Speed Golf is a sport started in California in 1979 by American runner Steve Scott and which involves completing a golf course in the lowest combination of strokes and time. The sport is played in North America, Europe and Japan, and major tournaments are telecast by channels such as ESPN and The Golf Channel. Players run between shots and generally carry as few as one or as many as six clubs. A player’s score is calculated by adding minutes plus strokes, so a round of 90 completed in 50 minutes and 30 seconds would compute to a score of 140:30. The lowest score in competition is believed to have been shot by professional Christopher Smith at the Chicago Speedgolf Classic on October 16, 2005. Smith shot 65 in just 44:06 for a speed golf score of 109:06. Rules and etiquette are generally the same for speed golf and regular golf with minor exceptions. Speed golfers are allowed to putt with the flagstick left in the hole, but are expected to rake bunkers, fix ball marks and conform to the dress code.
Speed Golf is sometimes contrasted with Cross-country BigBall, in which players use soccer balls and baseball bats. Because the course and goals are chosen by the participants, Cross-country BigBall etiquette varies depending on whether the theater is a wooded or residential area. Both sports require substantial physical stamina. Fitness and time savings are obvious benefits of Speed Golf. However, many players also report improved golf, typically shooting nearly the same scores despite running and using only a few clubs. Crowded courses are not conducive to play, so many Speed Golfers head out at the crack of dawn or during the cold days of winter when empty courses await and the temperature is suited for running.