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Sergio Garcia swaps clubs for a football to play FootGolf

He rolls the ball across the green, watching it trickle slowly towards the hole… As it slips painstakingly wide, the onlookers gasp in disbelief.

Sergio Garcia has measured up thousands of putts in his distinguished golf career, but none quite like this one.

Instead of a golf club, he plays with his feet; the hole he’s aiming at isn’t a tiny speck on the green, but a gaping, 21-inch cup. This isn’t regular golf, but a hybrid version of the game — FootGolf.

Garcia, who won his first golf major at the Masters earlier this year, recently swapped hands for feet and swinging for kicking as he took to the greens for a game of FootGolf — an established offshoot of golf in its traditional form.

Players kick a football around a regular course with the aim of passing the ball into a large hole in as few “shots” as possible.

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It has caught on quickly over the past decade. Garcia is one of thousands to try his hand at this modern take on golf.

“I just knew FootGolf would be a bit of a no-brainer for the amount of golf courses there are, as well as the number of golfers and footballers,” Mike O’Connor, president of the UK FootGolf Association, told CNN in 2014.

“I always thought it would take off.”

The sport has been played formally since 2006, and has enjoyed substantial success over the past 11 years, including the first official tournament in 2008, a World Cup which debuted in Hungary in 2012, and a World Tour which visits countries such as Mexico, Morocco and Australia.

The Federation for International FootGolf, established in 2012, now as 36 member nations; 100,000 people are believed to play the game worldwide.

FootGolf is just one hybrid version of golf; there’s also speedgolf, a fast-paced format where players run between shots, urban golf, played in cities rather than on greens, and more extreme takes on the game, including ice golf and sand golf.

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A big Real Madrid fan and president of his hometown club CF Borriol, Garcia is no stranger to a football pitch.

But what about when it’s crossed with his primary sporting passion? Watch the video at the top of the page to find out how the Spaniard fared when he recently played a round of FootGolf.

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