Could you play 18 full-length holes in less than 40 minutes?

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 16, 2017 11:22

A number of golf clubs have been trialing ‘SpeedGolf’ – where golfers run between holes as scores are calculated by the number of shots and the time taken to complete the round.

A typical 18-hole round of traditional golf can take more than four hours to play and this length of time has been an oft-cited factor in why participation in the sport has fallen in the last 20 years.

To challenge this, players have taken up an invitation to try SpeedGolf at special taster sessions in Cheshire and Staffordshire.

Speedgolf involves a normal round of golf in which the score is calculated both by a mixture of the fewest number of strokes and the time it took the participant to play the course.

Competitors can use a maximum of seven golf clubs and players are allowed to keep the flag in the hole when putting, plus drop lost balls come with a one-shot penalty, but all other golf rules and local club etiquette applies.

The British Speedgolf tasters were supported by England Golf, which described it as ‘the fast, fun and athletic version of the game where players jog between shots and can complete a full 18 holes in under 80 minutes.’ More experienced players have been timed to play a full 18-hole course in under one hour – even under 40 minutes in some cases.

The tasters proved a quick hit with the players who were introduced to sessions over seven and eight holes.

“What a rush, that was so much fun,” said Aaron Cove, who is a member at Bromborough Golf Club. “I seemed to play better when I didn’t have time to think.”

He took part in the session at Wirral Golf Club where PGA professional Sean Bailey commented: “It is great for the club to embrace a new format. We are willing to try anything that will increase awareness of the club and continue to breakdown the perceptions of golf.”

The opportunity appealed to golfers and non-golfers with runner Sarah Matthews remarking: “That was so much fun. I think I might book some golf lessons.”

Over at Trentham Park Golf Club the reaction was the same and general manager Jon Farmer said: “This is what golf is all about, opening your doors to try something new.”

Craig Smith said: “I’ve played golf since the age of four and have a handicap of 12. SpeedGolf is hard work but very enjoyable. The biggest surprise is how well you play because of not overthinking it”.

Rich Piggott added: “I’ve played golf on and off for 20 years. I also like to keep fit so SpeedGolf was a great opportunity to combine the two and not take up too much time.”

SpeedGolf will be highlighted during England Golf’s ‘Golf Express Month’ in September when nine-hole offers and shorter and quicker formats will be promoted to golfers to encourage them to keep playing through the autumn.

Claire Hodgson, England Golf head of participation, commented: “SpeedGolf is great fun for players who enjoy a more athletic version of the game and we’re delighted to take it to a wider audience.”

Pam Painter of British SpeedGolf added: “SpeedGolf is always a surprise, not least that those who play often find it helps rather than detracts from their golf performance. Players should set their pace according to distance as well as their fitness, so it is nowhere near as daunting as people might think; you simply need to try it for yourself!

“West Kent Golf Club hosted the first 18-hole SpeedGolf Open last month. Fifteen competed with the top 10 men completing 18 holes in under an hour. There are some really impressive scores. The field included a couple of pros and scratch players but it was an amateur who won with 79 strokes in 39 mins and 30 seconds!

“West Kent is quite hilly so a demanding course to run. Third place Steve Jeffs experimented and only used two clubs! Another point of interest is that a golf pro / professional footballer came second just off the pace, but it was his first time trying SpeedGolf. These times illustrate that SpeedGolf really is a cardio workout – the fitness element really distinguishes the sport and give it this added dimension.”

The British Speedgolf Open is on 17 September at Piltdown Golf Club.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 16, 2017 11:22
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  1. Paul August 16, 12:50

    Sounds like far too much hard work!

    Reply to this comment
    • MarieTspeedgolf August 17, 21:32

      Some people like hard work 🙂 but as well it actually is far less hard work than waiting for four hours on the course 🙂 speedgolf run is actually really slow and enjoyable 😉

      Reply to this comment
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