108 in the Books
July 1st was certainly a day that I’ll never forget. I managed to play 108 holes of golf and raise over $11,000 for Els for Autism.
My Hundred Hole Hike by the numbers:
Holes played: 108
Total strokes: 563
Average score: 93.8
High score: 98
Low score: 90
Slowest Round: 2hrs, 13 min
Fastest Round: 1 hr, 58 min
Balls lost: 11
Balls in Rockaway River: 1
Three putts: stopped counting
Shirt changes: 4
Sock changes: 4
Shoe changes: 2
Showers taken: 2
Total elapsed time: 14 hrs, 43 min
20 oz Gatorades consumed: 7
Weight lost in preparation: 21 lbs
The day started at 4:35 am when I arrived at the course. It was lightly raining with a bit of fog. It was comforting to see I was actually the third one to show up, as I was beaten to the club by my brother, Steve, who planned to caddy for me, and my friend, Mark, who planned to walk as many holes as he could before heading to work.
The hope of having some sunlight by 5:15 was dashed by the rain, but the peg went into the ground anyway. The first drive was well struck, but none of the three of us had a clue as to where it might be. “I think it went left,” was my guess, and sure enough, after a few minutes the ball was found in the left rough on the opening par-5 hole. The rain was light and intermittent throughout the initial round, and it was great to have some company right out of the gate.
The final putt dropped on the first 18 just before 7:30 am. There on the green to greet me was my wonderful wife, Suzanne, who had hung up several inspirational signs throughout the course and created an awesome 2 ft x 3 ft photo collage of pictures of my son, Seamus, the inspiration for my Hike.
Round 2 started uneventfully…cloud cover, light rain. My dad showed up to walk with me and my brother, who was still on the bag for round two. Things were going fine until the 11th hole, when both my dad and brother received simultaneous alerts on their phones of flash flood warnings. About ten minutes later, the sky opened. And I mean opened. We’re talking “gather the animals two-by-two and start measuring in cubits” opened. The rain was supposedly coming down at a rate of 2 inches per hour, which put standing water on greens 15-18, and was almost comical. It was Bishop Pickering-esque. When I rammed a putt into the hole which was filled with water, I felt compelled to don a blue poncho and exclaim to my younger bro, “I’m infallible, young fella!” After pressing on and getting to the last, I somewhat expected a frog to leap from the cup. I suppressed the desire to yell, “Ratfarts!” as the putt missed, for fear of being struck by lightning.
After a shower, change of clothes, and about a pound of talc, round 3 awaited. Fortunately the weather had lightened up, but the golf hadn’t improved. I shot my worst score of the day, and had my lone birdie for the entire day. My brother was a real trooper and stayed on the bag for the first 63 holes. He was followed by Suzanne and my buddy’s son, who combined for nine, followed by my brother-in-law, Paul, who carried the final 36.
Rounds 4 & 5 were uneventful, but just before 6:00 pm, the sun came out. The last round would be a good one. There truly was a gallery for the final round, which made it fun. Several family and friends came out, and approximately ten people shared the final round walk with me. The final 18 was where I notched my best score and played in the shortest amount of time, finishing up just before 8:00 pm. While I expected both the feet and back to be hurting, which they were, I was not prepared for the shin splints. They hurt the most, and made the 30-minute drive home challenging later that night.
All in all, it was a great day. I’m extremely thankful for the support Suzanne gave me both in preparation and on Hike day, as well as that of my loopers. I literally would not have been able to do it without them. I salute the folks who walked with me or stopped by throughout the day to offer encouragement. It meant a lot. I’d like to also thank the management and staff of Rockaway River Country Club, who allowed me the use of their beautiful course for the day. Outside of the raindrops, there was a lot of time to reflect when walking down the fairway (or rough!) after a tee shot. I thought a lot about Seamus, and how much he means to me, especially after passing some of my wife’s inspirational signs. Finally, I want to thank and tip my cap to all who made pledges to support me, as I was proud to be able to raise over $11,000 for Els for Autism, a good cause with which I feel a heartfelt connection. How long till the 2014 Hike?