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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 Coach, Trainer, and Professional Golfer, keen on exploring golf and life’s broader lessons while offering coaching and swing speed training through JaacobBowden.com and SwingManGolf.com. With a history of driving remarkable golfing achievements, Jaacob intertwines his sport passion with holistic living. His writings reflect this blend, offering readers insights into improving both their game and their lives. Explore JaacobBowden.com and SwingManGolf.com to unlock a new level of golfing prowess and holistic enrichment.

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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Equipment

Photos from the 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge

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GolfWRX is live this week at Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Custom Camerons and some “super” new grips from SuperStroke are filling our galleries early in the week as well as WITBs — including the always interesting “Cashmere Keith” Mitchell.

Check out links to our photos below, which we’ll continue to update throughout the week.

And while you’re making your way through our photos, be sure to check out last year’s incredible gallery of prototype and personal Ben Hogan golf clubs.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying in the forums.

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Morning 9: Scheffler arraignment delayed | Missing Bryson? | Garcia, Reed miss out on U.S. Open

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans, as we look ahead to the Charles Schwab Challenge.

1. Scheffler arraignment delayed

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Scottie Scheffler’s arraignment date over multiple charges stemming from an incident at Valhalla with a Louisville Metro police officer has been delayed.”

  • “On Monday court documents show the arraignment date, originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, had been pushed back to June 3. Scheffler’s attorney Steve Romines has told multiple news outlets that Scheffler will enter a not guilty plea.”
  • “Scheffler was arrested on Friday morning outside Valhalla Golf Club ahead of the second round of the PGA Championship and charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, criminal mischief and reckless driving. Scheffler is alleged to have driven past a police officer against the officer’s instructions while trying to enter the club. Scheffler called the incident a misunderstanding, although a police report states that arresting officer Bryan Gillis was dragged by Scheffler’s car, which led to injury and damage of Gillis’ pants. Scheffler’s lawyer disputed the nature of the incident.”
Full piece.

2. Missing Bryson?

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Bryson DeChambeau – whose initials “B.A.D.” are displayed proudly on his yardage book – is the variable, a wildcard who decided to ply his trade on LIV Golf and, in doing so, robbed the Tour and its fans of the kind of polarizing star that makes sports so compelling.”

  • “To call DeChambeau an antihero would be unfair and inaccurate, but he is very much an antagonist whose stated goal is to reshape how the game is played in his unique imagine. Single-length clubs, a fixation on speed and strength and a mind that always seems to be three shots ahead.”
  • “In a world filled with Fords and Chevrolets, DeChambeau is a Tesla, and the contrast between the leading men was there for the world to see Sunday at the PGA Championship. Schauffele was focused and fixated, keeping his emotions and his energies in check, while DeChambeau was larger than life.”
  • “DeChambeau set the stage for his emotional Sunday late on Day 3 when he chipped in for eagle at No. 18. “Exhilarating,” he gushed when asked how he felt after his finish. “I haven’t felt like that in a long time.”
Full piece.

3. Why Schauffele’s dad watched from afar

Tod Leonard for Golf Digest…”The 22 acres of land is outside of Poipu Beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The Schauffele family owns it now, and on it sits a large cargo shipping container that doubles as a “house,” an excavator with a mulcher and several chainsaws. There is no running water or air conditioning, and the only power is generated by solar panels. Bathroom? “You take a spade and you walk into the jungle—that’s your toilet,” Stefan Schauffele says.

  • “Rather fitting for a man whose centuries-old German-French name literally means “man with a small shovel.”
  • “This rustic camp is where professional golfer Xander Schauffele’s parents, Stefan and Ping Yi, have spent weeks at a time away from their tract home in San Diego so they can eventually create an escape from the world for future generations of their family. Stefan is currently on a three-month stint there. Still, there are sacrifices, like not being able to have a television around when your son is contending in the final round of major championship.”
  • “That was the case on Sunday for the elder Schauffele, who rose with the cries of Kauai’s ever-present roosters to work his land. It rained overnight and he wanted to check on the plants he had just put in. Some 4,300 miles away and six hours ahead in time, Xander Schauffele began his round in the 106th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club tied for the lead and with his best chance to win what had been an elusive first major.”
Full piece.

4. Inside the Colonial renovation

Paul Hodowanic for PGATour.com…”There would be many more like it. Still 10 months from their deadline, a quiet intensity loomed over every decision and action. Crews began ripping up Colonial less than 24 hours after Emiliano Grillo beat Adam Schenk in a playoff to claim the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge, and they did so with an ambitious directive: fully renovate one of the most historic courses in America in time for the PGA TOUR’s annual visit the following May.?”

  • “A project of such scale normally takes at least 18 months to complete; Colonial had little less than a year, though. As the venue for the Charles Schwab Challenge since 1946, Colonial hosts the longest-running TOUR event held annually at the same site. The club had no intention of interrupting that streak. The renovation had to fit its schedule.?”
  • “Gil Hanse, the renowned architect in charge of restoring the 1936 Perry Maxwell design, had worked under similar time constraints only a handful of times before. Each of those had more favorable growing seasons. Colonial’s renovation banked on the course surviving the winter.??”
  • “Hanse, McIntosh and their teams had spent the last year with those stakes as their backdrop. The $20 million renovation, designed to reinvigorate the classic design and maintain Colonial’s reputation as one of the top clubs in the country, was accompanied by an unforgiving timeline. The world would know if the course wasn’t ready, and there would be no time for adjustments. The pros playing Colonial this week are the first to play the course. Members won’t play it for another month.?”
Full piece.

5. Bryson feels the love at Valhalla

Will Knights for Fried Egg Golf…”??While he ultimately came up one shot short, the 2024 PGA Championship will go down as a rousing success for Bryson DeChambeau. He said he didn’t play his best and yet he shot four rounds of 68 or better, finishing strong with a Sunday 64. More surprising than the on-course success, though, was the clear, obvious, and at times overwhelming crowd support DeChambeau found in Louisville. Down the stretch, Joel Beall posted “the crowd is pulling for Bryson and it’s not even close.” That was very clear on the broadcast, as Bryson’s birdies were greeted with roars and he met the moment again and again with increasingly large fist pumps, playing to and feeding off of the crowd.”

  • “Whether it’s just the passage of time, a lack of exposure due to his LIV move, a maturation within Bryson, or some combination, DeChambeau has come a long way from the days when he was harassed with chants of “Brooksy!” Belief-straining statements about people thanking him for what he does online notwithstanding, I truly think his YouTube channel is helping his reputation. It lets him connect with people in a way he’s comfortable with, and he seems somewhat more comfortable out there, to the point he stopped to shame an adult who swiped a ball he tossed to a kid. He may not be for everyone. He may always say some outlandish things at press conferences. But he’s certainly more popular than he was in years past.”
Full piece.

6. Reed and Garcia miss out in U.S. Open qualies

AP report…”Patrick Reed withdrew from U.S. Open qualifying on Monday to end his streak of playing every major since the 2014 Masters. Sergio Garcia made two big mistakes late that cost him advancing to his 25th straight U.S. Open.”

  • “Garcia, who made it through 36-hole qualifying last year, was poised to get one of the 11 spots at Dallas Athletic Club until taking a double bogey on the par-5 16th of the Gold course. He finished with two pars for a 71 and was forced into a seven-man playoff for six spots.”
  • “Everyone else made par or birdie. Garcia made a bogey on the first hole of the Gold course and had to settle for first alternate, keeping his hopes alive to be at Pinehurst No. 2 on June 13-16.”
Full piece.

7. Only one LIV golfer successfully qualifies

Mike Hall for Golf Monthly…”Three US Open final qualifying events were held on Monday, and LIV golfers were in the field in each.

  • “However, while a total of 13 teed it up for a place at Pinehurst No.2, only Eugenio Chacarra achieved it, and it will be a particularly special occasion for the Spaniard as it will be his maiden Major appearance.”
Full Piece.
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Morning 9: Nelly does it again | Bryson: Definitely disappointing | Xander wins PGA

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Monday morning, golf fans, as Xander Schauffele celebrates becoming a major champion after a dramatic Sunday at Valhalla.

1. Xander wins first major

Mark Schlabach for ESPN…”They can’t call Xander Schauffele the best golfer in the world without a major championship victory any longer.”

  • “The 30-year-old from San Diego captured his first major victory Sunday by outlasting LIV Golf League captain Bryson DeChambeau and Norway’s Viktor Hovland in the final round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.”
  • “After starting the day tied for the lead with two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, Schauffele silenced his critics who claimed he couldn’t close out a big one by posting a 6-under 65 in the final round to finish with a 72-hole total of 21 under and defeat DeChambeau by 1 shot and Hovland by 3.”
Full piece.

2. Bryson comes up agonizingly short

Elliot Heath for Golf Monthly…The LIV Golfer shot a stunning final round of 64 (-7) at the PGA Championship, which included a birdie at his final hole, to come up one stroke shy of Xander Schauffele’s new record 21-under-par total.

  • “Definitely disappointing, but one that gives me a lot of momentum for the rest of the Majors. I said today it was closing time, but it will be closing time hopefully, hopefully over the next couple Majors,” DeChambeau said.
  • “Having began the day two strokes off the lead, his seven-under score got him to 20-under to force the pressure on Schauffele to shoot a low number. The American duly did that, with DeChambeau revealing that he thought his eventual score would have got the victory before the round.”
  • “Yeah, I certain seriously thought 18 [under-par] was going to do it,” he said.”
  • “Then when I saw what Xander was doing, it’s like, man, he’s playing some unbelievable golf. Viktor was right there. I mean, he was beating me for quite awhile, and I was hitting it all over the place. But, yeah, I mean, it was an impressive, impressive round of golf by all three of us. I don’t know what else to say. It was just difficult.”
Full piece.

3. Scottie “Ready to get home”

Ryan Lavner at Golf Channel…”The pre-tournament favorite was part of a confusing and chaotic situation Friday at Valhalla when he was arrested following a traffic incident with a police officer while trying to enter the course.”

  • “Scheffler was booked on four charges – the most serious, second-degree assault of an officer – and released after about an hour in jail. He made it to the course in time for his second round, shot 66 and was firmly in contention heading into the weekend.”
  • “But that’s when, Scheffler said, the magnitude of what had transpired finally caught up to him.”
  • “…Afterward, Scheffler said that he was more tired than usual following a tournament – a noteworthy admission seeing how he’d just won four of his past five starts. He said he was uncertain about his plans for the next few days – his arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday – but he was still planning to play next week at Colonial.”
  • “I’m just wondering what time bedtime is,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out how quickly I can get home from here, and that’s pretty much it. I’m just fairly tired and ready to get home.”
Full piece.

4. Nelly wins again

AP report…”With her record-tying winning streak over, Nelly Korda got back to doing what she does best — winning.”

  • “Nelly Korda won a back-nine showdown with Hannah Green of Australia with a par on the 18th hole to capture the Mizuho Americas Open by a stroke Sunday for her sixth win in seven starts on the LPGA Tour this year.”
  • “Oh, my gosh, six,” Korda said. “I can’t even really gather myself right now with that, the head-to-head that Hannah and I had pretty much all day. Wasn’t my best stuff out there today, but fought really hard on the back nine.”

 

Full piece.

5. Another policy board resignation

Mark Schlabach for ESPN…”Mark Flaherty resigned from the PGA Tour’s policy board on Sunday, becoming the second independent director to step down in less than a week.”

  • “On Monday, independent director Jimmy Dunne, who helped negotiate the PGA Tour’s framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment fund last year, resigned, effectively immediately.”
  • “In Dunne’s resignation letter to PGA Tour members, he wrote that “no meaningful progress has been made towards a transaction with PIF” and that “my vote and my role is utterly superfluous” now that player directors outnumber independent directors on the policy board.”
  • “PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan sent a memo to PGA Tour members Sunday night, informing them of Flaherty’s resignation. Flaherty is a former vice chairman of Wellington Management, an investment management company.”
Full piece.

6. Harry Higgs wins on Korn Ferry Tour

PGA Tour report…”Higgs holed out for eagle from 83 yards at the 72nd hole of the Korn Ferry Tour’s AdventHealth Championship, ultimately landing a spot in a playoff with Tanner Gore at 19 under at Blue Hills Country Club outside Kansas City. Higgs won with a 7-foot birdie on the first playoff hole, again the par-5 18th, an outcome that delighted the spirited observers in Higgs’ home region (he was born in Philadelphia but grew up in nearby Overland Park, Kansas).

Full piece.

7. Winning WITB: Xander Schauffele

Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees @10.1)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 70 TX (45.5 inches)

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond (15 degrees @14.4)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana PD 80 TX

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (21 degrees @19.7)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 90 TX

Irons: Callaway Apex TCB ’24 (4-10)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-10)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (52-10S), Titleist Vokey Design SM10 (56-10S @57), Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-K @61)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Design Las Vegas Prototype 7CH

Grip: SuperStroke Zenergy Tour 2.0

Grips: Golf Pride MCC Align

Ball: Callaway Chrome Tour

The winning WITB is presented by 2nd Swing Golf. 2nd Swing has more than 100,000 new and pre-swung golf clubs available in six store locations and online. Check them out here.

Full WITB.
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