Ruminations on speed golf

Every now and then I substitute my thrice-weekly 3-5 mile run with a bit of speed golf. At Black Mouse DGC, a short but very mountainous track, it’s a great workout. My habit there, if time allows, is to play the course twice and aim for a time of less than an hour. Today I finished the first round in 26:26, and the the entire 36 holes in 53:05. If my math is correct, that means that the second 18 holes took 13 seconds longer than the first 18. I thought that was kinda cool, that the time it took to finish each round of 18 was so similar.

Reflecting on this bit of arcane information got me to thinking, though, about the relationship in speed golf between speed of play and score. Although it seems like a person could go faster if they were not concerned with score, once that person decides to play ‘speed golf’ for exercise I don’t believe that holds true. After all, the shortest distance between two points (say, tee to basket) is a straight line, and if you rush so much that your drive goes wildly errant and careens far off a fairway and down a hill, any time saved by rushing is canceled out by the extra hike to get to the errant disc and extra effort to hole out from there. Here is some more data from my morning round:

  • The first 18, I shot a -2, and the second 18 my score was -4
  • Although Black Mouse includes numerous blind holes and is heavily forested with redwood trees, ferns, and thick ground cover, the first round I was able to locate all my drives and upshots immediately. The second round, I had to search briefly a couple of times.
  • I didn’t feel like a lagged at all the second round due to fatigue

My guess is that if I had had as smooth a round the second 18 as the first, in terms of locating my drives, I would have finished it in less time rather than 13 seconds more. Maybe that just means that my hypothesis holds true in courses like we have here in Santa Cruz County, as opposed to flat, open, un-wooded areas.

According to Wikipedia’s entry on speed golf, speed golf competitions in ball golf use a formula where stroke play score is added to the time required to finish the round. Would the same formula be the most sensible with a disc golf version? Or would time elapsed alone be enough, with the idea that a round where the player does not shoot a good score is never going to yield a top time? I have an idea that the Running Man will have an opinion if he reads this.

Either way, it makes for a great workout and one of the best ways I know of to have fun while doing it.

One thought on “Ruminations on speed golf

  1. I had the privilege of being an official scorekeeper in the inaugural speed golf tourney here in San Diego a few years ago. My player finished 18 holes in 45 minutes with a score of 86. the winner had the same time with a score of 76 so score + time is a great way to count. I have played speed golf with both balls and discs. At Morley I only count under-par rounds and my best is 16:21 AT 1 under par.As far as hurrying goes, 18 minutes for 18 holes with a score of par means that each shot takes an average of 20 seconds. Therefore when you hurry and miss a 10 foot putt instead of taking 15 seconds to make it properly, you have cost yourself 5 seconds by hurrying. Make sense? Not that I have ever ruminated on this ;o))

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