On Tuesday, September 14, I played 108 holes of golf, or the equivalent of six full rounds, at Hidden Glen at Bentdale Farms in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.
It was all part of the First Tee -- Southeast Wisconsin’s golf marathon fundraiser event where the registration page asks, “Are you crazy enough to play 100 holes of golf in one day? Here’s your chance!”
The answer for me was, of course, yes.
Personally, I've known David Cohn, the Executive Director of First Tee, for many years now and I'm proud to be part of the First Tee's marketing committee. Thus, I was excited to help raise money for the organization while participating in this fun, unique challenge.
I’m no stranger to marathons… I’ve definitely binge-watched more shows than I care to admit and I’m currently training for the Lakefront Marathon. I’ve run one other full marathon and several half marathons... but a golf marathon? This was new territory and I didn’t know what to expect.
I arrived at the course just before sunrise. I checked in, loaded up my golf cart and grabbed a continental breakfast. I debated warming up at the range but wisely decided I should conserve my energy.
Participants were given an outline of the day and pairs and singles were staggered on various holes throughout the course for a shotgun start at 7am.
I started on the fifth hole, playing with David for the first few holes before he peeled off to check in on the other groups.
I quickly learned this was not your normal round of golf. The only rule was “there are no rules.” This event was not about scoring, it was about finishing the 100 holes, having fun, and of course, raising money for a great cause.
I used my first 18 holes as a warm up and took notes of which clubs I hit on certain holes so that I would have a reference later. I shaved time by eliminating most practice swings and gathering yardages, spending little to no time searching for lost balls and conceding generous putts to myself unless they were for par or birdie.
We were served box lunches out on the course and beverages and restrooms were always close by, so we just kept powering through.
I completed my 100th hole just around 4:45pm, so in just under 10 hours. There was still plenty of daylight, so I decided to keep playing. Afterall, what’s another eight holes after you’ve already played 100? By about 6pm, after 11 full hours of playing golf, I had unloaded my cart and headed into the clubhouse for a well-earned dinner.
At the 19th hole… or, 109th hole, in my case, it was time to compare stories from the day and add up the damage.
While some participants were playing to hole out every shot and log their official scores, or had a certain number of pars or birdies they were hoping to get during the day, my personal goal was to attempt to par each hole on the course at least once. Unfortunately, I fell short of that goal as there were six holes that eluded me, but I was still extremely happy with how the day went.
My estimated total score for the day was 547, or an average of 91 per 18. That number doesn’t encompass all the shots I hit however, such as the 5 balls I dumped into the water on hole number 3 trying to drive the green (I was so close each time, but it was a little too windy!), or the extra shots I took trying to par 18 with my pitching wedge or 7-iron as revenge from the tournament I played at the course last month. My lowest score for 18 was an 87 and my highest was a 93.Taking my best score from each hole during the day, I would have a round of 75.
I had 4 birdies and 15 pars--including conquering my nemesis, the 18th hole.
Surprisingly my hands and body were not that sore, although according to my FitBit, I did log over 12 miles during the event, even with a cart.
When I got home, I was exhausted, but in the best way. A golf marathon is not for the faint of heart, but it was a very fun challenge and one that I’d definitely do again, especially to support an organization like the First Tee and its mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values through the game of golf.
By the way, the WSGA also hosts its own annual 100-hole event each year. This year’s 100-Hole Hike at Sand Valley will take place on October 4 and it’s a true hike as players will walk the course to complete their marathon. Registration is full, but continue to watch the WSGA website for more information on future events. In the meantime, start training!