Can you get a goal in one?

FOOTBALL and golf: two of the country’s most played sports although with little obvious in common.

But mix them together an you’ve got yourself a very entertaining afternoon!

Wigan Evening Post reporters try out FootGolf, a sporting infusion of football and golf, new to Haigh Hall Golf Club, Wigan, back row from left, James Illingworth, Greg Farrimond, Paul Kendrick, Chris Derbyshire from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT), Haigh Hall Golf Club pro Ian Lee,  front from left, Tom McCooey and Jon Peake

Wigan Evening Post reporters try out FootGolf, a sporting infusion of football and golf, new to Haigh Hall Golf Club, Wigan, back row from left, James Illingworth, Greg Farrimond, Paul Kendrick, Chris Derbyshire from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT), Haigh Hall Golf Club pro Ian Lee, front from left, Tom McCooey and Jon Peake

Haigh Hall this week invited the Wigan Evening Post to try out that very odd combo as they introduced FootGolf to the Country Park complex.

I took along fellow reporters James Illingworth, Tom McCooey and Paul Kendrick as well as our digital editor Jon Peake to the golf club’s nine-hole course, where it is available to be played during weekends.

Fortunately we got lucky with the weather. There was little wind and no rain but the challenging fairways meant it was by no mean easy.

Not one of us managed to hit the ball straight on the first hole, as James proceeded to belt his second shot into a tree. This was going to be a long afternoon.

It combines the best of golf and football because it’s quick, easy, appeals to all ages and abilities and is inexpensive. If you can kick a ball and you know the basic rules of golf you can play, it’s that simple. It’s a lot of fun and we hope it will be a big success here at Haigh

Ian Lee

It was Tom who took the lead going onto the second hole but he went to prove that, like golf, if your head goes you’re in trouble as he spiralled to a dead-last finish.

Some fine finishing from Jon saw him storm to victory with one under par, with James, Paul and I tying for second place on three over.

The holes were laid out differently from the golf ones, often made shorter which was a Godsend on the third and fourth where the large pond made life very difficult.

The pressure is always on. A key tip when on the green: just imagine you’re passing a ball to a teammate on the football pitch because if you just stare at the hole, you can guarantee it will go nowhere near!

We were kindly shown the ropes by Ian Lee, Haigh Golf Complex’s PGA professional, and head of business development Chris Derbyshire – who holds the course record of six under par!

Ian said: “This sport is growing in popularity across the UK.

“It combines the best of golf and football because it’s quick, easy, appeals to all ages and abilities and is inexpensive. If you can kick a ball and you know the basic rules of golf you can play, it’s that simple. It’s a lot of fun and we hope it will be a big success here at Haigh.”

While the two sports contrast greatly, it’s certainly a concept that works well.

It has all the individual pressure and competitiveness of golf but rather than stern grimaces of concentration, the frustration is replaced with laughter.

It will be open every Saturday and Sunday between noon and 5pm, with nine holes costing £6 for adults and £5 for under-17s.

Anyone fancying 18 holes can pay £10 for adults and £8 for under-17s.

A refundable deposit of £5 per ball will be required.

The complex is also offering special deals with lunch included for £11.50 per person while children’s parties will be available at a cost of £9.50 per child.

To book a game or one of the party packages contact Louize Lee on 01942 828 280 or email louize.lee@wlct.org.