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FootGolf course debuts in Montgomery County (Photos)

Tuesday - 7/22/2014, 5:41am  ET

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A young woman tries FootGolf at Northwest Golf Course in Silver Spring. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
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WASHINGTON -- Some people are showing up at golf courses with soccer balls to play a hybrid game that's gaining in popularity in the U.S.

It's called FootGolf.

On Monday, Northwest Golf Course in Silver Spring, Maryland, debuted its new FootGolf course.

It's the first such course in Montgomery County and the second in Maryland.

To play, you kick a soccer ball into 21-inch diameter holes dug into the rough areas of the golf course.

"Anybody can do it. As long as you can kick a ball, you can get out there and play," says Keith Miller, executive director of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority, which operates the golf course.

Miller says they had been looking into the FootGolf phenomenon for a while, when something interesting happened.

"Our phones started to ring from soccer players and soccer coaches, saying, 'Hey, what is FootGolf and how come Montgomery County doesn't have it?'. So that really pushed us over the edge and we said we need to get it out here."

Miller says so far he's seeing more soccer players than traditional golfers trying the sport.

Roberto Balestrini, founder of the American FootGolf League, says that's OK.

"We're not focused on the golfers. The golfers are on the golf course already. We're getting new customers, we're getting new people into the golf courses," Balestrini says.

Balestrini welcomed players at Monday's official FootGolf kickoff with a champagne toast (apple cider for the little ones), and a song familiar to soccer players: "Ole, Ole, Ole."

Miller says Sligo Creek Golf Course will be next to get a FootGolf course, hopefully by Labor Day, and he's working to bring another golf hybrid to the county.

"Fling Golf is a combination of lacrosse and golf," Miller says.

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