Not of full sized golf course proportions, our course is still a highly challenging course due to the small cups, many natural obstacles and the layout which twists and turns through the jungle setting. It has a unique design and character crafted through much work, care and patience. Each hole is named after a football player and a characteristic of that player. For example on the 70m long Hole 6 which is named “Cruyff’s Turn”, it’s necessary to navigate a U turn around a Durian tree before holing for a tricky Par 4.
We believe in constant and never ending improvement in the course to make sure the players and tourists on holiday in Samui always have a fun and special experience while playing a round on our tropical course. With the help of the gardening and green keeping team the character of course continues to evolve each year and each rainy season when the much needed storms come in and the players disappear, it’s great to take a step back and watch all the hard work flourish. A recent project included renovating the green at Hole 1 (below).
Anyone who plays the course will quickly realize we are turf and plant enthusiasts as well as sports fans and around the course the trained eye can spot mangoes, bananas, durian, vegetables and herbs growing side by side along the fairways and greens. We even have a green wall at the green on hole 14 where you will sometimes see the gardeners collecting leafy greens for their lunch. We also have live moving obstacles in the form of chickens. We estimate that we use less than 1% of the chemicals that a regular golf course uses. Our greens are mainly nourished through chicken manure, homemade compost and compost tea.
We are an original football golf course created and hand built in Koh Samui, Thailand during 3 months of the hot season in early 2005 by founder Tom. Tom named the game and course originally as 'Golf Football' or 'Golf Footy' as (shown on sign below)
that was what they called it as kids when digging a hole on the beach or playing it in the back garden by moving plastic chairs around the back garden 18 times. While teaching English in the Peninsula hotel on the tourist island of Samui and having never seen the game anywhere else, he thought the childhood game would be a fun holiday activity for tourists from around the world. To try the idea out he rented a small 1 acre plot of land for a year, started digging some holes and then used ceramic plant pots from the local garden centre as the 18 cups. Before opening we visited the patent office in Bangkok to inquire about protecting the idea to help survive the first couple of years. However, they said ‘no chance’ as there was no special ball, hole or equipment and it was just a regular size 5 football and a hole in the ground.
Written on the sign at the entrance in 2005 when opening was "Golf Football - The 1st Course in the World". Shortly after opening however a friend mentioned the game should be called 'Football Golf' as it's a golf game and in English the adjective
has to precede the noun. After this we Googled for "Football Golf" rather than “Golf Football” and found reference to a course already in Sweden which was opening for tourists each summer since the 1990's. Disappointed not to be the first we were also highly relieved we weren't the only crazy ones digging holes in the ground for footballs so would have a better chance to survive. We quickly changed the sign to “Samui Football Golf - The 1st in Asia” and in the first year a good percentage of our customers were Swedish tourists who had heard about the game back home. Tourists came from all over though and in 2006 the first courses also opened in Germany and Denmark. The course developer of the German course had played in Samui and is often the case, the Germans organized quickly and the first World Championships were played at the 'Fussballgolf' in Dirmstein in 2006.
The game has since sprouted a new offshoot called Footgolf, played on real golf courses. Former Dutch international Brain Roy holidayed in Samui in summer of 2009 and after playing our course (scoring 68!) he helped take the idea to Holland where 2
months later himself and ex-Dutch pros Roy Makkay and Pierre Van Hooijdonk hosted the first ever Footgolf event on a real golf course. With a new name, some sleek marketing and the infrastructure of golf behind it, Footgolf is now mainly played on full size golf courses rather than homemade courses. The original football golf family have kept the first name of Football Golf and continue to play their yearly World Championships in Europe. Footgolf seems to be growing most in Latin countries where they have golf courses but where football is much more dominant than golf. We think Footgolf is a better name as it distinguishes itself more from football. However, we're proud to have played a small part in the birth of the original game "Football Golf" and for now we will continue to keep our second name Samui Football Golf. More information about the two different associations can be found here and here.
To welcome, entertain and inspire players and tourists from all nationalities and do so through the power of sport, friendship, nature and art.
Our second objective is to assist in providing all temple schools in Koh Samui with adequate sports equipment. To enjoy learning, grow to their full potential and be healthy, exercise, sport and play is a vital part of any child’s development. However it’s often neglected due to financial restrictions or because of a lack of priority, space or facilities. At Samui Football Golf we see it is a vital and so we love to help out and provide one temple school per year with a range of new sports equipment.
To make even the losers happy they played a round of footgolf in Koh Samui.