Golf and Rugby? It’s Called GolfCross
May 2, 2014You may (or may not) have noticed I disappeared from this blog the past couple weeks. That’s because I just returned from a 13-day trip to Australia and New Zealand.
While browsing through a souvenir shop in New Zealand, I stumbled across an egg-shaped golf ball modeled after a rugby ball. I was naturally very curious. I’ve enjoy learning about other derivatives of golf, as I’ve explored the virtues of SpeedGolf and Footgolf in the pages of NCGA Golf magazine. (I also covered the Disc Golf Evergreen Open in Goleta as a sportswriter for the Santa Barbara News-Press.)
I’ve never seen GolfCross played, but I decided to dig a little deeper. And from the sounds of it, GolfCross might be the perfect introduction to golf for beginners. From the official GolfCross website:
Nobody believes that the oval ball is more controllable than a round one – until they hit it.
Every player is amazed to discover that all the control properties they’ve ever wanted have been hiding in the oval ball all the time.
Not even world-class golf professionals were ready to accept that the ball is virtually impossible to hook or slice until they tried, discovered and were astonished by its properties.
It seems impossible that after 500 years since golf started that such a complementary game could still be invented that, although emulates the traditional game, can actually be more fun yet also more tactical than the original.
There are no holes in GolfCross. Instead you use regular golf clubs and hit your rugby-shaped ball into goals with nets that look like uprights:
- Essentially you’re still playing golf, it’s simply that the target is now suspended in mid-air and every shot is pretty much going where you want it to.
Players hit out of a “tee cup,” and the way they position the ball dictates how it will fly. Tee it straight up and down, and it is nearly impossible to hook or slice it. But tilt it slightly to the right or left, and the ball will move accordingly. You can even play a “torpedo” by laying the ball flat with one point facing the clubhead, which produces a low bounding shot, similar to a hot onside kick.
The ball can be teed up throughout the hole, except in hazards, bunkers or heavy rough. Otherwise, the rules of CrossGolf and golf are very similar.
Here is a great video explaining the game:
One fun quirk is the stymies-like quality of match play. (This scenario doesn’t apply to stroke play.) The goal can be swiveled to one of three presets. But once a player reaches the “yard” — essentially the green — that player chooses which way the goal will face for the rest of the hole. (I apologize if I am butchering my GolfCross terms.) This means that your opponent could be faced with the goal pointing away at an awkward angle — or in the wrong direction entirely — requiring a miracle shot, or a layup.
There are four GolfCross courses in New Zealand, as well as others in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany and Argentina.
Sounds like it would be fun to try. What do you think?