Eighteen holes of golf at par or under, and all in less than 40 minutes!
That’s the fast and furious nature of speed golf, and it’s coming to Carterton on Sunday when some of the world’s leading speed golfers will be chasing world records in the inaugural Craigs Investment Partners Carterton Speed Golf Open.
Men’s world number one Jamie Reid and number six, former Wairarapa and Wellington representative Robin Smith, from the Fitzroy Golf Club, New Plymouth, are the current team world champions, and both will have American Scott Dawley’s world record score of 107.15 [a score of 65 in 42 minutes 15 seconds] in their sights on the picturesque Carterton course.
Masterton-based professional Harry Bateman is also teeing up for the first time in the rapid version of the game and could be a realistic hope of bettering the two Kiwi internationals.
Event organiser Amy Linton, the sister of Smith and also a former Wairarapa and Wellington representative, is another who will attack the world record, although she rates herself as an outside chance of lowering Aucklander Liz McKinnon’s record of 121.15 [72 in 49:25]. Linton’s best score in practice is about 124 [69 plus 55 minutes]. McKinnon had been listed as an entrant, but it is unlikely that she will compete.
One record that will be set is the Masters’ Men 50-plus. John Farron and Greg Anderson will battle it out for the right to be called the first world record holder for the age group.
The rapid brand of golf, which combines golf and running, has been played for about two decades and has become popular with people who don’t have the time for a traditional game of golf and want to maintain their fitness.
“This game works for people of my age  where you’ve got young children, and you’re trying to get out and have work commitments, so if you can get out and do your golf and fitness at the same time in under an hour that makes it a lot easier,” Linton said.
A competitor’s score is simply calculated by adding the number of strokes and the time. To qualify as a world record, it must be set on a course that meets the International Speedgolf Alliance [ISGA] minimum distance and par requirements, and Linton confirmed the Carterton course meets those.
The golfers play individually rather than in groups and have a scorer who follows on a golf cart or bike and helps to spot balls to save time.
Each player only carries three clubs, usually a wood, a seven iron and a wedge, but sometimes three irons. The wedge is used for putting.
Bateman will be the first of the big guns to tee off on Sunday at 8 am, followed by Smith, Reid and Linton.
All proceeds from the tournament will go back to the Carterton Golf Club and its Junior Golf Programme.