Speedgolf is just a faster, more athletic version of golf.
The Essential Rules
The only real differences from traditional golf are the following:
- Players have individual tee times at 5/6 minute intervals. Time to complete the round shall be measured from the moment the player hits their initial shot on the first hole, until the moment the ball strikes the bottom of the cup on their last hole.
- The flagstick is left in when putting (to save you time – you can take it out if you want) – originally a Speedgolf distinction but now allowed in regular golf from 2019
- Lost balls are dropped on the line of flight of the previous shot with just a one-shot penalty. Standard R&A golf rules apply alongside any local amendments operated on a particular golf course.
- You can use up to 7 clubs, carried by hand or in a light weight pencil golf bag or other suitable club carrier – golf caddies and buggies are strictly prohibited. It is a tactical decision, more clubs give you greater choice with shots but add weight, so the trick is to find the right balance and this is largely personal preference and also the terrain and elevation of the golf course.
- Speedgolf does not use Provisional shots, these would prove counterproductive.
- Remember that Bags are set down outside the putting green area and retrieved after the putt is sunk.
- In the winter months, please refrain from running on the greens and any other restrictions set by the club where you are playing.
All other Standard R&A golf rules apply and local club etiquette will need to be observed; including repair of divots and raking the bunkers, unless a pre agreed exemption prevails in a tournament.
You can also play Speedgolf in a Pairs or Group format for a more social game. Pairs or groups tee off at 5/6 minute intervals but must also run together in tandem always behind the ball, in the UK we use alternate shots (foursomes). Pairs is ideal for training with a parent/junior, coach/student combination, or just friends; its your choice. A group format is just great fun, a real workout and a more social challenge.
At the British Open Speedgolf Championship competitors are timed from a start/finish line, from where they will run to the first tee to commence play. At the completion of the course players will return to the same point to attain their course time.
Can I play Speedgolf at my local Golf Course?
British Speedgolf is a niche sport, so is played at the discretion of the golf club. Due to the fast nature of the game, golf courses cannot easily mix regular golfers with Speedgolfers for those who want a Speedgolf round, since the latter requires a clear course ahead unless you are running a single hole which we call Sprint Golf!
British Speedgolf are looking to encourage more golf courses to offer 1st tee out early bird slots for Speedgolfers or offer dedicated sessions in off-peak times such as twilight tee times on less busy days. Golf courses are more likely to do this if there are a group of Speedgolfers in your area.
Clothing and Footwear
Speedgolf is generally played from Spring through to late autumn, with some dedicated Speedgolfers playing in the winter months if ground conditions permit. As a more athletic golf game, many Speedgolfers opt for Running style trainers, which offer more support or even barefoot style footwear favoured by some marathon runners. You should always check to ensure your footwear is acceptable at the golf club and this may be variable due to ground conditions. Spiked Golf shoes should NOT be worn.
Most golf clubs will expect you to wear golf polo shirts and golf trousers or shorts, the latter is usually a better option since you will be jogging. Always check with the club to ensure you meet with any dress code requirements. Sweat wicking material is recommended to absorb sweat and avoid chaffing!
It is not essential to use a golf bag as some Speedgolfers carry their clubs by hand and the very brave just use one club! The main goal if you aim to use a bag is to keep it as light as possible, so use a pencil bag or Sunday bag. It’s useful to have a grip and a strap carrying option, so you have more than one option when running to optimise both your speed and comfort.
It is important that you maintain your hydration whatever the weather conditions. We recommend you bring a water bottle that you can use whilst out on the course.
At the British Open Speedgolf Championship Competitors are timed from a start/finish line, from where they will run to the first tee to commence play. At the completion of the course players will return to the same point to attain their course time.
Health & Fitness
Speedgolf is a more athletic format so should not be attempted by anyone who has risk factors for cardiovascular disease or other muscular/joint issues without first consulting with their health professional. We advise beginners to ease into it. You don’t have to run; it is fine to powerwalk at first and as fitness improves build up to a jog. Aim to play a few holes of Speedgolf then gradually add more holes – 3, 6, 9 then 12 etc. As with any exercise don’t forget to warm up & cool down and remember to stretch afterwards.
Frequently asked questions:
Do I have to jog all the time?
No, it’s up to you to set your own pace, but since your round time is added to your score you should aim to build up to jogging as much of the course as you can according to your own ability and fitness.
Is there time for practice swings?
Good golf skills are at the heart of great Speedgolf, so if you are new to golf it is worth investing in some golf lessons to get a solid foundation of golf skill. Generally to save time, experienced Speedgolfers dispense with practice swings but it’s your choice, you can always build your game towards this level. It is imperative to remember to watch your ball, beginners lose many balls in their haste to start running to their next shot, which of course proves counterproductive.
What Golf clubs should I use?
You can play with up to 7 clubs, but what clubs you select will depend on the length and type of course you are playing. Players will need to weigh up the benefit of taking more or less clubs and this will largely depend on their physical strength, fitness and their golf skills. Some players become extremely skilful with only a few clubs whereas other players who are strong enough may opt to carry a few more.
Does British Speedgolf welcome women – is it inclusive?
British Speedgolf is really keen to attract more women to Speedgolf and hope that we can really help raise the profile of women competing in this sport, so don’t be shy you will be most welcome! In the 2021 British Open Speedgolf Championships we also welcomed our first Amputee entrant who made history as a World First! – check out our news page for details.
I am primarily a runner, so is Speedgolf for me?
Speedgolf attracts participants from golf and running communities as well as those who like to combine various disciplines such as Triathletes and Ironmen and women. Internationally, Speedgolf enthusiasts include Olympic Runners Nick Willis and Bernard Lagat. However, Speedgolf is not just for elite athletes but if you jog regularly or belong to a running club this will prove a distinct advantage, so this sport is most definitely for you. If you have never played golf it is wise to invest in some golf lessons at the outset, to ensure you develop good golf technique.
Can I track my time and round on a GPS device or watch?
British Speedgolf embraces new technology and encourages those who play Speedgolf to record and share their rounds with the wider community. Just make sure your device doesn’t pause the time recording when you stop to rest or take a shot, don’t forget your Speedgolf Score uses your total time not just your moving time on the golf course (some devices have a pause mode by default).
I am not sure about the rules in golf?
Good golf is at the heart of great Speedgolf so you need to be Golf Course competent before moving on to Speedgolf. It’s worth investing in some golf lessons to ensure you start with good core basic skills and your local club pro can provide lessons. Golf Clubs can also provide information regarding the standard rules for golf or you can click the ‘Rules of Golf’ but in essence watch this video for key changes introduced in 2019. You can also read or download this PDF version, both from the R&A.
Is there a Speedgolf World Record?
The Speedgolf World Record set by Speedgolfing legend Christopher Smith of the USA back in 2005 was broken at the Australian Speedgolf Open, 28 August 2015. Mitch Williamson or Orange, New South Wales, shot 77 in a blazing time of 31 minutes combined with his shots to give him a Speedgolf score of 108.
In 2017 British Speedgolfer Steve Jeffs set a new Guinness World Record for the faster Par 5 Golf hole. This was recently superseded by US Speedgolfer Brad Kerns then broken again so a moving record target!.