Records were broken, putts were drained and a bunch of sweaty golfers grinned and grimaced their way to the finish line as the Springs Golf Club hosted the British Speedgolf Championship on Sunday 19th and Monday 20th September.
Darwin Escapes ambassador Luke Willett claimed a first title with rounds of 77 (+5) and 82 in times of 37 minutes 59 seconds and 39:57 – the Englishman’s combined score of 236.56 edging out compatriot George Boxall (240.04) and Ireland’s former world champion Rob Hogan (241.46).
Fourth-placed Andrew Eales carded a memorable 86 in the fastest time of 36:31 – taking just an eight-iron for company en route to his best newcomer finish with a score of 253.36.
Speedgolf is scored by combining a player’s score to par and time to run 18 holes including a short jog to the first tee and from the 18th green.
The biggest cheers of the two days were for amputee golfer Scott Richardson – the first disabled golfer to play a round of the high-octane version of the traditional sedate sport – who broke 100 in 74 minutes 40 seconds on Sunday then decided to up the pace to a whopping 71:16 on Monday morning.
“I was very proud to establish a world speedgolf time for an amputee and hope it inspires others to try it out,” he said.
This amputee challenges disability with his speedgolf skills pic.twitter.com/8HI39OjSUu
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 21, 2021
Willett said it was the sense of togetherness more than the trophy he took home that left him most buoyant about a whirlwind 48 hours.
“For me it’s about the players, we pick each other up, we all go out together to score or tidy the course afterwards. That’s something else and there’s a community that’s hard to match.
“Victory feels on a par to that camaraderie and community.”
The Springs team were so impressed they will soon be giving this phenomenon a go too.
“It was a privilege to host the British Open Speedgolf Championship at The Springs and watch this completely different take on the sport in action,” said Ashley Pheasant, Head of Golf at Darwin Escapes. “Not only are there massive health benefits to speedgolf, seeing 18 holes played in 40 minutes definitely removes some of the stereotypes of golf being a slow sport too! We can’t wait to try it ourselves.”