Footgolf officially came to Maine on Monday when Portland Mayor Michael Brennan and comedian Bob Marley launched the sport’s debut in the state by playing a few holes at Riverside Golf Course.

Footgolf, which combines elements of soccer and golf, will be offered at the public course starting Friday until Nov. 30.

“We wanted to bring some new people to the golf course,” said Riverside General Manager Ryan Scott. “Originally, we just wanted to bring the sport to Maine but already we’ve had positive feedback. Next year we could start running a league.”

During the past month, Scott said the staff at Riverside has been inundated with calls about footgolf tee times. He said the growing popularity of soccer in Maine at the youth level makes a footgolf course here a no-brainer.

“Golfers coming to play have seen the signs and asked about it,” Scott said. “They seem interested in trying it.”

Until now, the closest footgolf courses have been in North Hampton, New Hampshire, and Acton, Massachusetts, according to the American FootGolf League.

The governing league lists tournaments and courses at afgl.us/.

Footgolf is more like golf than soccer. Billed as “the best game ever invented” by the league, the sport is played with a regulation No. 5 soccer ball at a golf course on shorter holes than golfers play.

It involves teeing off at par-3, par-4 or par-5 holes, with a kick of the ball rather than the stroke of a club.

“It’s pretty much like golf, but no clubs, no golf ball,” Scott said. “It’s a walking game. Although people can rent a cart if they want.”

Riverside offers different tees for beginners and advanced footgolf players, similar to women’s and men’s tees with the beginner tee a bit closer to the hole than the advanced tee. An advanced par 3 is 98 yards; a par 5 is 270.

The footgolf holes are obviously larger than the holes in golf, using a “cup” roughly 21 inches in diameter compared to the those in golf, which are just over 4 inches in diameter.

Scott placed the footgolf cups in the rough, so as to not dig up Riverside’s greens.

However, Riverside’s nine-hole course is a regulation footgolf course, he said.

The public city course, which opened in 1932 along the Presumpscot River, also offers an 18-hole golf course and a three-hole practice course, which won’t be open during footgolf season.

“The sport is offered at more than 240 courses across the country, so it’s certainly not new, but it’s becoming more widely available,” said city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin. “This course traditionally closes after Columbus Day, so this will offer another way to use the course before the snow flies.”

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

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