To the attention of:
- Scott Dawley, Director Speedgolf USA
- Virginia Deigan, Director Speedgolf Australia
- Shinya Ishizaka, Chairman Japan Speedgolf Association
- Phil Aickin, Director Speedgolf New Zealand
- Pam Painter, Director British Speedgolf
- Mikko Rantanen, Director Speedgolf Finland
Dear Speedgolf National Directors,
Our sport is at a crossroads. Adjustable golf clubs are coming. The Q club is the first, but there will be more. Adjustable clubs will change the game of speedgolf, ultimately for the better.
We need to embrace adjustable clubs for the future without compromising the game in the short term.
A number of community members have called for adjustable clubs to remain illegal until the USGA, PGA, or R&A allow them. They argue that speedgolf will lose legitimacy if we allow non-USGA-approved clubs. I respect this point of view, and I disagree. Speedgolf’s legitimacy does not come from the governing bodies of golf, and it never has.
The “legitimacy” argument makes sense at first glance: Speedgolf is a variant of golf. The more we change the rules of speedgolf to diverge from golf, the less recognizable it will be as golf. This argument is technically true, but it misunderstands where speedgolf’s legitimacy comes from.
Is table tennis “legitimate”? Of course it is. Is table tennis “legitimate” because it changed as few rules as possible from tennis? No.
Is field hockey “legitimate”? Of course it is. Is field hockey “legitimate” because it changed as few rules as possible from ice hockey? No.
Table tennis and field hockey are legitimate because the players and the fans believe they are legitimate. They are legitimate because:
- The rules are consistent for everybody
- The rules maintain the spirit of the game (This is the key.)
In speedgolf, when we lose a ball or hit out-of-bounds, why don’t we go back and replay the shot? Why don’t we follow the rules of golf? Because going backward is inconsistent with the spirit of the game!
Speedgolf’s legitimacy is not about the rules of golf, and it never has been. It’s about the spirit of the game.
And what is the spirit of speedgolf? It’s all about finding a way to play great golf, as fast as you can. Speedgolf has always embraced new techniques and new technologies in the pursuit of speed. Think of the Hogan Holster, the Cupp Hook, the Silo + Spike, and a hundred other innovations our players have come up with over the years.
There is nothing about adjustable golf clubs that compromise the spirit of speedgolf. In fact, they are perfectly in line with the spirit of speedgolf.
HOWEVER, adjustable golf clubs should not be legal for speedgolf tournament play in 2023.
Adjustable clubs represent a tectonic shift in the competitive landscape of our sport. When they are legal, it will be a new era of speedgolf. This is like basketball before the 3-point line. It’s American football before the forward pass.
We aspire to see speedgolf recognized as a real, grownup sport by the international sports community. We aspire to see speedgolf at the Olympics, a professional speedgolf tour, and more.
Real grownup sports don’t compromise competitive integrity by making tectonic shifts too quickly.
Some speedgolfers have had adjustable golf clubs for more than a year because they have a relationship with the company. Aside from those players, even the earliest adopters have barely had our clubs for two months.
Athletes train to the rules of competition. For that reason, it is essential to build in a training window to reflect the commercial availability of this new equipment.
Adjustable golf clubs are the future of our sport. They are perfectly in line with the spirit of the game. They are also a tectonic shift in the competitive landscape, and need to be treated with caution.
That’s why I’m calling on all ISGA member countries to make a unified policy.
Announce that adjustable golf clubs will be legal starting in 2024.
Speedgolf baby, let’s go!
Speedgolf Evangelist & Founder of Speedgolf Baby
P.S. – Aussies and Kiwis, if you want to allow adjustable clubs starting in late 2023, it won’t bother me at all. I understand January 1, 2024 is in the middle of your speedgolf seasons, and as such would be a needlessly-arbitrary date on which to make a significant rules change.