So what's the big deal? The implications are far-reaching, here are just a few of them off the top of my head:
- Time Handicapping (courses & players)
- Statistical Analysis
- Performance Evaluation
- Strategy Development
- Technology Demands
- Broadcast Efficiency
- Spectator Viewing Quality
- Sport-specific Training Systems
- New Time-based Formats
What other benefits or opportunities can you think of?
Leave your comments below!
No More Guessing Games!
It may be small beginnings, but nevertheless we now have hole-by-hole tournament data from which to derive some general benchmarks and averages in a variety of performance categories. Basic statistical analysis is the ripe low hanging fruit we can enjoy right away, so let's dig in below, take a few bites out of the raw data, and add some commentary to bring you closer to the action as the players progressed through the round.
- Avg Par 3 Time: 2:05
- Fastest Par 3 Time: 1:00 (Dawley, 17th hole, 135 yards)
- Avg Par 4 Time: 2:32
- Fastest Par 4 Time: 1:21 (Phillips, 15th hole, 295 yards)
- Avg Par 5 Time: 3:28
- Fastest Par 5 Time: 2:12 (Hawkins, 18th hole, 498 yards)
Like most veteran Speedgolfers, I have developed a good sense of how long it takes to play individual holes. Even with a demanding course layout like Wolfdancer - where golf scores (and thus elapsed time) were noticeably higher than average, and taking into account the transition time running between holes was included, it still amazes me how fast the game can be played while maintaining a high level of performance. 81 seconds to play a Par 4... you have to see it to believe it!
It's easier to get into the action with detailed heat-by-heat scores. Read the play-by-play commentary below each Heat for a more detailed recounting of the round.
Tournament Front 9 (Wolfdancer's back 9)
It's clear the entire group got off to a poor start. Still, it's impressive to see 3 poorly played holes completed in well under 10 minutes! Garrett Holt notched a solid par on the reachable par-4 11th hole, and made another solid par against 3 doubles on the short but demanding par-3 12th hole. Dawley narrowly won the first heat, but the top spot was still essentially up for grabs with all four players remaining within seconds of one another.
Garrett Holt drains a putt for par.
As the terrain flattened out so, did the scores. Allan's two consecutive pars landed him the top spot in Heat 2, and in the overall standings.
Scott Dawley hits an approach shot
Phillips reeled off two more pars on #15 and #16, and looked to be taking command of the tournament. But similar to his approach that flew long on the treacherous par-3 12th, costing him valuable time, Allan ran into similar trouble on the par-3 17th, knocking him down the leaderboard thru 3 heats. As a result, Dawley won his second heat of the day with a solid 1-over par score, completing 3 holes in just 6:30. Seven holes into the tournament, and it was still too close to call!
Allan Phillips was poised and in control of his game early.
Jason Hawkins waited 7 holes before making his first par of the day. But after a solid 3 on the par-3 17th, followed by a lightening fast 5 on the par-5 18th, in 2:12, Hakwins won Heat 4 and moved into second place through 9 holes, trailing Scott Dawley by less than one stroke. Misfortune struck Phillips once again on the 18th, when a well struck tee shot embedded in a tree trunk without anyone seeing it happen.
"In a normal Speedgolf tournament, if that happens I'm probably making a right to the parking lot instead of a left to the 10th tee. But having a chance to see where I stood, not that far behind the 8-ball as it turned out, kept me mentally in the round. I knew I still had plenty of time to chip away at the leaders on the back 9." - Allan Phillips
Phillips didn't wait long to cut the lead in half. A par-4 on the 1st hole earned him the top spot in Heat 5. Hawkins soared into the lead with one of the fastest par-4 times of the day - 2:09 was all it took for him to cover the uphill, 389 yard 1st hole. A lost ball off the tee resulted in Dawley's second double bogey of the day, who was now trailing the lead by 24 seconds.
Scott Dawley unable to keep it short of this front hole location.
It was Allan Phillips at the top of the Heat again, carding the lone birdie of the tournament on the par-5 3rd hole. In what was perhaps the shot of the day, Garrett Holt blasted a 35-yard bunker shot on the par-3 4th hole to 3 feet and sank the downhill putt for par. A double bogey on the same hole from Dawley, following 2 consecutive pars, buried his chances of regaining the overall lead as the pro pod prepared to enter the 7th and penultimate heat.
After an opening bogey in Heat 7, Dawley ran off a string of three pars, pulling him to within 1 shot of the leader Jason Hawkins with only one hole remaining. Allan Phillips also managed a 1-over par performance on the longest heat of the day - 1 mile, but looked as if the top spot may be slightly out of reach with one hole remaining. But in Speedgolf, we know anything can happen! (In an event later that day, another player made an 11 on the 9th hole)
Jason Hawkins finding his rhythm late into the round
The 9th hole measured 410 yards, a downhill, dogleg left par-4. With the match so close, the pressure was on Dawley to card a birdie and force Hawkins to gut out a par. Scott's hole started off the right way, as a solidly struck drive landed on the cart path, kicking fortuitously down the hill and stopping only 25 yards from the pin.
"I hit a deft chip with my 52 degree wedge, which unfortunately landed and rolled about 1 foot too far. Otherwise it would have caught the slope at the back of the green and rolled down to within 6 feet of the hole. Instead, I had to make a 6 foot putt for par to keep the pressure on Jason." - Scott Dawley
Hawkins didn't make it easy on himself either, landing his approach on the wrong side of a large slope cutting across the green, forcing a tough lag putt. Under the pressure, a three putt would not have been surprising. Hawkins left himself a similar par putt to Dawley's just moments before. Taking very little time, Jason Hawkins stepped up and drained it for the victory. It was the kind of finish everyone hoped for: a putt to win!
left to right: Garret Holt, Scott Dawley, Jason Hawkins, Allan Phillips
All The Elements
Between this blog post and the sample video footage we captured, all the elements needed to create a highly engaging Speedgolf tournament narrative are present. These elements can be coordinated in real time or woven together in a post production studio to later publish as non-live tournament coverage. Let us know what you think? Leave your comments below. Thanks!
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