Maintaining Competitive Passion Throughout Life
Brad delivers an enthusiastic account of what he considered to be a miracle athletic performance, where he accessed that lauded flow state and transcended his normal athletic limitations to deliver a top performance under pressure and break, for the second time, the Guinness World Record for the fastest hole of golf ever played (minimum hole length of 500 yards.) On June 1st in Los Angeles, he played a 503-yard par-5 hole in one minute, 38 seconds, two seconds better than his previous Guinness World record for fastest single hole of golf ever played (minimum length, 500 yards). The effort entailed an all-out sprint from start to finish, carrying only one club (3-wood) and making a birdie four on the hole. After months of practice and evaluation, Brad busted the previous world record of 1:50 with a 1:40 effort in Sacramento, CA on May 8, 2018.
The record performance came on the heels of months of specific practice simulating the competitive effort (“Context Specificity” as Brad’s Speedgolf coach Christopher Smith calls it), and strategy improvements such as choosing to play with only one club (that means pitching and putting with a 3-wood—not easy!) to save time. At the Sacramento record effort, Brad scored a smooth 6 on the hole, keeping his shots straight and in line with the hole to save time. However, as Brad reviewed video and photos for his Guinness submission, the competitive juices were still flowing. Soon, he was orchestrating one more do or die effort, this time in Los Angeles.
Here’s what it would take to break an excellent record:
- Humility: In late 2017, Brad stumbled upon this awesome YouTube video of British Speedgolfer Steve Jeffs breaking the Guinness World Record for the fastest golf hole. Dig the 161,000 views (okay well, 1,000 of them are Brad’s, but still…pretty viral!) and the dog pile celebration at the end. Jeffs did a 1:50 to beat the old record of 1:52 at his course in England. Brad thought he could easily bust this record, and did a dry run the next day. He was shocked to finish in 2:12 – way behind! Days later, he tried again, running much faster this time, and did a 2:13 (thanks to offline shots and sloppy putting) This record was legit, so it was time to train hard and prepare carefully!
- Do or Die Mentality: One attempt only, since you get tired trying to repeat all-out 500 yard sprints. Guinness allows multiple attempts, but Brad’s running time was much slower on try #2 and #3 in Sacramento.
- Excellent Shots: Anything off the center line and the smooth fairway grass and you are done. Hit a chip shot slightly too hard and past the hole and you are done. Muff the chip shot and you done. Miss a short putt and you are done.
- Strategy: Get comfortable with one club, hit the ball straight and never past the hole, and train mind and body to swing immediately. There is no time to waste catching your breath before a shot. Brad trained his brain and body to immediately take a full swing, a delicate pitch, and a smooth putt while his chest was heaving and heart pounding out of his throat! This contrasts the typical approach in Speedgolf tournaments, where running pace is steady but not sprint, and you take several seconds over the ball to get settle and take careful aim before swinging.
- Logistics: For official Guinness status you have to complete a 12-week application process, get approved, then arrange for 10 people to time, witness, film, and photograph the attempt. It’s a big deal with lots of pressure! Brad’s friends Shawn and Maria drove 3 hours to support his Sacramento attempt—gotta come thru on the big day!
Brad relates how its essential for peak performers, especially those with an athletic background, to maintain a passion and competitive intensity throughout life, a concept detailed in the MarksDailyApple.com post called, “Going Through Life With an Edge”
Your competitive goals should be constantly recalibrated and updated to be age appropriate, promoting health and longevity (instead of compromising these like elite triathlon training), and fitting nicely into a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Brad relates how his competitive focus transitioned from the pro triathlon circuit to the goal of dominating young athletes whom he coached in basketball, soccer, and track. Brad dominated the kids from their 3rd grade through 8th grade, then was quickly surpassed (in height and abilities) and left in the dust. When that wore off, Brad turned his attention to his present day passions of high jump and Speedgolf. He has placed in the Top-20 in the Speedgolf World Professional Championships three times, placed 3rd in the California State Championships, and of course broke the Guinness World Record for fastest single hole.
Brad relates how these are mostly personal challenges and “just for fun,” but not really. He’s focused and serious about clearing the high jump bar or breaking the world record, but in a way that promotes personal growth and self-satisfaction, without an unhealthy attachment of self esteem to the results. Developing this mindset requires getting over yourself, a concept Brad elaborates upon in a follow up show. Enjoy this hopefully inspiring account about taking aim at a unique and challenging competitive goal and going for it!