Here’s how the email started out:
“This morning Rob Evans and I played 36 holes at Lomas Santa Fe executive course in about 1:19 and played pretty good golf. I had one birdie and 21 pars and Rob had the same score. Rob wore his Garmin Forerunner 310XT so we got an actual reading on pace per mile and all the rest of the geek stuff …four miles …36 holes … lots of laughs ... not a bad workout.”
Editor-In-Chief, Competitor Magazine
When I reached out to Rob, I learned that he just purchased his Forerunner 310XT last month. “I’m still playing around with it, but I love it. I also have the original Garmin Forerunner from about 2003. That Garmin has traveled the world and done Ironman Austria, Lake Placid Coeur d’Alene, and crossed the finish line in Kona.”
Translated: This guy’s no weekend tri warrior. A three-time Ironman, including a shot at the big kahuna, Kona, means he’s knows a thing or two about training, conditioning and the long hours and miles the sport of triathlon entails. We’re glad to know Rob’s putting our multisport Forerunner 310XT and its 20-hour battery life to the test … in all manner of sporting events.
So, back to speed golf. I was curious to know how it got started and how speed factored into the scoring. Rob was happy to fill in the blanks. “Speed golf is the brainchild of Bob Babbitt. We've been doing it for years and I finally decided to geek out and wear my new toy to see how far we actually run. I was pleasantly surprised to see that we cover about 4 miles. Once a year, speed is a factor in our ‘tournament.’ Bob has constructed a scoring formula that counts score with time. Not really sure of the math involved, but speed does help. We get anywhere from 2-15 people out there on any given day. Eight-time Ironman world champion Paula Newby-Fraser has been known to play with us enough that we even have a special scoring category called a ‘Newby’ which is worth half a point.”
He also noted that he’s attached his Forerunner to his golf bag for a couple of recent rounds at Torrey Pines. “Good to know that playing and carrying your golf bag is over 6 miles, which is fairly solid in my book. I've been really impressed with the Garmin accuracy when looking at my routes on the satellite maps. It's very cool technology and is fun to use.”
Here’s Rob’s description of the data collected by his 310XT, shown in Garmin Connect.
Screen 1: shows the area covered of just over 4 miles. Nice to know that we do "run" that far on these days. Also, 39 minutes of movement with 1:19 total time. Much more non-movement that I would have thought. Average pace of 12 minutes and average moving pace of 9:45.
Screen 2 shows the mile splits.
Screen 3 is my heart rate graph. My max heart rate of 145 seems high but was probably from my tensing up over Babbitt's ridiculous birdie late in the match. Screen 4 shows the satellite overview. You can see our back and forths while repeating 6-14 twice as well as our usual 3 trips on 15-16.For those golfers (like my husband) who are wondering what would possess anyone to add a “running” component to this sport, Bob offered his take: “My vision for speed golf has always been about creating a fitness opportunity. It could be for people who are a little bit out of shape and don’t really enjoy running. Now you are running and playing golf, which means you sort of forget that you are running. Secondly, you are running on a really soft surface, which is great for people just getting into running.” And, with the help of products like Forerunner 310XT with heart rate, he noted that entry-level folks can be given certain heart rate zones and set a goal to stay within those zones for their round of speed golf.