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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 creator of Sterling Irons® single length irons, and has caddied on the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS. Two of his articles for GolfWRX are the two most viewed of all time. 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 shot 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 helped millions of golfers and focuses primarily on swing speed training. Typically, Jaacob’s amateur golfers and tour players 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 – Millions of 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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WOTW: Joohyung Kim’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph “Panda”

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The Wyndham Championship gave a young pro, Joohyung Kim, his first PGA Tour win! Kim shot a 61 in the final round to win by five strokes at Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina. Kim was presented with the silver trophy that he held high while wearing a discontinued Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph “Panda.”

WOTW Specs

Name: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph
Reference: 26331ST.OO.1220ST.03
Limited: No
Date: 2017 – 2022
Case: Stainless Steel
Bezel: Stainless Steel
Dial: Silver Toned Grande Tapisserie
Size: 41mm
Movement: Calibre 2385, 37 Jewels
Power Reserve: 40 Hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal
Waterproof: 50 Meters
Bracelet: Stainless Steel Royal Oak
Price: $24,500 (~$60,000)

Audemars Piguet, sometimes referred to as just AP, was founded in 1875 by Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet. As one of the largest and most respected names in luxury watchmaking, they are still family owned to this day. Paul-Edward Piguet is the great-grandson of Edward and on the board of directors, ensuring the 147-year-old company holds true.

Audemars Piguet was in rough financial shape back back in 1970 with quartz movement watches taking over the industry. Quartz movements are more accurate and far cheaper than mechanical ones, offering precision timepieces to the masses. In 1972, Audemars Piguet looked to one of the most famous watch designers, Gerald Genta, to create a piece that would save the company. Genta did not disappoint, creating one of the most iconic watches ever in the Royal Oak. Introduced in 1972, the Royal Oak was larger and more expensive than any other stainless steel sports watch in history.

The Royal Oak Chronograph that Kim is wearing was introduced in 1972 and looks like it was discontinued earlier this year. The case is made from stainless steel and measures in at 41mm across. On the right side of the case is the crown and 2 pushers to run the chronograph sub dials. The caseback is solid stainless steel, with an etched Royal Oak logo, and held down with 8 screws. On top of the case is the iconic 8-sided Royal Oak bezel, crafted in matching stainless steel. The top of the bezel has a brushed finish and contains 8 hex screws that hold it in place.

The dial is again a legendary AP design, the Grande Tapisserie texture. Grande Tapisserie is raised squares with some texture that looks like very fine milling marks on it. That dial is done in a Silver Tone that looks more white in the light. White gold hour markers and hands add some more luxury to the watch and should keep its color for years to come. Three black sub dials are arranged at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock for timing minutes and hours along with the pushers on the side.

Inside the Panda is a self-winding automatic movement designed and built in house by Audemars Piguet. The Calibre 2358 is based off of a Frédéric Piguet caliber 1185 that was originally designed in 1988. The 2358 features 40 hours of power reserve and contains 37 jewels. The 2358 has been used in quite a few timepieces and could be considered a workhorse for Audemars Piguet.

The bracelet was designed to flow perfectly with the case when Genta first designed it. The Royal Oak bracelet is crafted from stainless steel and the full width lugs are held together with 2 smaller links. The outside of bracelet is finished in a brushed look while the beveled edges are polished to a mirror-like look. The clasp features a twin trigger release with and thick steel swing arms for durability. An AP logo on the claps is the only way you can really tell it is there, almost invisible.

The Panda looks like it was discontinued this year and prices have been slowly increasing since then. If you would like one of these very popular watches, expect to pay around $60,000 in the current market.

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Tour Rundown: Buhai in the sky, 27 for the 20-year-old

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Major championship season came to a close with a final winner in 76 holes at Muirfield. The last regular season concluded on the PGA Tour, with a front-nine 27 and a 20-year-old winner. Another playoff featured on the Tour Champions, and two more events brought stirring resolutions on Korn Ferry and DP World Tour. Snap your fingers and it’s August. Three weeks from now, we’ll have a FedEx Cup champion. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and learn a bit about our five champions in this week’s Tour Rundown.

LPGA/Ladies European Tour: Buhai in the sky after playoff win

Ashleigh Buhai has been at the LPGA grind since 2014. Her storied amateur career translated into 15 wins on the South African and European circuits, but when she moved stateside nearly a decade ago, the wins stopped coming. On Saturday evening, on the heels of a Saturday 64 at Muirfield, Buhai found herself in possession of a five-shot advantage, and in the British Open, no less! No finer place to break through for a win, or break a heart.

For most of Sunday, it looked like the later would be Buhai’s plight. She stood one-over par through 14 holes, while In Gee Chun posted three birdies on the front nine, to narrow the gap to one. Chun gave two back at 10 and 12, but then the script fell out when Buhai mad a triple-bogey seven at the 15th to fall into a tie. The pair would par in to the clubhouse, and return to the 18th tee to decide matters.

Pars, then bogeys, then pars again, and Buhai-Chun returned to the demanding par four once more. Faced with a long, greenside bunker recovery, Buhai dug deep into her South African roots, where great bunker play is like skating in Canada. She splashed out to about 14 inches, made the putt for par, and collected her first major title and LPGA victory. Ahh, those East Lothian nights!

PGA Tour: 27 for the 20-year old leads to Kim win

As Nick Faldo took a bow in his final telecast for the PGA Tour, Joohyung Kim made his own waist bend, and collected a first tour title, fresh out of his teens. You’ll no doubt read that Kim began the 2022 Wyndham with a quadruple bogey. We’ll not get into that, because no one needs to disect that sort of cadaver. What Kim did over the subsequent, 71 holes is what deserves attention. 25 birdies, three bogies, and one mighty eagle were enough to push the young Korean to a 61 on Sunday, and a one-shot victory.

For a time, it seemed that Kim’s countryman, Sungjae Im, or American John Huh, might figure in the outcome. Kim put that notion to rest with an impossible 27 on Sunday’s front nine. That’s right: Kim averaged three shots per hole over the first half of the final round. He made four at the first, which might have felt like a birdie after Thursday’s eight on the same hole. He balanced that with a two at the fourth, and made threes the rest of the way.

A solitary bogey, just his third of the week, stalled his progress at the tenth. Pars and birdies the rest of the way ensured a five-shot cushion over Im and Huh. What was I doing at 20? Who knows. What were any of us doing at 20?

DP World Tour: Shinkwin secures second title on big stage

Despite what the caption says for the video below, Callum Shinkwin was not at the peak of his powers on Sunday. He did post a fourth, consecutive round under par; the only man in the field to do so, in fact. That round of 70 was just one shot below par, and was comprised of seven pars, six birdies, and five bogeys. Round four was something of a ratatouille for the Englishman, but he was able to steer the ship through choppy waters, and ultimately come out with a four-shot win over Scotland’s Connor Syme.

Syme had a week of his own, save for a second-day 73. The highlander (well, Fife) needed perfection on Sunday at Celtic Manor, but was unable to find it. The former Ryder Cup venue, site of a European side triumph, played tough as nails all week, but it did offer a bit of respite at moments. The Cazoo win was Shinkwin’s second on the DP World Tour. The tour moves from Wales to Northern Ireland this week, and Shinkwin certainly hopes that Galgorm Castle will be as hospitable as was Celtic Manor.

Korn Ferry Tour: Only low numbers need apply as Kozan kollects korn

Andrew Kozan played his college golf at Auburn University. This week in Utah, he made the Tiger faithful proud with bookend 63s for a first KFT laurel. The only motto this week was Go Low or Don’t Go. 13 golfers posted 18-under or better and, with the victory coming at -21, there were a lot of players in the mix for a long time.

Third-round leader Mark Anderson started off well, with birdies on three of the first seven holes. The wheels came off as he rounded the turn, where three bogies dropped him from the lead. Anderson would recover with two more birdies coming home. On a day when eight and nine-birdie cards were the norm, his work would not carry him home.

Justin Suh, Patrick Fishburn, and Ashton Van Horne tied for second, a shot behind Kozan. Each posted a marvelous, Sunday score (63, 64, 64, respectively) but each also had a bogey on his sheet. Kozan did as well, at the par-four eighth, but when all the ink had dried and the shots were tallied, he was one shot clear of the trio, and on the podium for his first, important professional win.

PGA Tour Champions: Kelly keeps Huston at bay in Calgary

Guys like Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer brought multiple major titles and sizable PGA Tour win totals to the senior circuit. Guys like Jerry Kelly found a spotlight they hadn’t known on the young-uns circuit. While Kelly won thrice on the early tour, the wins came early and middle, but not after 2009. Kelly arrive on Tour Champions in 2016, seven years after his third and final, regular-group win. He won twice in 2017, and nothing would hold him back.

This week in Calgary, Jerry Kelly won his third event of the 2022 campaign, and second in a playoff. In June, Kelly dispatched Kirk Triplett in a playof in Iowa. Triplett held the overnight lead on Saturday, and rematch was in the offing. Triplett faded on Sunday, and the drama was left to Kelly and one-time Tour Champions winner John Huston to settle matters.

The first playoff hole was the par-five 18th, and Kelly found a way to sneak an approach in to about seven feet. The putt wobbled at first, then straightened out into the hole, and the man from Wisconsin (aka Canada South) had his eleventh win on the seasonsed citizens tour, and third in three months.

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Imprisoned Masters champ to face second trial for ‘gender violence’

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As first reported by CBA24n, Angel Cabrera is set to stand trial once again this December.

The 2009 Masters champion was charged with threatening, assaulting and harassing former partner Cecilia Torres Mana in July of 2021 and is currently serving two years in Argentina for his conviction.

Since that case has concluded, there have been more allegations against the 52-year-old. Torres Mana is claiming that Cabrera had violated his restraining order against her on “multiple occasions.”

Now, a second accuser, Micaela Teresa Escudero, is claiming that she faced “coercion,” “coercion and threat” and “minor injuries” from Cabrera as well.

The former golfer is serving his time at Carcel de Bouwer, which is an infamous prison known as “El Penal del Infierno” or the “Prison of Hell.”

The trial is set to begin on December 1.

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