Footgolf rising in east at Swanston New

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Footgolf is coming to Edinburgh after Swanston New signed up to be the growing game’s first East of Scotland venue.

The sport is a cross between football and golf, with courses now established throughout the United Kingdom.

Swanston New joins Cowal in Dunoon, Hilton Park on the outskirts of Glasgow, Palacerigg at Cumbernauld, Roodlea in Ayr and Craggan near Aviemore as the only Scottish venues.

It will house a nine-hole footgolf course on land currently used for a driving range and the Templar Course.

“This decision was not taken lightly,” said the club in a letter to its members, some of whom are against the existing facilities being affected.

“But footgolf is the fastest-growing sport in the UK and Footgolf Scotland were looking at other possible locations.

“The 18-hole course will not be affected and golf and practice will still be available on the Templar Course and driving range while all Swanston members will get free use of the footgolf course.”

Cowal staged the first Scottish Footgolf Open in 2014, an event that former Hibs and Celtic midfielder Murdo MacLeod helped launch.

“As a big fan of both sports I think this is a very imaginative concept and one I can see really taking off in Scotland,” said MacLeod.

“It’s loads of fun while requiring a lot more skill than you might think and the Scottish Footgolf Open is bound to be typically competitive as Scots look to win the inaugural title.”

In difficult times for golf clubs due to dwindling membership, Swanston New identified the need to diverse and hope this will help attract a new membership audience.

“The board are confident that club members and visiting footgolfers will mix amicably and we hope many of them will join the club as golfing members - increasing our membership numbers in an age group that all golf clubs find difficult to recruit,” added the letter.

Footgolf Scotland sales director Paul Doherty is “delighted” with the new addition to the sport’s list of venues.

“It is proving very popular in the west of Scotland, with a lot of people travelling through from the east to give it a go,” he added.

“We are happy to get Swanston New on board and we are confident it will help attract a whole new audience.

“Footgolf is a fun sport and it’s appealling to families because everyone can give it a go.”

The footgolf course at Swanston New will initially be in operation on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm with the option for another day.