We are continuing our player spotlight series for the FootGolf Cup of Nations Pro-Am with a hometown favorite, Nick Wallace.
Nick is a sales associate at Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop with a passion for the sport of FootGolf. He is currently in a three way tie for first in the California FootGolf Club 2015 Tournament Series. Nick is poised to win it all at the FootGolf Cup of Nations Pro-Am August 14-16 at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex. We sat down with Nick this week to discuss his approach to the game and thoughts on the upcoming tournament.
How did you get into the game of FootGolf?
In 2013, Haggin Oaks hosted the first FootGolf tournament in Northern California. I played for fun with a few other employees and have been hooked ever since. It brought tow of my passions together, soccer and golf. I’ve been playing soccer my whole life and golfing for about 25 years or so. I found that I was able to perform really well on the FootGolf course and be competitive.
The game isn’t as easy as you think. You’ll want to stretch out and work on long kicks with a friend to make sure no injuries occur during your round. Once your stretched out and ready to go. The nice thing about FootGolf is entire families can play, not just competitive soccer players.
Who to keep an eye on in the upcoming tournament?
There’s an individual pro-am and a team event. In terms of local talent, Arturo Barragan is the #1 ranked FootGolfer and is from Sacramento. We’ve played soccer together and against each other for many years and have a healthy rivalry. I’m looking forward to seeing him on the tee. Another local talent to be on the lookout for is Robbie Cohmanschi, another soccer player that I’ve played against over the years.
There’s going to be a ton of countries represented during the Pro – Am, I’ve been told the Argentinians are the favorites to win the team event. They usually dominate the sport and in fact are hosting the upcoming World Cup in February.
The top 3 Americans in this tournament as well as the one in Tacoma will qualify for the World Cup in Argentina which is what I’m hoping to do.
You are looking to qualify for the FootGolf World Cup in Argentina at the Tacoma FootGolf Open. What is your strategy?
Get in a couple practice rounds and figure out a game plan in terms of course management and possible score to shoot to compete with the other top players.
What do you look for during practice rounds?
I’m looking to figure out breaks in green, the hazards where the out of bounds comes into play. In FootGolf, there are hazards just like in golf – similar to the rules of golf, but if you go out of bounds you take two strokes for speed of play. Giving an extra boost of confidence after seeing the course, gives a mental edge.
Biggest opportunities for sport of FootGolf?
Only been playing in US for two years. It’s still in beginning stages, but feel like it’s going to spread like wildfire. Great opportunity for golf courses to add revenue and to bring people to the sport of golf/FootGolf. I think it can break some of the stigma around golf and how intimidating it can be.
What is your best score?
16 under par at Woodcreek Golf Course which was a course record at the time
14 under par at Land Park Golf Course and most recently scored 15-under at Foothill Golf Course.
Right-footed or left?
I’m right footed, but being a soccer player you have to be able to use both feet. It’s a huge advantage to be able to draw or fade the ball to get on the right or left side of fairway. Just like in golf you need to have an array of short game shots and creativity as well. Sometimes you have to chip it over a bunker or water hazard, you’d want to hit with outside of foot to bend it and put some spin on it. You might need to hit a high shot over trees a low shot under the trees. Being able to work the ball and have a variety of shots can increase your chances to become a competitive FootGolfer.
How are you getting ready for upcoming tournaments?
I’ve been using the Academy Holes at Haggin Oaks to practice short game. I’ve been working out, strengthening my legs. I’ve been playing with more competitive players to simulate a tournament experience. Just recently I played a FootGolf Series Tournament at Woodcreek and was lucky enough to win. That really helped build my confidence coming in to the Pro-Am.
You’re very active with the California FootGolf Association, how would someone join?
The Association was started by Lilli Bewly. It’s a traveling club with League Play around the different area courses. Being able to play with the best in the are helps me stay competitive and keeps me passionate about the game.
To get involved you can go to the Facebook Page and reach out to Lilli by clicking HERE.
There’s two divisions an amateur level and a competitive level, so if you’re only interested in coming out and playing for fun there’s an opportunity for that as well as some of the more competitive tournaments.
FootGolf is a sport that anyone can play with a size 5 soccer ball. It’s a ton of fun even if it’s your first time out. There are beginners you can reach out to on our site so don’t be intimidated!
Stop in and see me at the Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop and I’ll gladly share my knowledge and give you tips on how to play.
What is your proudest moment or accomplishment on the FootGolf course?
Last tournament – competing against #1 player in the US and several other top members that have a chance to qualify for world cup. It came down to last hole. I knew I had to make a 30 ft putt downhill left to right, stepped up under pressure and drained it for a birdie with 11 under tournament victory.
Favorite course to play and why?
Haggin Oaks for sentimental reasons. I met my girlfriend, Rachel here before one of the big events. She’s also an avid FootGolfer and played a practice round, hit it off and have been dating ever since. FootGolf isn’t just a passion for me, but a passion that I share with my girlfriend as well and something we can do together.
In terms of favorite course Las Positas in the Livermore area. I loved the course because there wasn’t just one way to play it. It’s a really strategic course which gives me an advantage with my golf and soccer background. I tend to think things out and love to have different strategies involved in courses that wind through the hills and have holes in difficult spots. You can’t just kick the ball a mile and win the tournament, you have to be able to strategically place the ball as well as be accurate with your tee shots, approach shots and putting. My club played in the first annual club championship for all of Northern California, and ended up taking home the trophy!
Finally, how do you like your chances at winning the FootGolf Cup of Nations?
This is my home course I know every lie and break and play it weekly. I may not be as long as some of the younger FootGolfers out there, but my course knowledge and golf background I believe will help me. Knowing when to be below the hole and where the hazards come into play. I think my course management skills will all help my chances.
The FootGolf Cup of the Nations at Haggin Oaks August 14 – 16, 2015.
The tournament is open to all FootGolfers. Divisions, classes or flights may be established within the competition. Each player will be required to pay the posted entry fee in advance in order to be entered in the competition. Entries may be accepted up to the start of play based on availability. Players are required to wear appropriate attire at all times and bring their own ball.
Think you have what it takes to qualify for the Argentina 2016 FootGolf World Cup?
Click HERE to register as a player in the FootGolf Cup of the Nations.
The US Pro-Am FootGolf Tour 2015 will be open to any US player with valid registration and to players from countries where the Federation for International FootGolf has no member representative. In this case, players will represent themselves, not a country.
As an active member of the Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG), the American FootGolf League will require all players from countries where the FIFG is present, to be affiliated with their FIFG Member in order to represent and participate for that country.
Want to check out FootGolf and watch some of the world’s best talent?
Spectators will be permitted on course to observe the competition. There is no charge for admission at this point. Spectators are not permitted to ride in golf carts at any time and are not allowed to communicate with players on the course. Food & Beverage will be available for purchase at the facility. Spectators are invited to participate in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at an extra charge.
Click HERE to download your FREE ticket to the FootGolf Cup of the Nations at Haggin Oaks.
Haggin Oaks Golf Complex is located at 3645 Fulton Ave in Sacramento, CA.