Last Saturday (8 June) Sweetwoods were privileged to play host to the British Speedgolf Pairs Championship on a slightly grey summer’s day.
The parkland course was demanding physically due to its undulating elevation on this PAR 72 course. Heavy rain the previous 24 hours and cold blustery winds led to challenging conditions but despite this the course was in superb condition and rain staid off for the duration of championship play.
The British Speedgolf Pairs championship is a Foursome format (single ball, alternate shot) which meant the pace of play was determined by the slower of the pair, with communication and teamwork essential. Pairs carried up to seven clubs each in their bid for glory. Each pair was set off at six-minute intervals with the aim to bring home the lowest Speedgolf Score; this is a combination of the time taken to complete the course plus golf strokes. Scorers followed each pair in a buggy to record strokes and any penalties.
This faster foursome championship was no ‘run in the park’ particularly with the uphill running start and sprint finish after sinking their final putt on the 18th. Playing off the Yellow tees the course was still 6097 yards so every pair got a fitness workout too. The challenge in Speedgolf Pairs is finding that sweet spot of optimum pace whilst retaining golf accuracy.
Amateur golfer George Boxall and West Kent PGA Pro Tom Roberts narrowly defended their title; they finished their 18 hole round on this hilly course in just 49 minutes and 28 seconds shooting 82, giving the pair a Speedgolf Score of 131:28. Runners up were another Pro/Am partnership of Chris Benians and Steve Jeffs who shot 1 stroke more and were just 19 seconds slower, giving them a Speedgolf score of 133:17. All the volunteer scorers who play traditional golf at Sweetwoods Park found this pace and time totally unbelievable, as typically their rounds would be 4 -5 hours.
The field also included mixed pairs with some new players to Speedgolf who took the plunge in their first Speedgolf tournament. Sweetwoods’ very own Speedgolf enthusiast Mariette Hilborne and Alex Edwards, a newbie, took top honours and completed their 18 holes in just over 55 minutes. The only concession for the women of the mixed pairs was that they played from the red tees.
The next Speedgolf Championship is the National solo event, The British Speedgolf Open, which will be on Sunday 28 July at Foxhills in Surrey, on their championship Longcross course. Registration has just opened with entries coming in from Europe and around the world for the Elite class.
Winners: Georg Boxall and Tom Roberts (defending champions) 82 strokes in 49 minutes and 28 seconds = Speedgolf Score 131:28
Runners up: Chris Benians and Steve Jeffs 83 strokes in 50 minutes and 17 seconds = Speedgolf Score 133:17
Mixed Pairs Winners: Mariette Hilborne and Alex Edwards; 86 strokes in 55 minutes and 17 seconds.
More information about the sport of Speedgolf at https://britishspeedgolf.co.uk/
Huge thanks to Mariette and Pam Painter from British Speedgolf for such great organisation – we hope to see the event back at Sweetwoods Park for 2020!