2016 was an exciting year for Speedgolf, highlighted by another fabulous World Championship at The Glen Club. This year also saw the addition of another major United States event, the New York Speedgolf Open (ESPN was on hand to record the action). The inaugural Speedgolf Power Rankings were also introduced prior to the World Championship, with the next vote and reshuffle slated for January 15th.
With several new events planned in 2017, including a US National Championship, increased sponsor interest, national governing body partnerships, golf course activation programs, and grassroots participation campaigns, it's clear the sport is continuing to grow and organize, as it also expands globally.
Congratulations to all 2016
major event champions
Jamie Young – Speedgolf World Championship
Gretchen Johnson - Speedgolf Women's World Championship
Rob Hogan – British Speedgolf Championship (3-time champion)
Wes Cupp – New York Speedgolf Open
Joe Matsui – Japan Speedgolf Championship (3-time champion)
Richard Olsen – New Zealand Speedgolf Championship
Lars Cederqvist – Sweden Speedgolf Championship
The 2016 Speedgolf World Championships
The big story at the 2015 Speedgolf World Championships was the weather and course conditions. High winds, fast greens, and difficult hole locations made for a challenging setup. 2016 brought more favorable conditions, though hardly easier, with gusty winds changing directions from round 1 to round 2. Softer ground made running a greater challenge this year, but may have helped the golf. And of course, with one year of course experience, the field possessed a greater familiarity with the layout.
Let’s look at the numbers to see how the two years compare.
*Note: averages below include the top 20 finishers in each year
Round 1 avg golf score
- 2015 – 85
- 2016 – 79
Round 1 avg time (min)
- 2015 – 50
- 2016 – 49
Round 2 avg golf score
- 2015 - 81
- 2016 – 80
Round 2 avg time (min)
- 2015 – 49
- 2016 - 50
Take away the first round in 2015 and the course has played remarkably consistent over the last two years, with an average Speedgolf Score of 130.
The elusive 71
Golf fans are familiar with the significance of the number 63 in major championships. Twenty eight times a player has shot 63 in a major…but no one has ever shot 62. Several have lipped out putts on 18 to break that barrier, including Phil Mickelson at The British Open this year, but the 62 remains elusive.
Speedgolf has its own version of the 62…that is the 71. Five times in it's 5-year history a player has shot 72 in the Speedgolf World Championships. But never 71. With his 72 in the first round this year, Jamie Young became the fifth player on that list (Gretchen Johnson also shot 72 to tie the record and win the women’s division this year).
- Christopher Smith (2013)
- Jaacob Bowden (2013)
- Tim Hval (2014)
- Scott Dawley (2015)
- Jamie Young (2016)
- Gretchen Johnson (2016)
Most Dominant Win Ever?
In the inaugural New York Speedgolf Open, Wes Cupp lapped a field that included six of the top seven players in the world in the Speedgolf Power Rankings. His Speedgolf Score of 115.02 bested two-time Speedgolf World Champion Rob Hogan by over eleven in the final tally. Additionally, his golf score of 69 distanced the next best professional by 13 shots!
How did this round rank in the annals of Speedgolf dominance? Below are winning scores compared to second place in four events in which the winner dominated the field.
- 115.02 – 126.0 (Cupp, 2016 New York Speedgolf Open)
- 111.04 – 125.01 (Hogan, 2015 British Speedgolf Championship)
- 128-139 (Matsui, 2016 Japan Speedgolf Championship)
- 116.31 – 124.06 (Hogan, 2013 Speedgolf World Championship Round 1)
Speaking of dominance
For the first time in thirteen events (2013-2016), Rob Hogan finished outside the top 2 in a major international event with his fourth place finish at the Speedgolf World Championships. In twelve previous events, Hogan accumulated seven professional victories and five runners up (it took Australian Mitch Williamson shooting a world record to beat him in one of those second place finishes). Though Hogan is universally regarded as the best in the game, these results paint a clear picture for us to step back and admire just how dominant he has been over the last 5 years.
December 31 - Pace of Play Challenge. Wolfdancer Golf Club. Austin, Texas
March 4/5 - New Zealand Speedgolf Championship. Rotorua Golf Club. Rotorua, New Zealand
March 12 - Australian Speedgolf Championship. Yarra Bend Golf Club. Fairfield, Australia
March 20 - California Speedgolf Open. Spring Creek Golf and Country Club. Ripon, California