Marathon Golf 100 Holes

By Michael FechterJune 6, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's note: Michael Fechter, orphan worker and humorist, has the best job in golf: he's paid to be the Ambassador of Fun for golf courses across America. His 'job' is to make the courses he represents across America more interesting, unique and fun. Enjoy his humorous series on getting back into the game as he struggles to get his game into the shape it was nearly 30 years ago when he won his only personal junior 'major,' the Al Esposito, on America's easiest muni with rounds of 71-71-75.
 
In answer to the age-old question, How does a 45-year old, recovering non-golfer feel after completing a 100-hole charity golf marathon? I'd say, far, far better than expected.
 
We do a lot of crazy things in support of good causes, like write checks to complete strangers so as to lower our basis of taxable income, run marathons, and buy nutritionally-devoid, overpriced cookies from shady groups of young girls camped out in front of the local Wal-Mart.
 
So, when Charles Ramberg, a skilled artisan furniture maker and noted do-gooder for African and local children alike, asked me, Michael Fechter, if I would like to sponsor him as he participated in a 100 Hole Golf Marathon to support the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center, a haven for children of suspected abuse, I said, Oh, hell no!
 
Hell no, partially because as an Orpan worker, Ambassador of Fun and columnist for GolfChannel.com, I have no basis of taxable income to reduce. And, Hell no mostly because this 100-Hole Golf Marathon sounded like the perfect way for the winner of the 1980 Al Esposito Junior Invitational to jump start my way back into becoming a golfer. So, rather than being Charles' sponsor, I talked my way into being Charles playing partner for the event.
 
Ah, yes, 100 holes. Mere childs play. Granted, I have never played more than 36 holes in a single day, so I was curious as to how one might actually complete 100 holes during the daylight available in late April? Even with a cart, it would be hard to play 18 in much under 3 hours, and we were looking at 5 complete rounds of 18, plus another 10 holes. Thats over 17 hours of golf -- possible in Nome, Alaska on the summer solstice, but not in Charleston, S.C. on any day of the year.
 
I arrived at the uber-exclusive Daniel Island Club at 7 a.m. to learn the realities of this 'Marathon Golf. Perhaps it would involve an actual marathon. I envisioned rich fat guys with rental clubs being forced to run the course while volunteers from the children's center yelled 'Keep it moving, Porky!!' For my money, that would be far more entertaining than even the dunk tank at the Kiwanis club fair.
 
I'll tell you one thing: someone at the Daniel Island Club sure knows how to run a golf course. There were more workers tending to the flower beds than were used to build the Panama Canal. And there, by the cart shed, was a spread of fruit, yogurt and energy bars a free breakfast that could be the difference in my staying solvent in 2008. Gotta stay grateful.
 
Of all the participants, I recognized none of the names except for Tucker Erwin, a kid who recently was an All-American junior. Gee, I wonder who might fair better in this 100 Hole Marathon, 'Trophy Case Tucker' or 'Basket Case Fechter?
 
As we neared, 8 a.m. and a shot-gun start, the head pro explained the 'rules' of Marathon Golf. From what I could gather, Marathon Golf is the Outback Steakhouse of golf, 'No Rules, Just Right!' (Please send all Outback coupons for this national plug directly to my P.O. Box.).
 
Marathon Golf is the greatest invention since M & Ms with peanuts or the French kiss. Marathon Golf is to serious golf what the Victoria's Secret Holiday TV Special is to '60 Minutes'. It's a great thing... only much, much better.
 
In Marathon Golf, you play as many balls as you want off the tee and into the green. You can play 10 balls on a par 3 and that counts as 'Ten Holes' of your 100-hole round. A par is zero points, a birdie is minus-1 point, a bogey is plus-1 point, a double bogey is plus-2 points and there is no score higher than a double bogey. You cant make a 'snowman' (an 8) in Marathon Golf. In Marathon Golf, Sam Snead would have won the 1937 U.S. Open.
 
In Marathon Golf, there is no out of bounds; everything is a lateral hazard, just drop another ball and play on. Perfect for a guy like me with a two-decade-long gap in his golf resum.
 
In Marathon Golf, all putts under 3 feet are automatically 'good.' Nobody misses a sliding downhill 3-footer or the 3-footer coming back. In Marathon Golf, Ben Hogan would have won an additional five U.S. Opens and about 12 more Master's.
 
In Marathon Golf, there are fewer rules than in marriage to Hugh Hefner. And yet, after the second hole, Charles Ramberg and I discovered that there were way too many rules in Marathon Golf. So we simplified it more.
 
Why stand on the tee and pound out 8 different drives? It takes way too much patience, concentration and effort, with none of my drives breaking 215. So, we decided that as soon as we had a ball in the fairway that we liked, it was time to play 8 balls to the green from that spot. There's eight holes, Mr. Hogan.
 
Soon, we decided that it would be just as good to hit a lot of sand shots or chip shots from around the green and count that as the number of holes. Marathon Golf was beginning to feel like the old practice rounds I would have on the day before a tournament, except with no seriousness to the day at all. It was beyond perfection.
 
There was no need to get upset with a bad shot, because you had eight more shots if you wanted them to get it right. Charles and I discovered is that we usually both hit a pretty good shot on the first try because there was no pressure. Im not sure that Trophy Case Tucker approached the day the same way Charles and I did, but give him 30 years, an ex wife and a months-long custody battle, and hed appreciate our take on the day.
 
After 100 holes in about 3 hours, we had a fantastic lunch with the small army of volunteers, the staff of Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center and other golfers. We then went out and played a private 2 Man Captain's Choice with the entire course to ourselves. By this time, we had hit so many sand shots, chip shots, drivers and wedges that we played just great.
 
The entire day could not have been better. After 100 holes of Marathon Golf, I felt that I had again 'found my game.' Its the first time I left a golf course beaming in years.
 
More importantly, over $40,000 was raised for children who need treatment and counseling for neglect and abuse. It was simply a day of good deeds and great, uncomplicated golf.
 
As was foreshadowed, Tucker Erwin, the All-American junior inexplicably won the Marathon Golf tournament. Just squeeze it in your trophy case, pal, because I was the true winner today.
 
So, if youre trying to knock off the winter dust, or just have trouble finding your game, put yourself down for a round or two of Marathon Golf. Marathon Golf takes out the seriousness and puts in the fun. Heck, I should know, I'm golf's 'Ambassador of Fun.'.
 
Tom Werner contributed to this column.
 
Email your thoughts to Michael Fecheter
 
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  • Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


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    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: