After a very tight competition, Mark Woodward won the Spanish Open in Marbella. The FIFG.org asked the winner of the first stage of European Footgolf Trophy Tour (EFTT) after his succesful weekend.
The rules allow every nation to compete in the EFTT. Last year Christian Otero (Argentina) had the chance to win the tournament, but he could not come to the final, he finished 5th. In this year’s opening event there were non-European footgolfers also, and Mark Woodward (USA) made a good debut in that continent.
He said: “I have been playing this sport since last August. I have tried it in last years’ U.S. Pro-Am FootGolf Tour organized by the AFGL in New Jersey. This European stage is my second international event.”
Mark Woodward is going to appear on the next U.S. Pro-Am FootGolf Tour in 2015 as well, so this European trip was a preparation for that event with more than $100,000 in total cash purse.
“I have never thought I could win. But I was on the second place after first the first day where I kicked a hole in one, and in the final flight we were under pressure, but pushed each other to play better. I took risk in the middle of the course, and it went well. Our result with Julian Kelkel was the same after the game, so we had to play again in the last hole. He missed the last kick just with centimetres, and I won the tournament.”
He added, the course was tricky, because the first nine hole was nice, comfortable, but the second half of that had a lot of dangers.
“I want to come back again. I grow up next to the course, where the UK stage will be held, so it means so much to me to go to that round of the Tour in August. This and other trips depend on sponsorship and the support of the AFGL, I hope I can meet these top players again in Europe.”
An American is the winner of the first stage of the European Footgolf Trophy Tour (EFTT) 2015. In Spain, Mark Woodward (American FootGolf League - United States) and Julian Kelkel (German FootGolf League - Germany) finished with the same result after two days. After the draw, the American won the playoff at the last hole. Switzerland was the best nation.
The EFTT’s first stage was held in Marbella with more than 80 players. 21 footgolfers scored under par after the 36 holes. After a so exciting and entertaining competition Mark Woodward from the USA was the winner of the weekend in Spain. Mark and Julian Kelkel (GER) finished first with the same result. In the playoff Mark needed less kicks at the 18th hole, he won the tournament, and Julian became second. In the third place there were a playoff also, where Zaki Talib (SUI) was the best, and reached the podium, while Nick Iron (UK) grabbed the 4th and Sam van Bracht (NED) the 5th place. Switzerland won the nations’ competition. UK got silver and the Netherlands bronze medals.
Julien Babel (Switzerland), the co-organizer of the tournament was satisfied. ”I am so happy, it was a brilliant event. The first stage proved, the amount of work we did with Gábor Gelencsér is rewarding. Players want to travel from all around the world 73 players travelled to Marbella, they believe in the power of the tour. I am so glad that we welcomed players from the US, they did not come for nothing, Woody won the Spanish Open and the 1000 US dollar offered by the AFGL. Julian Kelkel was disappointed after finishing in second place, of course, but it was just his 2nd international competition! What a great start from this young, clever man!”
He added: “It was nice to see other countries on or just close to the podium, like Holland, Switzerland, Hungary and Italy.It was also nice to see UK on the top level. They have great players and they will win a title soon, in individual with Nick Iron for example or by team. It was a colourful event. I am already so excited about the next one in Slovakia in 18-19th April."
The last stage of the European Footgolf Trophy Tour (EFTT) 2014 was Sam van Bracht’s first international competition. After this year’s opening tournament’s first day he has a chance to win in Spain as you see after Saturday’s results. We asked him about this promising start.
– How long have you been playing?
– I have been playing less than a year. The National Footgolf Championship in Holland was my first big tournament in September 2014. At the end of the year it was my first international cup in Portugal, when I finished second.
– A new star was born?
– (Laughing) No. There are about twenty players who can win an international tournament. I'm one of them, but definitely not the only one.
– You played well today in Marbella, on the first day of the EFTT’s opening stage, scored par -7.
– This course here is the most beautiful golf course I ever played so far, also the weather is perfect. The course is very tricky, the last nine holes are very difficult to play.
– What’s your goal in 2015?
– I don’t know exactly what is possible for me this year in the Trophy Tour 2015. But my goal is to be in the top ten.
Beautiful weather welcomed the 87 players in Spain, at the opening stage of European Footgolf Trophy Tour (EFTT) 2015. After Saturday’s results, there will be an exciting ending tomorrow.
Julien Kelkel from Germany was the best after 18 holes with a fantastic par -8 result. Mark Woodward (USA), Sam van Bracht (Holland) and Zaki Talib (Switzerland) followed him with par -7. The Swiss Samuel Bosson, the Hungarian György Podusil and the British Nick Iron scored par -5. Sixteen players’ results are under the pair.
The European Footgolf Trophy Tour (EFTT) is starting on this weekend in Marbella, Spain. FIFG.org asked the same from the last time champion, David Mancino (Switzerland, won the team competition as well with his country), the second placed Simon Wetzel (Holland) and bronze medalist, Béla Lengyel (Hungary).
How do you look back for 2014?
David Mancino: “It was a wonderful year. I am the first champion of the tour in the history. It is incredible what the Swiss team and I did together in 2014.”
Simon Wetzel: “It was successful one. In the first half of the year I had problems with my shoes and my ball. I had to fix it to get better. For the second half of 2014, it became a very good ending, for example winning the Belgian stage of the Trophy Tour.”
Béla Lengyel: “I am happy and sad also. Of course, I am happy to reach the podium, but I am sad because of how I lost points during the tour. In Italy I was not so focused, it was at the beginning of the year. In the Hungarian cup I had the chance to win against David Mancino, but I have only earned the second place. It was a chance to catch Simon Wetzel and get the silver at the end of the tournament.”
What was your favourite moment?
DM: “It is hard to choose one. But maybe the Hungarian tournament. It was a special win at Gábor Gelencsér’s course against the world champion, Béla Lengyel. I enjoyed that weekend.”
SW: “Beside winning the Belgian tournament, I finished fourth in the Swiss round, but it was a big moment for me, because I was the only non-Swiss guy in the top five. And my last shot was recorded, it was nice to me.”
BL: “I had some. The Hungarian cup in Kisoroszi is special for me every time. It is one of the hardest courses in the world. I loved the Portugal one too, but I missed the Argentine players, I hope we can compete against them this year.”
In what part of footgolf should you be better?
DM: “We are at the beginning of this sport, we will be better and better. Everyone can improve their skills. But I have to say, I must be better at the ends. Putting is so important, when I am on the green, I must finish from the territory with one shot.”
SW: “My curve shots good enough, but I want to train my long balls, when I want to kick it straight.”
BL: “I have to keep my big kicks. It is important to focus more on the green too. I think I am good at the endings, but I must be better.”
What are your plans for this year?
DM: “I do not know exactly, but I am starting the season in Spain at the first stage of EFTT. I am going to play a lot in June, but I am not sure the exact schedule of myself.”
SW: “I am figuring it out. I am not going to Marbella, and do not know yet, which stage will be available for me this year.”
BL: “I am starting with the Slovakian cup, and hopefully I am going to France, Holland, Italy and Switzerland also in the first half of the year.”
What do you expect from you and your national team in European Footgolf Trophy Tour 2015?
DM: “I would be foolish not saying, we want to stay on the top. Yes we want. We are sportsmen, what else can I say? I know, it will be very hard because of a lot of strong nations and individual players."
SW: “We do not have many players, but those, who are playing are good enough. So, if we can play together, we can win. I try to do my best. I want to be in the top ten every time, it would be a great result at the end of the year.”
BL: “I would like to see the Hungarian national team on the top of the podium. I’d like to finish in the best three this year as well, but there are so many great players, so I will be happy, if I am going to be in the first and fifth place.”
Four countries have sent their intention to the FIFG to organize the next World Cup. Argentina, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States of America, each has the chance to be the home of the next World Cup.
After an international meeting with all the members’ presidents in February, every nation had the chance to apply for hosting the next World Cup. Four of them have sent their letter of intention, Argentina (AAFG), Turkey (TFGD), United States of America (AFGL) and United Kingdom (UKFG) all want to organize the next World Cup for FootGolf. The complete bid with all details must be received by the bidding countries on or before the 15th of March, 2015.
The top three country bids will be determined by the FIFG Board by the 21st of March, 2015, and will be presented to the country presidents to vote for the final winning host country. All FIFG presidents must vote before the 30th of March, so the announcement can be made on the 31st of March, giving the hosting country a minimum of eight months to organize the World Cup. In case of a tie, the FIFG Board will determine the winner.
The first World Cup was held in Hungary in 2012. The next World Cup will be organized some where between the end of 2015 to the middle of 2016.
The new footgolf ball’s prototype called Ammada born in Argentina did well on it’s exam. Matias Perrone have broken a record with it, and won a tournament. After the good test result everyone may meet the more accurate ball in the first stage of the Pro-Am FootGolf tour in May.
Christian Otero has been playing footgolf for about three years. He noticed, the ball, which the Argentine footgolfers play, the Adidas Speedcell is quicker and flies further than the normal ones used in football, but not as accurate as it is needed.
He said: ‘It gives you power but not accuracy. It flies a lot in the air for example. So we made an agreement one of the best ball factories in the world to develop this project. We had a lot of tests with 50 different balls with different characteristics. We had to combine the best attributes. We are almost there to get the ball we wanted.’
Matias Perrone have tried the prototype, and won the tournament with that ball.
He added: ‘I have made a record with it. I think we are on a good way to create the best ball for footgolf. But I think it is just a part of the succes. The reasons of a good score are the ball, the mind and the legs. ‘
It is said that the new ball is not going to be more expensive than the old ones, but there will be available types for the professional and amateur footgolfers. The test period is almost over, so Christian Otero hopes, they can send it to the factories. The debut can be on the first stage of the Pro-Am tour in the United States in May.
The opening of the European FootGolf Trophy Tour 2015, held over the 6th to the 8th of March in Marbella, will see players competing on a brand new course.
Co-organiser Ivo Haagen describes the course: ‘No one has played FootGolf at Rio Real before, it will be a brand new experience for all the players. Our home base is a little too small for such a tournament so we spoke with a few courses in the area and Rio Real were very keen to have us to host the event at their beautiful course situated next to the Mediterranean sea.’
In partnership with FutGolf España the design of the course has been finalised and ground staff are preparing the greens for the competition. Sponsors of the tournament include Casino Marbella, Marbella Estates and Masmovil, and a €1500 prize purse is up for grabs for tournament players. Both local and national media will cover the tournament which features players from over 15 countries including the first USA representatives to a European Event.
Gareth Morcombe, president of FootGolf Marbella believes, 2015 will be a great year for footgolf in Europe: ‘This year there are 15 stages in the tour, some from established nations and also from newcomers like Slovakia and Turkey. This competition is vital for the best players to be able to compete and grow the game together. I want Europe to close the gap on our friends in America and replicate their excellent Pro-Am series here soon!’
Juan Manuel Asensi, president of the Asociación Española de Futgolf said: ‘It is a pleasure for us to open our doors to what will be the first Grand Open Futgolf in España. As we all know, the starting point in this new year is Spain and the place chosen for the occasion is Marbella. A great city of Malaga, where we are sure that everyone will feel like home. We are sure, it will be a great moment for all, where competition and coexistence forge strong alliances and friendships.’
The 2015 Spanish FootGolf Open is being organised by FootGolf Marbella and FutGolf España for the FIFG European FootGolf Trophy Tour.
We asked the Swiss president, Julien Babel, the co-organizers of the European Footgolf Trophy Tour (EFTT), what should we expect from this year’s tournament. In May there will be two rounds in one time, and in June there will be games in all of the weekends.
– How did it started?
and all the presidents of the Fifg country membersall the presidents of the FIFG country members.– It was logical to do it. 2 years ago, I called Gabor to speak about this tour and suggested to make it happen. He thanked it, because he wanted it for a while. We started to call the federations all around Europe, asking if they were going to organize international events in 2014. After many-many skype meetings and e-mails the European Footgolf Trophy Tour was born. And a really great friendship among Hungary, Switzerland and all the presidents of the FIFG country members. But also with England because Paul Killick is always there to help and to push forward. We all met in the very early hours of footgolf.
– Was it difficult to organize this tournament?
– Yes, because we needed a lot of agreements between the associations. Regarding the management of calendar, the ranking system and all the others stuff, everything was and is to build and invent, it is very exciting.
– Are you satisfied with the first year?
– Definitely. Almost 400 players were involved in the EFTT. It could be a root in these countries, because we would like to have a great youth basis. You will play a sport, if you see, it is a great one. That’s why this tour is fantastic. There are new countries as well, which is so important. The new hosting nations came to us, because they wanted to organize one of the rounds.They (and we also) need media attention, and an international cup can bring it. After last year’s nine, we have fifteen stages in 2015. There was no question about to make the second season. We look forward. We have learnt so much in 2014. It helps the federation to meet and communicate together also.
– Was it difficult to decide, where will start and end the tournament?
– It is important, but Spain and Turkey has the best weather in these days, so it made our decision easier.
– The 3rd and 4th round will be on the same weekend at the end of May in Norway and in France. Why?
– We had a lot of plans for that. But there are 15 nations with their own schedule. We have tried to change it, but this year we could not. I think that will not happen in the future. If we can not find a lonely date, that country will maybe not host a stage.
– June will be so busy with four rounds in Holland, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium.
– Someone can take it as a 10-day holiday, and reach two countries. For example, Americans can come to Europe in this period, and maybe in three weeks they can earn enough points. It will be a kind of boxing month, where a lot can happened.
– When will you be satisfied after the final in Turkey?
– When we will have new partners. When they attend a game, they will see, what we have built from nothing. It must be so attractive for the companies. And I hope the team tournament will be in higher level. It is good for palyers, who are not in the top ten individual, but with three partners, they can win team prizes. When you see tears and smiles in every faces, you know that you got it!
– Your team finished in first place, and David Mancino is the first winner of EFTT. Can you double?
– It is a bit different here than in other countries. We all know each others, we are good friends. It helps us, but you know, in footgolf, to win a cup depends on centimetres. Mancino was the winner in Europe, but he is not the Swiss champion. So we are strong this year again, I think. What is sure, footgolf will win again and again. I am sure that in the near future, all footgolfers will play in one federation, we are working hard on it to make footgolf win again and again.