FootGolf can be a great workout, whether you follow the rules or not.

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IF YOU LIKE playing by the rules, don’t play FootGolf the way I did.

My friends and I did not go one at a time, we didn’t let the player farthest from the hole kick first, and we made up more rules to make it harder.

The American FootGolf League would not approve. But we had fun and got exercise, so does it matter? (FootGolf devotees, don’t answer that.)

Jefferson Park Golf Course FootGolf

The sport of FootGolf turns soccer into golf, essentially. To play, you need a soccer ball, a scorecard and a friend or two. We headed to the Jefferson Park Par 3 Golf Course, which is set up for FootGolf alongside regular golf.

My friends Natalie and Olivia joined me. Natalie played soccer when she was younger, but Olivia and I did not. You do not need good soccer skills to play FootGolf, though I’m sure it helps.

Each of the nine holes is a Par 3 or Par 4. The scorecard also had a map, but we had trouble deciphering the first hole. After wandering aimlessly around the course, guided on occasion by a kind golfer, we decided to make up our first hole and figure it out as we went along.

At first, we went one by one, each of us kicking. But that took a while, so we took to running after our ball after we kicked it. Then we decided to all kick toward the hole at the same time

Naturally, this resulted in some defensive kicks along the way, as well as some accidental kicking of other players. Did we turn FootGolf into a team sport?

By the third or fourth hole, we realized we had underestimated the size of the course. The distance between kickoff and hole was pretty sizable, there was some rough with long grass where soccer balls get stuck, and some of the holes were uphill.

Add in running instead of walking after your soccer ball, and you can get a really good workout in FootGolf.

For the seventh hole, Olivia proposed we start at the same time, and whoever kicked her ball in first would get to subtract one from her score. We agreed.

By the time we got there, breathless from chasing the ball, we decided that approach was a great way to get exercise, but it also was hard. We went back to our previous non-rule-following method.

(If you’re a FootGolf devotee thinking of emailing me about how to play properly, have you met Natalie and Olivia?)

By the final couple of holes, we were running, albeit less enthusiastically. Nine holes was enough to tire us out.

When we returned the balls, the guy at the counter, who could see the course from his perch, also commented we were supposed to go one at a time.

The course takes about an hour and 20 minutes when you go one at a time. It still took us about an hour with running. I averaged between five to seven kicks per hole. For a couple of holes, we wondered how the par score could possibly be three or four.

We kept track of scoring, but as competitive as we are, we didn’t bother comparing at the end. We were out to have fun, get some fresh air, enjoy the stunning sunset over the Olympics and burn off some energy.

Even if you prefer to follow the rules, you can make FootGolf quite vigorous. Run after your soccer ball, and dribble between holes. I suspect you can follow the rules and still have fun.