Four rounds, four time zones, one amazing day
Photo credit: Joann Dost
Is it possible to play too much golf in a day? Most golfers would say "no." David Woods, the PGA Director of Golf at The Vintage Club in Indian Wells, California and three club members set out to find out in a most remarkable and incredible way.
On Tuesday June 25th, Woods along with two members of his club, Ric Kayne and Larry Sheakley and a friend Al Rabil decided they would play four rounds of golf. Not just play, mind you - but walk four rounds of golf. And at four different locations - in four different time zones. Wait, what?
Yes, you read that right. The quartet embarked on an amazing trek across four golf courses in four states in four times zones - all in one day.
How is that possible? Well, you need some friends with strategic memberships, some accommodating and understand golf professionals at each course, some private transport, some masseuses willing to travel and a whole lot of endurance and golf skills.
The story starts early on Tuesday. Very early. 4:15 wake up call early for a 5:30 tee time at The Golf Club just outside of Columbus, Ohio. The foursome, each with a caddie, teed off in the dark. The players obviously had some game because no one could see where the balls landed (even the caddies as they went out to the fairway). But they were determined to play away - and they did.
Woods explained that the rules for the day were simple. "Play each hole out and play fast. After you hit, get moving. Nevermind the golf ball that may sail over your head."
The first round took the group one hour and forty-five minutes to play.
After putting out, the group hustled to a nearby car and flew by private plane to Chicago, where a helicopter met them at the airport to take them directly to Butler National. And by directly, I mean, they landed on the range at Butler National! Woods estimated it was less than two minutes between the time they landed and the first ball was in the air.
Again, they walked the course with caddies, at least until the 17th hole. On the 17th, the weather/lightning horn sounded. They knew they could not afford a delay so they played through - taking the risk and without caddies (who were required to come in with the horn). They trudged through and finished the round in one hour and fifty minutes.
Then it was back to the plane where they took off on a three hour flight to the Tom Doak course in Rock Creek, Montana. The Rock Creek facility has its own runway and the group was able to land and tee off in expedient fashion once again. The group arrived at 1pm local time (MT) and again was able to play in under two hours. However, the hilly terrain (not to mention, the third round of golf of the day) meant that some muscle soreness and fatigue were starting to set in. Still, the group persevered.
Finally, the group set off to Bend, Oregon where they finished their journey with a quick 18 at the famed Fazio course at Pronghorn Club & Resort. Though they were running (almost literally) ahead of schedule, the group managed to keep up their pace of play and finished again in under two hours. In fact, based on the itinerary they had set, they actually finished an hour-and-a-half ahead of schedule - in other words, they had time for one more round (though no one suggested it as they finished.)
In total, the group calculated they had walked 23.4 miles of golf course (and that's a straight line distance) and had been awake 23 straight hours by the time they were back home in Southern California resting and recovering. Scores were not important nor a goal - but it suffices to say that you can't play one round of golf in under two hours without some great golf talent - much less four - and all participants were happy with their play.
"It's amazing to look back on it now," said a still sore Woods almost a week after the 'longest day'. "We really set out to do it just to see if it could be done. Obviously, we needed a whole team of folks to make this happen and they were all vital to pulling this off. The PGA Professionals and Directors of Golf at the courses - their help and assistance were invaluable. At The Golf Club, the Head Professional Joe Regner started us out. At Butler, Bruce Patterson the Head Professional there kept us going. Fred Nadeau, the Director of Golf at Rock Creek was a star for us and we finished with Joey Pickavance at Pronghorn, who could not have been more accommodating. These guys aren't just colleagues and friends, they are tremendous ambassadors for our game and industry."
As the foursome recovers from a day they will never forget, it's important to note that there was no goal to inspire other golfers to try and replicate this feat. (Unless you happen to have the connections and the transport - than by all means try...and call me). The goal was to show that golf was fun; that promoting the game and playing the game can be fun and that unique experiences are part of what make golf more than a game, it's a lifestyle. Additionally, it doesn't hurt to show that you can walk and get a round in all under two hours (4 times!).
"I'm incredibly fortunate to have the type of members at our Club who not only enjoy this great game of golf, but are kind enough to include me on an adventure like this." Woods says. "The Vintage Club is a special place and this is just another reminder that I have the best job in golf!".