Speed golf (also known as extreme golf, fast golf, fitness golf and hit and run golf) is a sport which involves playing a round of golf in the lowest possible sum of strokes and time (in minutes).
Thus shooting 90 on a golf course in 59 minutes and 30 seconds would compute to an overall speed golf score of 149:30.
- In the interest of time, a golfer is allowed to putt with the flagstick left in the hole.
- Unless otherwise told by a tournament committee, speed golfers are expected to rake bunkers, fix ball marks and conform to normal golf course dress code, although most speed golfers will wear running shoes instead of golf shoes.
- In the case of a lost ball or one that is hit out of bounds, players are permitted to play it like a lateral hazard because it was thought to be too severe of a penalty to have to also be penalized the additional time to run back to where the original shot was played.
Aside from the normal 14-club maximum, there is no rule about how many clubs a player is allowed to bring. However, players typically carry 4–7 clubs.
The sport was believed to have been started in 1979 California when former American record holder in the mile (3:47.69 in 1982) Steve Scott ran around a golf course in 29 minutes and 33 seconds shooting a 95 with only a 3-iron.
After hearing about Scott, a former ironman triathlete and teaching pro named Jay Larson became the person who many considered the top speed golfer of the 1990s. Larson once shot a 75 in 39 minutes and 9 seconds on a 6,500 course with a slope rating of 125 (using the old rules of speed golf where one could have a caddy in a cart riding out in front of you carrying your clubs and calling out distances as you approached the ball).
Towards the end of the 1990s, in an effort to help promote the sport, Oregonians and speed golfers Tim Scott (a former teaching pro turned school teacher), Christopher Smith, and Jim Kosciolek (a Chicago-based lawyer) founded a company called Speed Golf International.
Fitness and time savings are obvious benefits of Speed Golf.
However, many players also report improved golf, typically shooting nearly the same scores despite running and using only a few clubs.
Where to play
Crowded courses are not conducive to play, so many speed golfers will reserve the first tee time of the day, start playing in the last hour before sunset, loop holes on a golf course where there are gaps in play, or play on colder days when the courses are less crowded and are not too hot for running.
The oldest known speed golf tournament is the Broc-n-Bob, which has been held each September in Minneapolis since 1998.
Throughout the 2000s, there were various competitions held throughout the United States, many of which were held at Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Oregon.
2012 – Inaugural World Championships
The inaugural Speed Golf World Championships were held October 20–21, 2012 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon on the Old MacDonald Course (October 20) and the Bandon Dunes Course (October 21).
Results in the Pro/Elite division were as follows for the 15 professionals competing for the $50,000 purse:
- Chris Walker, 263:28 (77-53:29; 76-56:29)
- Tim Scott, 264:47 (81-52:21; 80-51:26)
- Tim Hval, 266:20 (74-59:33; 74-58:47)
- Christopher Smith, 268:24 (73-58:33; 78-58:51)
- Jaacob Bowden, 270:18 (75-61:06; 78-56:12)
- Todd Killingsworth, 272:39 (86-56:24; 75-55:15)
- Robert Hogan, 272:39 (94-44:00; 92-43:05)
- Gretchen Johnson(am), 273:38 (84-55:19; 79-55:19)
- Michael Chupka Jr., 274:26 (79-63:00; 75-57:26)
- Kris Moe, 279:11 (72-64:24; 80-62:47)
- Jeff Simonds, 280:30 (80-58:08; 84-58:22)
- Arno Lindsberger, 288:53 (99-48:37; 100-41:16)
- Brandon Carter, 291:25 (85-64:14; 82-60:11)
- Kyle Warren, 304:15 (79-67:41; 83-74:34)
- Paul Gorman, 310:42 (89-70:39; 85-66:03)
There was also a group of 45 amateurs who competed in a one-day-only competition on October 21 on the Bandon Dunes Course. The amateur division featured various age groups that included 24 and under, 25–39, 40–49, and 50 and over.
It was held on October (26–27) 2013 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon, on the Old MacDonald Course (October 26) and the Bandon Dunes Course (October 27).
- Rob Hogan, 236.55 (77-39:31; 79-41:24)
- Eri Crum, 242.34 (80-45:03; 73-44:31)
- Matt Dehlin, 250.06 (78-46:06; 78-48:00)
- Chris Walker, 250.38 (74-52:26; 73-51:12)
- Scott Dawley, 253.39 (77-51:43; 74-50:56)
- Scott Manley, 256.37 (80-50:25; 78-48:12)
- Allan Phillips, 257.19 (84-48:10; 80-45:09)
- Christopher Smith, 263.58 (78-58:29; 72-55:29)
- David Denyer, 264.15 (78-54:39; 76-55:36)
- Tim Hval, 265.42 (81-54:49; 77-52:53)
- Jamie Young, 268.02 (85-48:04; 85-49:58)
- Pete Phipps, 269.06 (83-52:27; 79-54:39)
- Nick Willis, 270.27 (86-44:20; 97-43:07)
- Jaacob Bowden, 271.42 (85-59; 72-55:42)
- David Marshall, 272.17 (84-54:27; 82-51:50)
- Tim Scott, 272.57 (83-50.34; 85-54:23)
- Scott Gerweck, 274.11 (88-50:04; 85-51:07)
- Larry Levinson, 274.29 (80-60; 76-58:29)
- Shanon Hoyt, 274.45 (87-50.27; 83-54:18)
- Paul Kivela, 276.26 (92-51:28; 85-47:58)
- Ralph Reahard, 283.35 (78-66:05; 75-64:30)
- Karl Meltzer, 284.07 (89-55:11; 89-50:56)
- Dougal Williams, 286.51 (95-54:16; 84-53:35)
- Bernard Lagat, 324.04 (118-48:26; 110-47:38)
- Jay Larson W/D (89-58.05; W/D-W/D)
Eastern Speedgolf Open
The Eastern Speedgolf Open was held at The Foundry Golf Club in Powhatan, Virginia on June 30, 2013. Professional competitors played for a purse of $35,000. The event was preceded by A First Tee competition (9-hole par 3 course) and an amateur tournament.
Name Total Stokes - Minutes
- Rob Hogan 129.58 (85 - 44:58)
- Allan Philips 133.18 (83 - 50:18)
- Tim Scott 135.45 (77 - 58:45)
- Chris Walker 139.34 (81 - 58:34)
- Christopher Smith 140.55 (75 - 65:55)
- Scott Dawley 142.25 (81 - 61:25)
- Ralph Reahard 145.06 (77 - 68:06)
- Todd Killingsworth 148.02 (82 - 66:02)
- Shannon Hoyt 148.45 (96 - 52:45)
- Jaacob Bowden 150.25 (81 - 69:25)
- Michael Chupka Jr. 152.53 (84 - 68:53)
- Nathan Ward 155.08 (88 - 67:08)
- Mike Aldrich 156.08 (85 - 71:08)
- Adam Smith 168.36 (88 - 80:36)
Guinness world record
The lowest score in competition was shot by professional Christopher Smith at the Chicago Speedgolf Classic on October 16, 2005. Smith shot 65 in just 44:06 while carrying six clubs for a speed golf score of 109:06.
Other timed golf records
In 2005, a four-ball team of Ben Crosby, Andrew Crawford, John Lyon and Russell Hayhoe completed the 18 holes at Ponteland Golf Course in 1 hour 4 minutes 2 seconds.
In 2015, an 80-player team from Farnham Golf Club completed the 18 holes in 13 minutes 42 seconds.
Before the 2016 Open de España at Real Club Valderrama, three national teams of four players tried to complete the La Cascada par 5 hole in the fastest time. The French team of Raphaël Jacquelin, Alexander Lévy, Grégory Havret and Romain Wattel took four shots to complete the hole in 34.87 seconds, breaking the previous Guinness world record by half.
Speed golf is sometimes contrasted with Cross-country BigBall, in which players use soccer balls and baseball bats to reach a goal. Because the course and goals are chosen by the participants, Cross-country BigBall etiquette varies depending on whether the theater is a wooded or residential area. Both sports require substantial physical stamina.
Speed disc golf is similar in concept and rules to speed golf.
The biathlon (skiing and shooting a rifle) is also sometimes compared to speed golf.
- "Results". Speedgolf International. Retrieved December 25, 2007.
- "Speed Golf - 18 Holes in Under an Hour". Forum.mygolfspy.com. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "Bandon Dunes Host Inaugural Speedgolf World Championships". Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- Gunther, John (2012-10-22). "New pro wins world speedgolf title". Theworldlink.com. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "Shooting Par in Less Than an Hour with Jaacob Bowden". Smarterpodcasts.com. 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "The Golf Club Radio Show". Hernco.com. 2012-11-10. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "Hogan claims Speedgolf World Championship title". The Register-Guard. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "Nick Willis Finishes 13th at 2013 World Speed Golf Championships, Bernard Lagat is DFL". Letsrun.com. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- Fastest round of golf (fourball) - Guinness World Records
- Farnham golfers claim new world record - 11 June 2015
- Sergio Garcia on hand as European Tour golf stars break Fastest hole in golf by a team of four world record - Guinness World Records, 16 April 2016
- "Cross-country BigBall Association".