Solstice Marathon: 101 Holes in 15 Hours, All Walking sixth fairway

To celebrate the official arrival of summer, my friends and I played golf on Monday from can to can’t—from when you can see until you can’t. Seven of us teed off at 5:00 a.m., when it was just light enough to follow a ball most of the way to the dogleg in the first fairway, and about thirty minutes later we were joined by Peter A., who had just discovered that he didn’t know how to set his alarm clock. He played by himself until he had caught up. Here’s Hacker (real name) getting ready to hit the day’s opening drive:

hacker first hole

We had to play around the sprinklers for a while:


Gary, our superintendent, stopped by to see how things were going, and we tried to talk him into joining us:

gary sixth

After the first eighteen holes, we drove to the coffee shop on the village green for breakfast. After the next twenty-seven, we made ourselves cheeseburgers and hot dogs on the grill in the parking lot next to the clubhouse. We also stopped occasionally to change socks, shoes, and shirts. I flipped my socks every time we passed the clubhouse, so that they would dry evenly:

drying socks

The day was hot, humid, and mostly windless. Several guys came and went. Tim played the first eighteen, then went home and worked, then came back and played the last eleven. (He said that the unusual parts of a solstice marathon are the beginning and the end, and that he already knew what it’s like to play in the middle of the day.) Here’s Tim, during the final nine, carrying a golf bag with the logo of the Sunday Morning Group’s unofficial marathon golf-shoe provider:

tim bag

We played on foot, and we played fast—my threesome averaged an hour and ten minutes per nine all day long—but I never felt that we were hurrying. The key is that we didn’t fool around: no practice swings, very little ball-marking, no obsessive putt-reading, no brooding about yardages on holes we play all the time, no standing around waiting for someone else to hit. When you play that way, you don’t have time to get in your own way, mentally. And, as is usually the case, everyone played extremely well. My second round was my best of the year so far (72). Addison was 8-under, gross, for the day. Here’s one of Addison’s tee shots on No. 9, a short par 4:

addison eagle

We finished at 8 p.m. Addison, David W., and I managed 101 holes, all walking. (That was roughly sixty-six thousand steps, two hundred and seventy flights of stairs, and thirty-five miles, according to my Fitbit.) Hacker achieved his goal of “walking and carrying my age,” which is about to be seventy. He switched to a cart after seventy-two holes, played nine more riding, and followed us to the end in the staff cart, with Mike A. driving:

staff cart

The competition was a ringer tournament, in which a player counted only his best net score on each of the eighteen holes—a format that gave an appropriate advantage to those who played the most holes. David W. was first, at -17; I was second, at -16; and Addison was third, at -15. Here’s my scorecard for the day (the pink spots are Powerade):

Owen solstice

While we were eating lunch, we got to watch one of the later stages of another golf marathon, featuring our club’s oldest member. His wife had brought him over, and had had a great deal of difficulty getting him from their car to the practice green. She had brought his putter and a Ziploc bag containing about a dozen old balls, which she placed on the green near his feet. Putting the dozen balls took him a long time. When he was finished, I helped her get him back to their car. Then they drove home. Postscript: Patrick Kroos, a German golfer and blogger whose main current project is persuading non-Swedes to travel to Sweden to play golf, wrote me to tell me about a German tournament called the HundertLochPokal, or HuLoPo, which means “Hundred-Hole Cup.” He wrote:  “One of my golf friends made a nice video of the 2013 edition. Even if you do not understand German, you can see the agony.” You can watch the video here.

4 thoughts on “Solstice Marathon: 101 Holes in 15 Hours, All Walking

  1. There is a tournament in Germany, that is played for 49 years in a row now. It is called the HuLoPo (HundertLochPokal = HundredHolesCup). One of my golf friends made a nice video of the 2013 edition. Even if you do not understand German, you can see the agony.

  2. Thanks David, It is a pity, you can’t comment on your blog’s new home. And you should also mention, that I work on bringing the author of this blog to Sweden to play golf. You have been too many times to Scotland and Ireland! Bring your buddies over here.

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