All eyes are on Golf with one story dominating the headlines; Golf at the Rio Olympics. The sport is returning to the Olympic schedule for the first time in 112 years but is doing so with much controversy; without the World’s top players. The main reason for withdrawal is concerns over the Zika virus but more worrying for those who looked to Rio as a way of reviving participation and interest in golf, is that some simply don’t see the Olympics as a priority for golf.
Rory McIlroy “I’ll probably watch, but I’m not sure golf will be one of the events I watch,” he said. Asked what events he would watch, he said, “probably events like track and field, swimming, diving … the stuff that matters.” Continuing ” I didn’t get into golf to try and grow the game. I got into golf to win championships and win major championships”
As with many other sports is it the prize purse that drives the professional game rather than a sense of national pride and achievement and if so, is this a dilemma for those nurturing the amateur continuum?
Golf is at a crossroads, there are many positives not least with the emergence of such young talent shaping the game at the very top, but for it to survive and grow in the 21st Century it needs to harness ways to attract new participants and spectators to the sport. #Speedgolf is just one new initiative that is offering something different, that does challenge the status quo in golf. To some it is the antithesis of the game, but in truth Speedgolf is not a mad dash around a golf course as some perceive, great golf is at the heart of the sport, where accuracy is as important as speed. However, British Speedgolf is not just trying to appeal to the small minority with a single figure golf handicap or indeed to accomplished runners. Speedgolf is for all. It’s an inclusive format with FUN centre stage. Nevertheless, we also encourage PGA Pros to give it a try as they are best placed to really illustrate the full potential of this faster golf format and demonstrate it can actually have a positive impact on performance in golf generally, due to the fluidity of the game.
The only way to really see if Speedgolf is for you is to have a go, whether it is a couple of holes, a steady 9 or the full 18. Our latest 9 hole Speedogolf Taster at Chartham Park Golf Club, near East Grinstead in West Sussex was a great introduction to the sport. Speedgolf is a female friendly sport; we welcomed a range of abilities in both golf and running.
PGA Club Pro David Hobbs led the way and set the pace completing his 9 hole round in just 26 minutes, with just a few shots over PAR. Typically, he expressed his surprise that Speedgolf did not hamper his performance. Andre got inspired with the assistance of a running pacer!
Speedgolf is still on the periphery of the game, relatively unknown and can only succeed if grown as a grass roots sport, forgive the pun! If you are passionate about golf, running or indeed sport in general, please help us spread the word and get involved. Ironically, it is the British Open Speedgolf Championships that coincide with the Men’s Final Round of Golf in Rio at the Olympic games on 14th August!