Germany, pioneer of street golf
Although its origins are obscure, it is believed that street golf first appeared as early as 1741 in Edinburgh, Scotland, thanks to a man named Duncan Thomas. But it wasn’t until the sport was adopted by Germany in the 1990s that the urban practice of street golf took off. It spread rapidly to Great Britain, and then to France in the early 2000s under the impulse of players who grouped themselves into collectives (or ’crews’).
Rules...? There are none!
Street golf is played with standard golf clubs (preferably an iron between 5 and 9), although the balls are obviously different – semi-rigid to avoid accidents like breaking windows and windscreens. The only rule: no rules!
It is ultimately up to the players to set their own regulations, and the main goal of the sport is to just have fun with a group of friends. Like many urban sports, the philosophy of street golf is based on the players’ total freedom in, say, reaching a distant goal in a minimum of strokes while avoiding obstacles formed by dustbins, benches, fountains, etc. The only ‘mandatory’ rules are respect for the safety of others and urban furnishings. The most ideal playing conditions are at night in unpopulated areas.
Street Golf gets media interest in France
Founded in Perpignan in 2003, the Urban Trees ‘crew’ played a role in attracting all-important media attention to street golf in France. “Originally, it was a gang of students who went to a park between classes to hit a ball around. None of them had ever played golf before, but the urge was there. As their skills improved, the idea of playing in the street came naturally, and that’s how ‘the crew’ was formed.”
Thanks to the impact of groups like Urban Trees, tournaments began to be organised throughout France. One of the most important tournaments is held in Paris, and is organised by Le 19ème Trou (19th Hole). Here, you will find a crew of street golfers who have been playing in the streets of Paris since 2005 and have participated in tournaments throughout Europe, to the great entertainment of strollers.