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Mikko Rantanen breaks par to win 2018 Speedgolf World Championships (Winning WITB)

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This year’s Speedgolf World Championships, held on the Shenedoah Course at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, wrapped Oct. 16 — and a major record was finally broken.

But before we get to the results, a bit about the sport. Speedgolf, as you may remember (or may never have known), is much like regular golf except you are trying to complete the round as quickly as possible on foot. Your speedgolf score is your golf score plus the time it takes you to finish. For example, if you shoot 80 in 60 minutes, your speedgolf score is 80 + 60 = 140.

There are only a few minor rules differences.

First, you are allowed to leave the flagstick in, which will also actually become an option in regular golf in 2019. Second, in the case of a lost ball, you are allowed to drop in the vicinity of where the ball was lost. This is because it was thought to be too penal in speedgolf to not only lose the stroke from the lost ball but also lose the time running back to where you played your last shot (plus it might be dangerous if there is another player coming up behind you). Third, you can only bring a maximum of seven clubs instead of the usual 14.

Strategies continue to evolve and improve.

Bags, if taken, are usually smaller “Sunday” type bags from a variety of manufacturers but sometimes even homemade. To save time, some players have gotten quite good at 1-handed putting. They hold their bag or clubs in one hand and putt with the other hand.

If you are a fast distance runner like Olympians Bernard Lagat or Nick Willis, running will obviously be your strength and perhaps it’s better to take fewer clubs to take advantage of your speed. In fact, I’ve seen one guy only take a single bladed 6-iron. To hit it farther he puts the ball back in his stance and he delofts the club face more like that of a 3-iron. Around the green, since the sole is thinner, he can open the club face quite a bit, squat down, and pop the ball up almost like a flop shot. To roll his putts, he just catches the ball slightly above the equator using the leading edge and an ascending stroke.

Others like myself aren’t as strong at running but have played golf professionally, so we might take a little more time on our shots, clip our golf bags on a belt hook and putt two-handed, and use six or seven clubs to focus on shooting a good golf score. This year I used a driver (to take advantage of my distance), a 3-wood (to make sure I could reach par 5s in two shots), three of my Sterling Irons® single length irons (the 6-iron, the 9-iron, and the gap wedge), and my putter.

Rain gloves are fairly standard since you get so sweaty and don’t want the clubs slipping out of your hands while swinging. Shoes are often running shoes or lightweight trail running shoes.

Despite what you might think, even with a maximum of seven clubs and playing shots at an elevated heart rate, scoring isn’t all that much different from what you might shoot in regular golf. In fact, some people even play better in part because you don’t start over thinking shots and you play more instinctively in a reactionary manner.

Up to this point at the World Championships, we’ve had five people shoot par 72 in under an hour…myself, Christopher Smith, Scott Dawley, Gretchen Johnson, and Jaime Young.

I knew I was going in to this year’s World Championships out of shape, so I wasn’t expecting much from the running standpoint. However, my golf game was okay and I shot 72 in my practice round, which included a triple bogey. So, going for that golf scoring record was obviously on my mind. Alas, it wasn’t my year…but the record was still meant to be broken this year.

Now, on to the results: With an amazing round of 71 in 55 minutes and 28 seconds, Mikko Rantanen of Finland pulled off speedgolf’s version of Roger Bannister and the four-minute mile by breaking the par mark that many of us had been stuck on for years.

In his bag, Mikko had the following six clubs:

  • Titleist 915 D3 driver – 9.5 degrees
  • Titlest 917 F2 fairway wood – 15 degrees
  • Titleist AP 2 6-iron
  • Titleist 716 CB 9-iron
  • Titleist Vokey 52-degree sand wedge
  • Maxfli Tad Moore putter

He also used a Titleist ProV1x and wore Salomon trail running shoes.

Mikko said he was inspired to break par in speedgolf for the first time by Chris Benians of England, who shot a 69 (-3) in 49 minutes and 16 seconds two days prior at Rome Country Club in Rome, New York, as part of the 2018 US Speedgolf Championships.

Jamie Reid(a) of New Zealand ran the event’s fastest time with a blistering 47 minutes and 29 seconds. We have seen faster times in previous World Championships, however, much like the World Long Drive Championships, the course and conditions of the day come in to play. This year’s Shenedoah Course at Turning Stone Resort & Casino played to around 5.3 miles which included 1.9 miles of some quite long transitions between holes. We also faced lots of rain and a water-logged course. As such, times were a bit slower at this venue than in previous years.

Two-time World Champion Rob Hogan of Ireland remains the only man to break 40 minutes at the World Championships.

Lauren Cupp of New York won the women’s division with an 86 in 66 minutes and 34 seconds.
Mark Le Compte of New Zealand was the 25-49 age group division with an 84 in 59 minutes and 28 seconds.

Larry Levinson won the 50+ age group with an 81 in 69 minutes and 12 seconds.

The inaugural ISGA World Cup (a team event) was held the day after the World Championships. The Team USA duo of Steve Vancil (who played in the PGA TOUR’s Buick Open) and Eri Crum (who won the 2014 Speedgolf World Championships and was a Stanford University college golf teammate of Tiger Woods) took 1st place and the gold medal.

For full field results and to learn about speedgolf leagues in your area, click here.

 

Photo Credit: Kirstin Bull | Speedgolf USA

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Jaacob Bowden is a Professional Golfer, PGA of America Class A Member, Top 100 Most Popular Teacher, Swing Speed Trainer, the original founder of Swing Man Golf, the co-creator of "Sterling Irons" single length irons, and has caddied on the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS. Formerly an average-length hitting 14-handicap computer engineer, Jaacob quit his job, took his savings and moved from Kansas to California to pursue a golf career at age 27. He has since won the Pinnacle Distance Challenge with a televised 381-yard drive, won multiple qualifiers for the World Long Drive Championships including a 421-yard grid record drive, made cuts in numerous tournaments around the world with rounds in the 60s and 70s, and finished fifth at the Speed Golf World Championships at Bandon Dunes. Jaacob also holds the championship record for golf score with a 72 in 55 minutes and 42 seconds using only 6 clubs. The Swing Man Golf website has more than 8,000 members and focuses primarily on swing speed training. Typically, Jaacob’s website members and amateur and tour player clients will pick up 12-16 mph of driver swing speed in the first 30 days of basic speed training. You can learn more about Jaacob, Swing Man Golf, and Sterling Irons here: Websites – JaacobBowden.com & SwingManGolf.com & SterlingIrons.com; Twitter - @JaacobBowden & @SwingManGolf & @SterlingIrons; Facebook – Facebook.com/JaacobBowdenGolf & Facebook.com/SwingManGolf & <Facebook.com/SterlingIronsGolf; Instagram - Instagram.com/JaacobBowden YouTube – YouTube.com/SwingManGolf – More than 2.8 million video views

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. AJ2019

    Feb 8, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Mikko Rantanen was a very good College player. He played for Georgia Tech alongside David Duval, Stewart Cink and Carlos Beautell. All American in 1993 and loads of other merits as an amateur. Could sadly not quite follow it up as a pro.

  2. Vas

    Oct 24, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Less than zero interest in speed golf personally, but whatever floats your boat. Jaacob – your writing and take on how you improve swing speeds is top notch. Appreciate it!

  3. Mikko

    Oct 24, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Does he also play for the Colorado Avalanche, or is the name “Mikko Rantanen” like “Mike Smith” over in Finland?

  4. Cons

    Oct 24, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Gave this a go last night after reading this. 60 minutes and 38 shots to complete 9 with a full bag. Walked fast up until the last 3 holes when I knew I had to pick it up and run to make it under my goal of 1 hour. It diluted the golf a little bit, but from a fitness standpoint it was legit. Way more fun than a treadmill. Also great to get your golf mind in a new arena with the blood pumping and need to think fast. Would love to carry 4-5 clubs in hand with some running shoes next time.

  5. Jani

    Oct 24, 2018 at 8:04 am

    Here’s Mikko in action earlier this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXxm-DvTf8Q

  6. joe

    Oct 23, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    I think this is cool. Hitting a fairway wood off the deck with elevated heart rate is REAL. A true test.

  7. Jamie

    Oct 23, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Wonder who would do best on the PGA Tour. Let’s see how good they really are.

  8. HKO

    Oct 23, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    gotta make this regular on all the muni courses over wknd.

  9. allan

    Oct 23, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Yes… this is the way to play young men’s/women’s golf…. run and hit/putt!!!
    To quicken the pace of play eliminate putting and just measure closest to the hole…. and off you go.

    • allan

      Oct 23, 2018 at 3:31 pm

      During twilight I played solo golf carrying a 7-iron + putter + two pocketfuls of pond balls… or a 6-iron and a SW to hit and putt. I have a great short game now but the driver still eludes me.

    • allan

      Oct 23, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Play twilight solo golf with 7-iron + putter + a pocketfuls of balls… or a 6-iron and a SW only. I have a great short game now but the driver still eludes me.

  10. allan

    Oct 23, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Yes… this is the way to play young men’s/women’s golf…. run and hit/putt!!!
    Many an evening during twilight golf I played solo golf carrying a 7-iron + putter + two pocketfuls of pond balls… or a 6-iron and a SW to hit and putt. I have a great short game now but the driver still eludes me.

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Butch Harmon bidding farewell to Tour life

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Legendary golf instructor Butch Harmon is retiring from tour life according to a report from Golfweek.com

Per the report, sources say Harmon has told his players that he is “done on tour.” The 75-year-old will continue teaching in Las Vegas where he lives with his wife, Christy, but the man who currently coaches the likes of Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, and Gary Woodland will no longer be a regular on Tour with his stable of players.

Harmon will also be scaling back his appearances as an analyst on TV, after working extensively with Sky Sports UK over the last two decades.

The 75-year-old has coached an illustrious group of players throughout his career, including Tiger Woods between 1993 and 2004, Phil Mickelson, for eight years, and Greg Norman, for a period during the ’90s.

Harmon’s son Claude, who coaches Brooks Koepka, also works with Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.

Butch has of yet not commented publicly on his decision.

 

 

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Webb Simpson the latest player to be hit with a penalty as he pleads for intent to be included in Rule 9.4b

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Webb Simpson is the latest PGA Tour player to be handed a penalty on Tour, with the 33-year-old receiving a one-stroke penalty on Sunday afternoon at the Players Championship, leading the former U.S. Open champion to declare that “we have to get intent into the rules.”

The incident occurred on the 14th green at TPC Sawgrass when Simpson was addressing a 47-foot birdie putt from the fringe. Simpson disclosed following his round how his putter accidentally became tangled in his shirt, moving his golf ball “a quarter of an inch.” The 33-year-old was assessed a one-stroke penalty from a rules official having been deemed in violation of Rule 9.4b (Ball Lifted or Moved by Player).

Had Simpson had accidentally moved his ball on the putting surface, the American would not have been handed a penalty, but since the incident occurred off the green, it violated the rules. Something which Simpson, while speaking after the round, was frustrated with (per Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard)

“I’m going to be loud and clear, we have to get intent into the rules. We have to. Because it’s killing our game when it comes to these kind of things. What they try to say is either it’s hard to write the rule with intent or you open it up for gray area.

I think it’s actually the opposite. There’s no advantage. My putter hit my clothes, it moved it a quarter inch, I’m going to move it back. So I’m just I’m hoping that somehow or another intent can get broadened.”

Simpson finished the event T16 after birdieing two of his final three holes on Sunday.

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Rory does it | Further Rules clarification needed? | Brooks “out of sorts”

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

March 18, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans. Rory McIlroy’s win at yesterday’s Players Championship accomplished on the most satisfying feats in sports: (At least for now) shutting up critics who contend a player can’t (based on their armchair psychological assessment) close a tournament.
1. Rory does it
While he wobbled early, Rory McIlroy successfully walked the tightrope at TPC Sawgrass. With Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood faltering, McIlroy only needed a 2-under final-round effort to secure pro golf’s biggest payday.
  • AP Report…”McIlroy, one of eight players to have at least a share of the lead in the final round, was coming off a bogey on the 14th to fall behind and was in trouble with a tee shot that found a bunker right of the fairway. He responded with his best shot of the day to 15 feet for birdie.”
  • “Then, McIlroy hit the longest drive of the round on the par-5 16th, leaving him a 9-iron from a good lie in the rough to set up a two-shot birdie and the lead.”
  • “Most important, he found dry land on the par-3 17th, the Island Green that never looks smaller than on Sunday at THE PLAYERS.”
  • “He was solid to the end on a chilly, cloudy day and finished at 16-under 272 to win THE PLAYERS on his 10th try.”

Full piece.

2. Eddie! (and Jim)
Not only is he the game’s best blogger and Tweeter (no disrespect to Tiger Woods’ blog…does he still blog?), but it’s hard to be unhappy about Eddie Pepperell’s T3 finish.
  • The 28-year-old Englishman, who was paired with Justin Rose, played the first six holes in one over par, but then made seven birdies in 12 holes from the seventh to storm through the field and card a six-under 66.
  • The highlight was a 50-foot putt for birdie at the par-three 17th and he then did well to salvage a par at the last to give himself an outside chance of victory until McIlroy and Jim Furyk nosed ahead of him.
  • “To be honest I just had a few ups out there, I didn’t even have the downs to deal with because I holed a couple,” he said.
  • “The pitch, the bunker shot I hit on 14 and the pitch I holed on 15 were, no matter who hits them at any stage of a golf tournament, they’re great short game shots. They just gave me kind of a sense of huge confidence, actually. I kind of felt invincible, really, that last bit. Only around the greens, obviously.”

Full piece.

None of this is to sell Jim Furyk, 20 years Pepperell’s senior, short. The Businessman was a mere millimeter of a golf ball (his narrowly missed putt at the 17th) away from a playoff with Rory McIlroy. His walk-after-it approach to the 72nd hole as he stuffed his approach was the enduring image of the final round–certainly more so than McIlory’s massive sigh of relief (literally) after holing the tournament winner!
3. Magical Migliozzi
Nosing ahead of the field with a birdie at the 12th hole, all untested tour rookie Guido Migliozzi did was par his way in to take the Magical Kenya Open. A bit of sorcery indeed.
  • EuropeanTour.com report…”Guido Migliozzi showed nerves of steel down the back nine to claim his maiden European Tour title at the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa.”
  • “The Qualifying School graduate was in uncharted territory at Karen Country Club, playing just his 14th European Tour event with no previous top tens to his name.”
  • “He has three wins on the Alps Tour, however, and the Italian drew on those experiences to card a 69 and get to 16 under, one shot clear of playing partner Adri Arnaus and South Africans Louis de Jager and Justin Harding.”

Full piece.

4. Tiger…
PGATour.com’s Ben Everill…”Tiger Woods never recovered from a quadruple bogey on the iconic Island Green on Friday at TPC Sawgrass, but the 80-time PGA TOUR winner left THE PLAYERS Championship full of optimism.”
  • Woods came into the week following a neck injury that kept him out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, but the 43-year-old closed with his best round of the championship on Sunday.
  • His 3-under 69 left him at 6 under for the week, well off the pace, but still looking ahead with a positive mindset as he gears up to play the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play for the first time since 2013.

Full piece.

Ultimately, all good things as we march toward the Masters, it has to be said. 
5. “An epidemic the PGA Tour has no desire to cure”
A grim prognosis from Dr. Eamon Lynch!
  • Consider the particulars. Players are permitted 40-50 seconds to play their shots depending on the order of play in a group, but exceeding that limit doesn’t incur a bad time. For a group to be officially considered out of position they not only have to exceed the allotted time to play a shot but also reach a hole that is open and free of play. Only then does a group go on the clock. The punishment for that bad time is, well, nothing. A second bad time earns a one-stroke penalty, the third gets two. A DQ only comes at four. The fines levied are so meager as to be meaningless.
  • The most imbecilic mind on Tour would struggle to parse the policy but not to manipulate it.
  • Like a persistent rash, pace of play was again an irritant at the Players Championship. When the first round was called for darkness – despite daylight saving time – Anirban Lahiri still faced a short putt on the final hole. He had to return Friday morning to finish up. The Tour’s invariable stance is to insist there’s nothing to see and that everyone should just move along (at their own pace, of course).

Full piece.

6. Webb asks for further rules clarity
Closing in on his best round of the week at The Players, Webb Simpson was eyeing his 47-footer for birdie from the fringe of the 14th green when a rules infraction shattered the relative calm.
  • Simpson explained that his putter accidentally became tangled in his shirt and hit his golf ball, moving it “a quarter of an inch.” An official ruled that Simpson had violated Rule 9.4b (Ball Lifted or Moved by Player) and was assessed a one-stroke penalty which led to a bogey on the hole.
  • “I’m going to be loud and clear, we have to get intent into the rules. We have to. Because it’s killing our game when it comes to these kind of things,” said Simpson, who finished with a 4-under 68.

Full piece.

7. “Out of sorts”
Not sure what to make of this cryptic Ryan Lavner piece for GolfChannel.com, but here’s the relevant portion.
  • (Regarding Brooks Koepka)...”He has lost 24 pounds since November….It’s intentional, of course, though Koepka isn’t yet saying why.”
  • “You’ll see,” he said after the final round of The Players. “After Wednesday I’ll be fine.”
  • Over the past few months Koepka has been training twice a day, running and eating healthier.
  • “More of everything,” he said.
8. Tarde on Jenkins
Plenty has been penned on the passing of Dan Jenkins, but his friend/Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief, Jerry Tarde’s reflection is excellent.
  • A bit of his remembrance…”Dan lived in a penthouse in New York on “Park Street,” as he called it; then in a mansion on Ponte Vedra Beach, and finally moved back to the ancestral home near his beloved TCU in Fort Worth, where he passed away at 90 on March 7.”
  • “I tend to go to major championships the way Dorothy Kilgallen used to go to murder trials,” Jenkins wrote in Golf Digest in 1986. “I don’t cover tournaments anymore. I preside over them.” He ended up presiding over 232 majors in all-68 Masters, 56 PGAs, 63 U.S. Opens and 45 British Opens-a record that will never be matched. He was the most influential sports writer since Homer. And when it comes to lovers of the game, that rattling you hear is all of us moving up a notch in the world ranking.
  • “Who else but Jenkins would be sitting in the press dining lounge at a Ryder Cup when the door flings open and the president and first lady, George H.W. and Barbara Bush, rush over to give him a hug. “I bet the King of England never stopped by to see Bernard Darwin,” said his wingman Bev Norwood.”
9. WRX PSA: forum upgrades
We are excited to announce that we are going to be upgrading the forums! To facilitate this, the forums will be offline starting Monday 3/18/2019 9:00am Eastern. We are expecting the migration process to take 24 hours.
  • Please excuse the inconvenience and we appreciate your patience.
  • Once the initial upgrade is complete, we will be rolling out several enhancements in the coming weeks. There will be a dedicated thread once we’re back online to report any issues and we will work as fast as possible to address any bugs.
  • You will have to login again after the upgrade. If you have any issues getting logged in you will be able to reset your password using the email you used when you registered.
THANK YOU for being a part of GolfWRX!

 

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