Perhaps one of the most unusual sports being showcased at the Asian Beach Games held during November in Phuket was ‘Woodball’. Woodball was first incorporated into the Asian Beach Games in 2008.
The International Woodball Federation is based in Taipei, Taiwan. Woodball is a cross between croquet and golf and can be played on grass, sand or indoors. Players strike a ball with a wooden mallet along a course comprising of 12 separate fairways (holes). Each fairway can range in length from 30-130 metres. At the end of each fairway is a gate marked by 2 bottles through which players must strike the ball to complete the fairway. The player who complete all 12 fairways in the lowest number of strokes is declared the winners.
At the Asian Beach Games, woodball was contested on a very sandy beach course. The ‘tee boxes’ were ‘grass’ mats and hazards on the course included raised ‘grass’ mounds. Perhaps the opposite of sunken sand bunkers on the grass fairways of a standard golf course. Judging by their swings, it would be a fair bet that many of the competitors have been low handicap golfers in a previous (or current) life. Perhaps another recreational pastime for beaches in the region with appeal to golfers for days off from the ‘real’ thing? If you want to know more about Woodball, check out this YouTube link for a video introduction: http://youtu.be/H_DsdAUjLLY