Striving to become World Champion Speed Golf 2021
Last week Luke Willett, aka the Iron Golfer, put together an amazing round of golf at the unique and brilliant Sunningdale Heath
Last week I took part in the 'Battle of Britain' with George Boxall where Great Britain's two fastest golfers went head-to-head to see who was quicker over 18 holes. On day one George flew round in 24 minutes, me 26. My speedgolf score (time + score) was 94 which was a new low for – the world record is 108 but to be eligible for that you have to complete a course of 6,000 yards whereas Sunningdale Heath is 3,700.
The following day my score was 92.59 (66 shots) which was so encouraging for the future. Again George pipped me in terms of speed and afterwards he commented how he was surprised that I wasn't faster than him. So we played a couple of holes and straightaway it was obvious he was running onto the green with his clubs on his back and putting one-handed. I would hit the green, throw my bag as far as I could on the side and then putt and run and double back on myself so, all the time, I was losing time doing this. Plus you have pins in weird places which adds more time.
So I’m going to tackle that in the coming months and mess around with the one-handed putting. I'll maybe anchor it into my forearm and find out if it's best to lead with the left or right hand, I remember seeing a pro years ago and he had the yips and he putted one-handed and he shot 66 so it can be done.
The week before at The Springs, where I was going for the world record, we had pacemakers and it was a very fair test with the pins and tees in the right places and we created the right scenario for a quick round. Sunningdale Heath was set up for the punters that day and merely about a run to the finish line. But I didn't really change my game, I didn’t run any faster, I was glued to my score and I had two good scores on quite a tricky course. If you haven't played there it's fantastic; you hit every shot in the bag, it's golf in small form but with mental greens.
I got rid of the 2-iron out and hit 3-wood and that made such a difference. As a speed golfer I've lost a lot of distance as you end up punching everything with a steep angle of attack and you create a lot of backspin but it is straight. So I've got the 3-wood, 6-iron, wedge and putter in the bag and I'm quite happy with that now.
The big goal is to win the World Speed Golf Championship in Japan, if it happens. That’s the plan and events like this are set up for the end game - keep elevating things and using them as a benchmark of where I’m at. I'll be really honing in on speed, I've got a weird idea that I’d love to do a 10k under 30 minutes which is effectively Olympic qualification time, I'm nowhere near that now but I’m a fit and fast guy so it's possible. If I can get to that point I could maybe call myself the fittest golfer in the world and that might be some sort of nice legacy.
In the coming months I'll have to start using stopwatches. In my sprints if it takes 30 seconds to get to the top of the hill, then I have to get that down to 20 after a few months. It will be all about conditioning of the legs and grinding it out, not for fitness but to really be strong and a fighting-fit athlete.