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Spice Up Your Golf Game

By Mark Salamon, December 10, 2022

The most challenging part of retirement planning is figuring out how to make every aspect of your life revolve around golf. This is very important, because research has identified several key factors that contribute to a long and healthy life, including social connections, exercise, proper diet, and time spent outdoors in nature. And a good round of golf allows you to reap all of these benefits while simultaneously sitting in a cart drinking beer and smoking cigars.

As perfect as this sounds, I have actually treated a good number of patients who are nearing retirement and, incredibly, see golf as a little too slow-paced. Many of these folks are high level athletes involved in such things as running, cycling, swimming, and combination sports like the triathlon, which blends all three of these into a single race. If you fall into this category, a relatively new combination sport that is gaining popularity may be just what you need to prepare for retirement: speed-golf.

Speed-golf combines the skills of long distance running with those of standing around for five hours. The object is to shoot the lowest score in the least amount of time, so players run as fast as they can between shots, making it the ideal sport if you are still being forced to play golf with your boss and basically just want to wrap it up and get the hell out of there. You can use as many clubs as you like, but you must carry everything with you. So if you can get by with just two or three clubs, you will hold a distinct advantage over your peers, many of whom may very well be lugging around six packs and cigars.

If you are worried about what speed-golf might do to your handicap, fear not. According to Brad Kearns, who holds the world record for the fastest single par-five hole of golf ever played, the average golfer shoots the same or even a little better playing speed-golf than they do playing regular golf. This does not apply to elite, professional golfers. But for dorks like you and me, all this fussing around, checking the wind, picking the right club, analyzing the slope of the green, adjusting your underwear, and insisting on complete and utter silence is all a big waste of time and may actually make you play worse.

Check with your doctor to see if you are healthy enough for speed-golf. This sport is not for everyone, and many retirees still find the physically demanding activity of swinging their arms once every ten minutes to provide plenty of exercise. Your doctor is probably on the sixth tee right now, so if you run fast enough, you can catch up.