said Mission Hills Group vice chairman Tenniel Chu.
“We have seen that football and golf can be perfectly combined into an enjoyable pastime for players and fans alike.
“As a new and exciting way, footgolf can introduce even more people to golf.
“China has 26 million footballers and 200 million football spectators and fans, the most of any country in the world.
“So we are tapping into an entirely new audience with this venture.
“The fact that 90 per cent of the players today were non-golfers speaks for itself.
“While we are continuing to grow golf, there is no doubt that the sport of footgolf is here to stay.
“We plan to have a permanent footgolf course at Mission Hills open soon to the public, which will provide the platform for players and fans to practice.
“Given the enthusiasm shown for today’s event, we are confident that it is only a matter of time before it takes off very quickly.”
It was a case of football skills ruling the day at Mission Hills as a duo representing China carried off the winner’s trophy.
Shen Rong and Chen Yujun, a junior golfer who regularly plays in tournaments at Mission Hills, combined for a winning score of six-under-par 66 on the 18-hole course.
“It’s been tremendous fun and we’ve had a really enjoyable day,” said Rong.
“This has been a great experience.
“We hope that a lot more football fans come to join us.”
Asked about the secret to succeeding at footgolf, his partner, Chen Yujun, replied: “Team work is very important.
“You need to work as a team to play your game.
“And the key skill is accuracy, not power.
“You have to concentrate on making the right contact.”
The tournament was attended by Xu Deli, former Chairman of Guangdong Golf Association, and Feng Xiong, director of Guangdong Province Golf Centre.