Monday, July 2, 2012

Speed Golf

We have recently enjoyed looking at the more off-the-wall end of the golf spectrum in our new category 'Extreme Golf'.   We've thrown this one into that same classification, because, as you'll see, speed golf is a little out of the ordinary...

I head of speed golf several years ago when a friend told me he and a buddy went out to the course with only a 3 iron, pitching wedge and putter.  He proceeded to tell me they ran the entire course almost like a game of polo; practically hitting their ball on the run, taking little to no time to set up for their shot.  They finished their round in around an hour!  I laughed and didn't think about it again until recently when I read an article talking about other 'speed golfers'.  So I figured I'd look into it a little more...

Although it has been debated that golf may not be the best sport for getting fit... A gentle loiter around a 9- or 18-hole course admiring the scenery and occasionally batting a ball from one end of a fairway to another is not taxing.   Could speed golf be the answer to putting more of an athletic spin on golf?

Speed golf was started in California in 1979 and is now played enthusiastically in America, Japan and Europe though I have to admit that I don’t know that it will be making it's television debut anytime soon.

Players run between shots and generally carry as few as one or as many as six clubs. Many players carry only one club and a putter. A player’s score is calculated by adding minutes plus strokes, so a round of 90 completed in 50 minutes and 30 seconds would compute to a score of 140:30. The lowest score in competition is believed to have been shot by professional Christopher Smith at the Chicago Speedgolf Classic on October 16, 2005. Smith shot 65 in just 44:06 for a speed golf score of 109:06.

In this video below, the AssociatedPress shows us how it’s done.

Rules and etiquette are generally the same for speed golf and regular golf, with minor exceptions. Speed golfers are allowed to putt with the flagstick left in the hole, but are expected to rake bunkers, fix ball marks and conform to the dress code.

Interestingly, many speed golfers report that their game has improved since they took up speed golf, typically shooting nearly the same scores despite running and using only a few clubs.

The pros of this game: fitness and time saving.

The cons: it’s impossible to play when normal golfers play so this sport is a 6 o’clock in the morning affair or last thing in the evening…

And if you’re thinking of taking this game up you might like to know that there is now a backpack type of golf bag that has been designed for just this type of crazy sport. It is ultra, ultra light and will allow you to carry more than one club with ease – no excuses left I’m afraid, we’ll just have to get out there and try it!