HAMPSTEAD -- Imagine playing golf without clubs, using a much bigger ball and, obviously, much bigger holes.
You'll be able to do just that, possibly as soon as next spring, when the Four Seasons Sports Complex and Fitness Center opens a 20-acre, 18-hole soccer golf course. That's right, a soccer golf course.
Soccer golf is basically the same as regular golf, minus the clubs and the small, dimpled balls. Instead, legs and feet are used along with soccer balls. The course will feature par-3 to par-5 holes.
"It was invented by two guys in Hagerstown and they approached us about six months ago with the idea," said Kevin Bidelspach, general manager and part owner of Four Seasons.
"We would serve as a showcase. It will be a family oriented activity and a whole lot of fun. It's the first of its kind."
Soccer golf is not the only addition Four Seasons is planning.
Plans to add two more indoor soccer fields -- the complex already has one -- also are in the works and are scheduled to be in operation by the start of October.
"We'll be the only facility on the East Coast to have three fields," Bidelspach said.
"It's a rather progressive move and a big decision that will give Carroll County some attention. We're very excited about the amount of people it will effect in the county."
Bidelspach said the complex will expand from the 112 teams it has participating now (age groups from 12 to over-30) to around 250 teams with the two additional fields. The extra space also will make room for more developmental programs for younger children.
"We felt the need to expand in soccer. The kids are going nuts and are impressed with all the new plans."
To make room for the new fields, the complex is getting rid of the four indoor tennis courts it now has -- leaving only five outdoor tennis courts at Four Seasons.
"We're already seeing some of their players joining us," said Doug Emel, owner/manager at the Carroll Racquet and Fitness Center. "We've been on our own little success trip since upgrading the health club portion last winter -- they are just helping us a little more."
Four Seasons currently has approximately 100 active tennis players, Bidelspach said.
"The idea of tennis at Four Seasons remains positive but in a different way," he said. "It's up to how the members react. We would be interested in covering some of the outdoor courts, but the changes we're going through now do not make it feasible to do so immediately. Financial support would have to come from somewhere else."