Wrap-up of My Hundred Hole Hike
This past Monday, July 30th, was the occasion of my Hundred Hole Hike at Hawk Pointe Country Club (www.hawkpointegolf.com/), in Washington, New Jersey. I managed to walk and play 108 holes, and it was definitely a team effort! Hawk Pointe did a great job hosting the event; they basically opened all their facilities and dedicated their personnel in support of our efforts. The golf pro, Sal Paparone, was very attentive to our needs. Lauren organized and prepared all of the supplies we needed throughout the day and typical for her it was very well done. Sam and Andrew caddied, and even Lauren caddied for several holes when Andrew and his golf clubs mysteriously disappeared somewhere on the course. Our good friend Jen Wenzel, whose son Devin grew up with Sam and became a great friend, ventured out to the club and gave her support. Richard Cotton, the owner of Hawk Pointe, met us on the course a couple of times, as did the greens superintendent, Dave Reece.
We live about an hour and twenty minutes from the club so I decided we needed to stay at a hotel in the area of Hawk Pointe. Business travel alone is mostly stress free for me and without incidents. Taking family is more complicated and eventful like the time I accidently jettisoned Andrew from the back of a maintenance cart while touring a new course. Even though this wasn’t business it felt more like business rather than vacation. Proper rest before an event is important to me and the family is often amused when I go to bed early in a house with two teenage boys and a wife that works up to the last possible minute before acknowledging she has to get up early the next day. However, after a little Olympic Games viewing everyone settled down. Then Sam decided it was best for him to shower the night before rather than get up earlier in the morning. That was okay, I was settling in and convincing myself I would soon fall asleep. The twenty minute shower was a little disturbing but I remained calm. When he started up the blow dryer I realized I would be hiking the next day without sleep!
We started the hike at 5:55AM. The assistant pro, Steve Bourbon, joined me for the first 72 holes. Turns out Steve attended Pitt so he and Sam had a good conversation about the school and all of the great things he has to look forward to when he starts Pitt this fall. Steve also attended school in Orlando in order to start him on a path to becoming a PGA professional and Andrew was particularly interested in this for himself. In addition to Steve being a nice guy, he was the ideal playing partner due to his experiences. Steve was playing for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. His caddy for his final 18 holes was a member, Sharon Levy, who organizes the Rally for the Cure event each year at the club, and coincidently, she has Type 1 diabetes.
The golf course was in magnificent shape, a little wet in the early morning from a couple of heavy downpours the day before. Dave Reece was kind enough to provide us some favorable pin positions, with the exception of hole 3 where it was near a steep slope in the green that can deflect a wayward shot far from the pin leaving a very delicate recovery shot; we managed! We concluded the day at about 8:20PM, playing the last hole with a member and resident who was out playing a few holes after dinner. Andrew noted this as a future goal: live on a golf course, play often.
Other than water boarding there can be no worse form of torture than being trapped by a golfer who wants to subject you to a recounting of his round of golf, shot by shot, excuse by excuse. However, it appears to be a prerequisite of the hike to provide statistics no matter how embarrassing it may be. First, I want to mention that I played with my full set; I had the boys carrying the bag so why give them a break. Steve got a kick out me playing my persimmon woods, and he seemed to enjoy the sound. I also putted with my old Lady’s Acushnet blade putter. I received my Tony Penna driver in 1976 and my putter in 1973 so I am certain both clubs were at least 10 years into service for me by the time he was born!
In the spirit of the event here is a run-down of some of my miserable statistics:
Scores: 90, 85, 85, 89, 86, 89
Fairways Hit: 57 of 84
Greens Hit: 38 of 108
In addition, I only managed 3 birdies over 108 holes. I hit the ball well for the most part, but did fire off a few drones over enemy territory, namely fescue infested ground. Toward the end of the round I had a couple of __anks. Watching some video I noticed my swing was abbreviated. Not certain if this was fatigue or normal for me now so I spent last night watching YouTube video of Hogan in hopes of getting back on track. Putting was atrocious. I believe the speedy play actually helped me go unconscious over the long shots which was a good thing. But, the speedy play was disastrous for my putting. Of course, Hawk Pointe just concluded the club championship stroke qualifying the day before so the green speeds on the sloping greens hurt me. I had numerous three putts and a few four putts. My poor putting is not solely attributed to the greens though because I missed several short putts. Playing 108 holes in a day magnifies your flaws. Once you start missing short putts it only gets worse as the holes go by. Get into a bad groove during an 18 hole round and generally you have a few days to forget it before playing again. Get into a bad groove when you play 6 rounds in a day and you can’t get out of it. There were certain holes I played poorly every round, and certain holes I played well every round. It was an interesting experience; the mind definitely plays a big role.
I did play 108 holes averaging between 2 hours and 2 hours 20 minutes per round. The weather cooperated with mild temperatures, though one round did seem much warmer than the others, and a nice breeze kicked up as the day progressed. I did not notice pain until about the middle of the fifth round or maybe the start of the sixth round. By then the pain was just in the legs and was constant. Interestingly, I felt a little light headed during the third round but that disappeared. I noticed one time as I walked and looked down I suddenly veered straight to the right for about four or five steps but quickly recovered and got back on a straight line. Fortunately, no one saw this. If it had been a boxing match the referee might have stepped in and called it because it looked like I staggered after taking an upper cut to the jaw!
We saw deer, groundhogs, rabbits, a blue heron, turkey vultures (not a good sign), hawks, and more deer and groundhogs. A doe and three fawn were present in the same area throughout the day; mainly hanging out in forested area between hole 6 and hole 17. It reminded me that during construction the deer often trampled the greens. The crew would get the surfaced polished and ready for seeding and the next morning hoof prints would be all over the surface. They were not present when the shaping was being performed but we guessed they were watching from the woods and then being curious would come out in the evening to test out the sand. Eventually the crew installed silt fencing around every green which worked. However, at the tenth green a buck must have scratched his antlers on one of the stakes and the fencing became entangled on his antlers. We followed a trail of shredded fabric and stakes across a street and along a hiking trail probably for a mile or so before it appeared he finally outran this long trail of fencing that was attached to him! Apparently deer have a short life span, maybe five to six years although some can live much longer, but it has been thirteen years since this happened so the deer we saw are probably the great grandchildren of the buck that once took on the tenth green.
Sam had to leave us around 3:00PM to make a doctor’s appointment at the endocrinologists in the Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania area, which is his last visit before he goes to college in the fall. He had a good visit and good news that his A1C levels were excellent. Basically, the A1C test measures your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months. The American Diabetes Association likens it to a baseball player's season batting average; it tells you about a person's overall success. Obviously he is making good choices with his diet, so he decided to celebrate at McDonalds before going home! You can’t stop being a kid all the time because of diabetes.
Once I finished the 100th hole we recorded a brief video recognizing that accomplishment and included brief remarks to Bruce and Dona Loethen, Phil Young and Sam which I hope to post on YouTube in the coming days as well. I want to see it first though because for some darn reason I can’t do things like that without being overcome by emotions so it probably isn’t coherent; I guess that happens as we get older. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of pledges received. There will probably be over 55 people who will have pledged a donation to JDRF through this event by the time it is wrapped up. So far we have raised over $4,600 in pledges and based upon comments we have received from persons who still plan to pledge I believe we will eventually exceed $5,000!
Also, here is a link to my Photobucket where you can view some pictures from the day:
I am amazed that someone could even imagine an event like this and then make it real and Jim Colton did it in a big way. I have not met him, but he must be a very special person and I would expect his family and friends have known this for many years and now the rest of us know through this experience that he is one of the blessings you discover because of this great game. Thanks to all of the sponsors especially Bridgestone Golf who donated some great golf balls (I chose the soft feel and it was an excellent ball); KentWool Tour donated socks that they claim is the world’s best and I agree; John Ashworth donated a great feeling, special edition Hundred Hole Hike golf shirt from his LinkSoul collection; and, I alternated between my two pair of True Linkswear golf shoes and there is no doubt it is the most comfortable shoe I have ever used in 44 years of playing golf.
Thank you all!
Playing just over 7,100 yards from the championship tees, this classic layout offers strategic choices and challenges that excite golfers swinging graphite and titanium just as it did when they were carrying hickory and persimmon.