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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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News

People are going crazy over these Jordan 1 Low Golf sneakers!

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Nike’s next installment of Jordan Golf sneakers is releasing in the U.S. today. This time, we don’t have to guess if the sneakers will sell out — we already know they will.

The Nike Jordan 1 Low G was released in Korea on January 14, and it was a sight to behold. According to The Korea Times:

“Pitching tents hours before the opening of Nike stores so as to be the first to get inside, customers sprinted into the stores like a mad mob. A witness to the scene at Shinsegae Department Store in Daegu said it was ‘scary to see them running like zombies.'”

Reports say that most of the customers were there to make a profit on the secondary sneaker market, a market that’s been growing exponentially for years now, with pairs reportedly selling for up to $670.

As far as the sneaker go themselves, they’re relatively toned down for all the hype they’ve created. The sneaker is essentially the Jordan 1 Low ‘Wolf Grey’ but with Nike’s traction sole.

They’ve been advertised as “everything you need to play 18 holes in comfort” by Nike themselves.

Check out this video to get a better idea of wild the scene in Korea on January 14.

Jordan 1 Low Golf mayhem

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2022 American Express

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GolfWRX is live this week from The American Express at PGA West in La Quinta, California as the PGA Tour begins its West Coast Swing.

We got an in-hand look at the new Mitsubishi MMT Putter Concept putter shaft (as well as the inside story here), Fujikura Ventus TR Blue shaft (story here), Vokey SM9, new Cobra drivers, new TaylorMade putters, as well as plenty of peeks inside player bags.

Check out links to all our photos below!

Gallery threads

Spotted threads 

WITB threads

Join the discussion and see what GolfWRXers are saying here. 

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Equipment

Patrick Reed on PXG driver deal, new Grindworks “Barrett” wedges (plus 2022 WITB)

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Prior to PXG’s recent announcement, Patrick Reed was an equipment free agent and had the freedom to play with any driver he wanted.

Without any mandates from a particular OEM, Reed was free to test and use different drivers from various manufacturers. And, throughout the majority of 2021, that’s what he did. Seemingly every week, Reed was using a driver from a different company, searching for his right fit.

By the end of the year, he finally found it. Starting in October 2021, Reed used a PXG 0811X Gen4 driver (equipped with his usual Aldila Rogue 125 MSI shaft) for the remainder of 2021.

Three months was an eternity in Reed’s 2021 free agency world of ever-changing driver choices, so it was no surprise when PXG announced the endorsement deal at the start of 2022. He was already using the company’s driver for a relatively extensive period, so the deal happened organically.

Following his T-15 finish at the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui – his first event as a member of the PXG Troops – I briefly caught up with Reed on Tuesday at the 2022 American Express in Palm Desert to ask him about the driver and the deal.

“The driver’s been amazing,” Reed told GolfWRX. “Being in that free agency market, I’ve been able to use whatever I want. I’ve tested every driver from Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist, Ping, PXG, and this one I feel like gives me the best opportunity to make my golf swing and hit the shot I want to, and at the same time have the speed I’m looking for. So, for me, the driver’s unbelievable.”

While the PXG driver has been in his bag for months now, he did show up to the 2022 American Express with a few new clubs.

In addition to the Grindworks irons that he’s been playing the last few years, Reed now has new Grindworks “Barrett” signature collection wedges in the bag (Barrett is the name of Reed’s son). As per the company’s website, the wedges are officially called “Grindworks + Patrick Reed – The Barrett Wedge Collection.

Designed by Niimi Kiyonari, the same craftsman who designed Reed’s irons, the Barrett wedges are the result of two years of close work with Reed to get exactly what he wants out of his wedge.

“We’ve been working really hard on designing the wedges through Grindworks,” Reed told GolfWRX on Tuesday. “They’ve been really good. It’s still a work in progress, trying to tweak them a hair here and there, but for me, it’s going to be a game-changer, because, let’s be honest, you have to be perfect from 130 yards-and-in nowadays on Tour, because that’s where you score every time.”

On the company’s website, Kiyonari writes the following about working with Reed on the wedges, and how they’re different:

“The idea of creating Mr. Reed’s wedges intrigued me. When Mr. Reed asked me to design his new wedge, I immediately realized that Patrick was after feel and nothing else. Feel permeates Patrick’s game through the core and is not to be compromised ever.

“So, the next question entered my mind… how do you go about designing a wedge that is unparalleled in the market and that you can only describe through feel at impact? Patrick had absolute faith in my ability to take his words, direction, and his eye for the aesthetics of the clubs and develop and synthesize all of the information and create what would be the perfect set of wedges.

“At first, I was tempted to dismiss the project, only because the feel is so subjective. How would I know from person to person what feel people want to be achieved? But in working with the irons with Patrick, I realized his aptitude for knowing what feeling people as well as the best players in the world are looking for… as well as what they were not looking for. It took us well over a year and a half just discussing the details with Patrick. The alloy to use, the shape to forge, how many grooves to cut and not once during all this time did Patrick waver about the technology or processes, all he wanted to achieve were his grinds….the grinds he had been trying to duplicate with each win, with each practice, wedges that would no longer need grinding and lead tape, he wanted his wedges and he wanted me to create his ‘go-to’ set of wedges, no grinding or lead tape necessary, ready for game- time.

“It took over two years of prototypes, discussions, changes, and sacrificed so many samples to achieve exactly what we all wanted. As a surprise to Patrick, we named his signature Wedges ‘Barrett’ after his only son.”

Reed had three Grindworks Barrett wedges (51, 57, and 61 degrees) in the bag on Tuesday at The American Express, although he appears to still be testing out the 61-degree version against Titleist Vokey SM9 and SM8 lob wedges.

As a side note, I also asked Reed about the relationship with Grindworks and how it started in the first place.

“Justine,” Reed said. “Justine (Reed’s wife) contacted them whenever I was trying to figure out what direction I was trying to go with clubs when I was in free agency. We just asked them if they’d build us a set of clubs, and I’m thinking they’re just going to send a blade that they’ve already made with my specs and just send ’em to me. After about 500 emails and 8 different CAD designs, we designed the entire set from scratch.”

Below is an in-hand look at each of the new Barrett wedges and a company description of each new design.

Grindworks PR-B51

“The Grindworks Barrett 51 wedge is all about ‘smooth transitions.’ This wedge is intended to give you the shotmaking from the fairway giving players optimal spin, with the ability to control trajectory, and create the shot you want or need into the greens.”

Grindworks PR-B57

“The Grindworks Barrett 57 grooves are stamped lower and also closer to the leading edge giving it an overall straighter look but also keeps the forgiveness needed not to ‘dig.’ The intention with this 57-degree wedge was to give heel and toe relief, a wider sole, and smooth transitions from the heel to the toe.”

Grindworks PR-B61  

“A ‘High-Toe Look,’ but not a high toe. The 61-degree wedge has a nice straight leading edge, but transitions to the bounce smoothly so it does not dig. The grooves are stamped lower and are set deep into the wedge for optimal spin and performance. The bounce of this wedge is lower with heel and toe relief which allow for play on multiple surfaces and different lies and gives a player a multitude of shots, enhancing playability anywhere around the greens or from the fairway.”

Below is everything that Reed had in his bag on Tuesday ahead of the 2022 American Express. To see what GolfWRX members are saying about Reed’s equipment, and see all of our photos, check out the full Patrick Reed WITB 2022 forum thread here.

Driver: PXG 0811X Gen4 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue 125 MSI 70 TX

3 Wood: TaylorMade SIM (15 degrees), TaylorMade Stealth Plus (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue 130 MSI 70 TX

Hybrid: Callaway Apex (18 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila RIP Phenom Hybrid 100 TX

Irons: Grindworks PR-202 (4 iron), Grindworks Patrick Reed Forged 101-A  (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Grindworks Barrett (51, 57 and 61 degrees), Titleist Vokey SM9 (lob wedge), Titleist Vokey SM8 (lob wedge)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro #3

Click here to see all of our photos of Reed’s equipment.

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