If you are ever in search of golfing inspiration, or just a simple dose of positivity, an hour in the company of Luke Willett is sure to do the trick.
A PGA professional based at Sunningdale Heath, Willett is a leading speedgolfer who recently completed an incredible fundraising effort in aid of The Golf Foundation.
In addition to playing rapid rounds of golf – typically lasting 40-45 minutes – at each of the 14 iconic courses to have staged the Open Championship, Willett also ran up to a marathon in length around the streets of each host town.
To celebrate his outstanding efforts, the R&A invited Willett to Muirfield to see him in action and discuss the impact of his adventures at the Open’s celebrated venues.
“It’s a very special thing to combine running and golf. You have this exhilaration,” said Willett, who was in the final stages of preparation for the Speedgolf World Championships in Florida when he made the journey to Muirfield.
“One thing I found when I was playing a lot, I used to get really bogged down with anxiety. I’d see out of bounds on the right, I’d see bunkers on the left, I’d see narrow lines down the middle of the fairways, and it actually got a bit too much for me."
“I love exploring, so my speedgolf has definitely helped me explore the outer limits of the sport. I love golf now as much as I ever have done. I’m starting to feel fearless again.
“One thing I found when I was playing a lot, I used to get really bogged down with anxiety. I’d see out of bounds on the right, I’d see bunkers on the left, I’d see narrow lines down the middle of the fairways, and it actually got a bit too much for me.
“When I started running ’round, all of a sudden I didn’t have enough time to procrastinate. It became what I call positive golf, and I essentially saw my target and hit my target.”
Willett certainly hit his target more often than not at Muirfield as he put together an excellent round of 78 in the remarkable time of 42 minutes and 42 seconds.
Carrying just four clubs in a lightweight bag, he jogged swiftly between shots yet was still able to produce a number of fantastic strokes, not least a brilliant approach to the opening hole and a tee shot to inside 6 feet on the par-3 13th.
“Quite frankly if I had shot 100 more I would have been happy, but of course it’s a good day when you score well,” Willett added.
To watch Willett’s remarkable round at Muirfield and read about his ambitions of one day playing in the Open, click HERE.