PGA Pro stars in Speedgolf Open


PGA Professional James McMaster was one of many golfers who combined their passion for the game with long distance running as the Australian Speedgolf Open was held at Albert Park Golf Course in Melbourne on Saturday.

PGA Professional James McMaster was one of many golfers who combined their passion for the game with long distance running as the Australian Speedgolf Open was held at Albert Park Golf Course in Melbourne on Saturday.

""Combining 18 holes with a time trial, Speedgolf takes your strokes in to account along with how long it takes for you to complete your round on foot.

The total number of strokes plus the time taken is added together to give a speed golf score, McMaster, a PGA Professional based in Canberra, said the added pressure of racing the clock can prove beneficial to focusing on your shots.

“What I find with speed golf, and I try and get this into my students in what I teach them, is it’s not about how much time you take to play a shot, it’s getting the same routine and just getting over the ball working out where your target is,” said McMaster.

“I find that I’ll actually play better that way because I’m not thinking about other things and when you’re actually running and your heart rate is going at 160 plus beats a minute you don’t get time to think about it.

“You’ve just got to focus on the next shot and hit it and away you go again. So that’s what I really have enjoyed about it over the last few weeks.”

McMaster finished a respectable 7th in the national tournament; he impressed himself given his short preparation time.

“I’ve only trained for about six weeks and I shot 79 in just over 52 minutes.

It was really windy and it was tough hitting a lot of iron shots into greens especially when you’ve only got one or two clubs to choose from.

“So I was really happy,  I would have liked to maybe shot a couple of shots better but I was really happy with my run time.”

29-year-old Lee McCullagh, a two-handicapper from Bendigo in Victoria with a 5km PB of 16 minutes, shot 80 in 47 minutes and 26 seconds on a hot, windy day in Melbourne and his first speedgolf event. One suspects it may not be his last.

McCullagh was at pains to thank the many volunteers who made the event possible.

“Thanks to Ross, my running scorer, and all the members of the Crosbie Crew who did such a great job for the other competitors. A big thank you also goes to Virginia Deigan for making today so special. The collaboration between a local running club and speedgolf provides a great model for future events.”

Former Ladies European Tour professional Liz McKinnon record a massive PB en route to victory. She navigated the challenging conditions beautifully to record a round of 77 in 51:32.

“I work full-time for New Zealand Golf in high performance and I’m a mum to a six-year-old and an eight-year-old, so speedgolf is a great way to keep playing golf,” said McKinnon, who was clearly delighted with her performance on Saturday.

Liz plays speedgolf regularly at Remuera Golf Club, where New Zealand Golf is now based, and is seeing the sport growing across the ditch.

“I love playing speedgolf. It’s such a buzz. The greenkeepers and staff at Remuera Golf Club have been great. A lot of New Zealand Golf staff get out at least once a week. The members don’t tee off until 07:30 so that gives us plenty of time and daylight in the summer months to get a round in before the members have even teed off.”


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