MUCKHART GOLF CLUB welcomed visitors from all over the world to play footgolf on its scenic course over the weekend.

It held the UK Footgolf home internationals Scotland v England matches on Saturday, followed by main attraction The Scottish Open on Sunday.

Antonio Balestra came in first place (65 66 -9), with Matthew Morgan in second (68 66 -6) and Jason Parkinson third (67 67 -6) after a three hole playoff.

Joyce Burnett, secretary, said: "We hold the championship on our Cowden course which is nestled right within the Ochils.

"At the weekend we had visitors from Europe, throughout the UK and Scotland, 96 players participated, a couple got injured, 92 finished the competition.

"Within the weekend, apart from having the international game, we had the singles, the over 45s and team events.

"It was a huge event for Central Scotland, in fact for Scotland, for UK footgolf."

The club has been involved in footgolf for around two years and been receiving assistance from Scotland's number one Neil Shave, for things like designing courses.

The sport is growing in popularity, bringing together elements of both football and golf, and a casual course is available at Muckhart all the time.

Joyce said: "Footgolf at the moment is the fastest growing sport in the UK, likely Europe and possibly in the world.

"It follows pretty much the same rules as golf but it seems to attract either footballers or golfers to play.

"It's obviously played in the style of football in as far as you're kicking a ball rather than using a club and a small ball."

A footgolf camp, thought to be the first of its kind in the area, will teach people the basics Monday-Thursday next week (10-16-year-olds) and on Friday (over 16s).

And according to Joyce, the club is keen for more people to embrace the sport, saying it can be played by everyone.

She reckons is it particularly good for retired athletes, who miss aspects of the competitive life.

She said: "Both golf and footgolf offer that opportunity of a sport you can pick up at any age and you can play it right through until almost your last breath.

"They both offer the competition and the socialising, it's a great recreational sport, both the footgolf and the golf."

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