Any level of training an individual does will be beneficial when playing a new sport. Of course, the best training for Speedgolf is to play Speedgolf. That may or may not be a possibility for you at this time in your area. You can search this site for leagues in your area that you may be able to join, you may want to start a league, or you can talk to the course where you normally play and see about playing first off in the mornings or late in the day when the course has virtually cleared.
Training for Speedgolf is very enjoyable because of the unique nature of the sport itself. Two sports are merged into one and to maximize your potential you should practice both. Just like in everything else, there are a variety of ways to train for something. Here are some different ideas to think about as you train for Speedgolf.
Though there is no limit to the amount of clubs you can carry during a Speedgolf round, most Speedgolfers carry 4-6 clubs in a small bag (Sun Mountain makes the official bag for Speedgolf).
When practicing on the driving range for Speedgolf, practice with only the limited set of clubs you will be using. Let the creativity and imagination begin! For example, take a 6-iron and hit it different distances on the range. If you normally hit a 6-iron 165 yards, try hitting the ball 130 yards in the air, then 175, then 150, and so on. You will find that curving the ball different directions, and playing around with your swing speed, will help you achieve this type of distance control. Repeat this with other clubs.
In addition, hit shots at different targets all over the range so you become accustomed to setting up quickly, getting a quick look at the target to burn the image in your mind, and swinging away. Watch the ball land and take aim at a different target. This type of active practice is very useful for Speedgolf, and for traditional golf, as you react to the target and swing instead of thinking about the mechanics of how to swing.
Short game and putting practice have equally unique and inventive ways to improve and prepare. Try chipping and pitching with one ball around the chipping green. Take the ball, toss it off the green then hustle down, set-up quickly, find a landing spot and hit the shot. Repeat from all types of distances, lies, and undulating areas around the green. Vary the loft of your shots with one club by placing the ball in different positions in your stance. To hit it lower and get the ball to roll further, place the ball back in your stance with your hands ahead to effectively de-loft the club.
Use one ball when putting also. Hit putts of varying distances and putt them out. Look at the hole, pick your target and hit the putt. As you briskly walk to your ball, observe the area around you and the hole. Where is the high point? Feel the ground beneath your feet, is it slanted one direction? Are you walking uphill? Downhill? Take in all these factors as you are on and around the green to help you read the green and give you the best chance to score well on the greens.
Playing Speedgolf on a regulation 18-hole course is generally about a 5-6 mile run. As you know, not all 5-6 mile runs are the same, and neither are golf courses. Some courses are flat and have short distances between greens and tees while others are hilly and have several holes with longer runs between holes.
During an 18 hole round of Speedgolf, based on your skill level, you will stop and start anywhere from 70-120 times! You will run 180-300 yards 10-15 times during a round, 75-200 yards 10-15 times, then add in dozens of shorter bursts of speed around the greens. All this carrying that sleek little bag with a few clubs that seems so light running off the first tee yet by the time you reach number 15 feels a bit like an anchor! Either way, training for Speedgolf is a little different than training for the local 5k.
Like any training program, starting slowly is the best way to get into something new and reduce the risk of injury. Begin by building a base of miles with some easy running for a few weeks. Run 2-4 times per week for 15-40 minutes. Once you your body is used to running regularly you are ready to train for Speedgolf.Advanced Runners
As was mentioned earlier, Speedgolf is a series of stops and starts throughout the round. So... that is exactly how to train if you aren't able to actually play Speedgolf. After warming up, run relatively hard for one minute, walk for 15 seconds, run again for 30 seconds, walk for 15, and repeat as many times as is comfortable. As your fitness improves, you will be able to complete your running segments at a faster pace. Improvement takes time and persistence but improving at anything through hard work is a very gratifying feeling! Training this way will prepare your body for the unique challenge that is Speedgolf.
If you have been running for some time or are an experienced Speedgolfer, try this plan as you prepare for your next event. Play a virtual round of Speedgolf as you train. If Bandon Dunes for the world championships is your next event, 'play' it several times in the weeks leading to the event.
You can play your virtual round on the roads around your neighborhood, a track, or a beautiful trail in the mountains. Warm-up for a mile or so, do a couple pick-ups or strides to get your body ready to run hard, then begin the course. Take your mind to Bandon Dunes, step on the tee of the beautiful, slight dogleg right, par four 1st hole and 'hit' your shot. With a watch on your wrist, run for 60-90 seconds as you would after your tee shot, slow to a walk for about 15 seconds, 'hit' your approach shot to the green and off you go again. This time, run about as far as your typical approach shot would be, say 30-45 seconds. Of course you hit the ball on the green so slow to a walk for about 15-20 seconds as you 'putt out', then run the 100 yards or so to the tee box of the 2nd hole and get ready to play the par three. Continue this way throughout the round.
You'll know how realistic your time is by comparing it to your typical time when you play Speedgolf at Bandon. Adjust accordingly during the next training session next time out. If your normal time at Bandon is 65 minutes and you complete your training round in 45 minutes, run a little longer after each shot and add a few seconds of walking between shots to make your experience more realistic. This is a great way to train as you not only emulate an actual round of Speedgolf in effort, but you also play a virtual round in your mind through visualization. Definitely make a few birdies on the way around!
As was previously stated, the absolute best training you can do for Speedgolf is to play Speedgolf. However, if that is not available for whatever reason, all the training methods discussed above are great ways to practice and train for Speedgolf... and aren't too bad for traditional golf or running either!