If Bob Kurtz invites you out to play a few holes of golf, you might want to go about kissing your loved ones, getting your affairs in order, and checking with your boss about vacation time, because you're not going to be coming back any time soon.
Kurtz, you see, is golf's Iron Man, a nonstop golfing machine who piles up holes like he was scooping up range balls. Your big 36-hole outing? He laughs at that. Laughs, I say! Earlier this month, as Brent Kelley at About.com tells us, Kurtz -- a former broadcaster who's now a pastor -- knocked out 500 holes in 39 consecutive hours of golf. That's 27 18-hole rounds, with one 14-hole round left over. And every single hole was played at Chesley Oaks in Fairview, Alabama. Oh, by the way, he's 68 years old. Not feeling so tough now, are ya, fella?
Kurtz was doing it for the children, of course; he may be crazy but he's not insane. His monster round raised more than $40,000 for various charities, according to Kurtz. It's not the first time he's done this; according to his website, he's raised more than $100,000 for two marathon efforts. (Last year, he played 405 holes.) He started at 5:01 a.m. on a Wednesday and finished at 7:48 p.m. on Thursday, and as you can see from the photos, while he was racing to his cart early in the affair, by the end of it all, he ended up looking pretty darn ragged out.
So how'd he feel when he stepped off that 500th green. "Ticked off!" Kurtz laughs. "I had a six-foot putt for birdie, and I pulled it. But then I remembered what I was there for, I tapped in, and everybody began to applaud."
Kurtz is a self-proclaimed "range rat," a guy who hits 350 to 500 balls a day for up to four hours. But anybody can hit baskets full of balls; what counts is where you hit 'em. So how did Kurtz shoot for the overall run? Well, he notched his age twice, and shot par or better 12 times. Overall, he averaged 72.6 for the daytime game and 76.7 once the sun went down. (He used glow-in-the-dark balls for the evening rounds.) He didn't goof around; he had two spotters and two scorecards, and while one caddy would be grabbing the ball out of the hole, he'd be on his way to the next tee. He finished rounds in as little as 53 minutes.
So what kept him going? The same thing that keeps every golfer coming back -- the promise that the next hole would be better. "There were several times when I'd be playing one of the rounds and I'd bogey 14 and 15," he says. "Then I'd just look forward to No. 1, when it would start all over again."
He adds, probably unnecessarily, "You've got to be a little loony to try something like this."
Next up for Kurtz? Golf for a week solid. He's been in conversation with the Guinness people about playing 2,000 holes in a week, daylight hours only, to set a new world record. How about it -- you up for the challenge?
Good for him, i could never golf 500 holes (or stay up 39 hours). a 53 minute round is crazy!