Nine holes in 30 minutes: Speedgolf runs in Elmbrook
By Andrew Rosenthal
TRAVERSE CITY – When Adam Lorton had children, he couldn’t justify being out of the house for 4.5 hours straight to play an 18-hole round of golf.
This is how he found out about speed golf, where golfers can play nine holes in 30 minutes.
This allowed him to maintain his fitness goal and still play the game.
Lorton recently started a speed golf league at Elmbrook Golf Course in Traverse City.
They tee off at 7am on Fridays to give golfers a workout with enough time to get to work later in the day.
“Speed golf is exactly what it sounds like: golf plus running,” said Lorton.
A golfer’s score is the number of strokes taken to complete nine holes plus the time, in minutes, it took to complete the holes. For example: 36 strokes in 30 minutes would result in a score of 76.
Lorton said competitive speed golfers can finish the top nine at Elmbrook in about 20 minutes.
“30 minutes is not an unreasonable promise,” said Lorton. “With the three of us – two boys who had never played speed golf before, and me – we got along in 42 minutes.”
Many golfers approach speed golf with the expectation that their scores will both increase and the relaxation element of the game will disappear.
“I was skeptical that I would be having fun and skeptical that I would play quality golf,” said Lorton.
Lorton said, to his surprise and delight, that none of these things turned out to be true.
“It turns out that my results at speed golf are about the same, and because I play faster, I think my normal golf game has gotten better,” said Lorton. “And there is still a lot of time to enjoy the landscape, enjoy nature, even if you are playing speed golf.”
He said why this could be because, while speed golfers lose shots with the pace of the game, they also win shots by thinking less about them.
Cameron Rondeau, 35, played with Lorton at the opening round of Speedgolf in Elmbrook on May 21st.
Rondeau said he liked golf and running, but wasn’t very good either.
“It sounded like the best of both worlds,” said Rondeau, who works as an accountant at Munson Medical Center. “After nine holes I am usually ready to be finished and usually after a few miles I am ready to be finished running. A quick 45-minute round of golf that allowed me to take a few miles sounded pretty funny to me. “
Rondeau said he didn’t even know what he shot or how long it took him to finish the course. Lorton held points. When he reached the ninth hole, he didn’t even realize the round was over.
“You hit and you don’t have time to get upset about how bad it was,” said Rondeau.
Competitive speed golf has a small but dedicated following.
Last year Lorton played in 36-hole weekend tournaments in Kentucky and Minnesota. In these, tournament managers usually set a par time for the course.
According to US Speedgolf, the sport has been played worldwide in England, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Lorton has teamed up with Elmbrook to be the first golf course in northern Michigan to offer this variant. They were the obvious partner for several reasons.
“By offering speed golf, we can fill more early morning tee times,” said Cindy Johnson, general manager of Elmbrook Golf Course. “At Elmbrook we always work to keep the game fresh and fun. Whether speed golf, foot golf, night golf or disc golf, you will find it in Elmbrook. “
Lorton said he should check with the Elmbrook maintenance managers to make sure they don’t mind golfers running into golf spikes on the fairways as they approach their balls.
“They said, ‘We think you’re crazy, we can’t imagine why anyone would really want to do this, but sure, do it,” Lorton recalled.
The league in Elmbrook plays on Fridays around 7 a.m.
It costs $ 15 to play nine holes.
For those interested in gambling, visit tcspeedgolf.com
– This story appeared in a June issue of Record-Eagle’s Great Outdoors section