World Record Attempt Report
On July 25th four golfers, Bennett Galloway, Dr Joe Limoli, Jiro Kamiharako and Brad Davis played 117 different golf holes in one day, covering 120 kilometers by car and more than 33,000 yards of golf course. That's over 38 kilometers of golf on six and a half courses!! The average score for 18 holes was between 76 and 85 and the guys went through quite a few of the Callaway HX Tour balls provided by Callaway Golf and were amazed by the comfort and support provided by ECCO's top of the line golf shoes. Both man and gear were truly tested and pushed to their limits during this 24 hour event.
The group started at twelve noon and raced around the Tokyu Golf Course. The weather was perfect but birdies were scarce. Two carts were used and support staff dashed around with sand wedges and putters.
We had expected the first round to be completed in three hours, but in fact, after a brief one hour and fifty minute round the team moved on to the Niseko Higashiyama Prince course. The next round took two hours, with the Prince staff organizing the groups in front perfectly, allowing the team to zip through the greens. As the support staff buzzed around the golfers, the players quickly fell into a groove.
After a thirty minute drive to Niseko Golf Course, the guys had to complete the next round by six thirty pm in order to make the start deadline for the night golf at Rusutsu's Tower golf course. They started at four fifty pm and made it off the course by six fifteen pm - a blistering one hour and twenty five minute round! The scenic Arnold Palmer designed Niseko G.C., surrounded by Mt Annupuri and Mt Yotei had never seen a faster fourball and they were all but a blur!
The team arrived at Rusutsu just under the wire and were able to breathe a sigh of collective relief. Knowing that only nine holes were lit up allowed for a much needed slower pace and relaxed atmosphere. The guys leisurely hit tee shots down fairways over looking the Rusutsu Amusement Park, complete with an oversize outdoor cinema and hotel complex and were greeted and cheered by friendly tourists.
After a quick onsen and some food the team had a few hours of down time and those who could manage to sleep did, however the anticipation of another frantic eight hours of golf the following day weighed heavily on everybody!
A three am wake-up call and a four am start at Niseko Golf and Resort saw the team continue at the same frantic pace as the previous day, with an established pattern clearly forming. Moving along quickly, Joe produced an astonishing 71 and there were sporadic birdies had by all. The sun was rising over Mt Yotei and unbelievably, the golfers were actually getting better as the 24 hour clock ran down.
A forty minute drive to the 72 hole Riverwood Course at Rusutsu and the stage was set for the final leg of the record challenge. With no time to waste on the scenery the team attacked the course focusing clearly on the task at hand and determined to break the one hundred hole mark. They set off on the second eighteen of the day, the River Course, at seven thirty am and were able to keep a good pace finishing in exactly 2 hours and encountering only a few groups on the last few holes. On this eighteen the players posted the least variance between scores "6 strokes", with everybody carding between 78 and 84!
Next was to be the final eighteen of the event, the Rusutsu Wood Course, and the
competitors faced perhaps the biggest challenge of the entire event yet, and it wasn't fatigue! It was now just after nine thirty and the course was quite busy in comparison with the previous days venues and they would need to navigate through other groups quickly if they were to have any chance at finishing before the noon deadline. The front nine went relatively smoothly with all the players in their groove performing perfectly together and encountering only a few groups to slow their pace.
They had done it and broken the one hundred hole mark during the previous nine, but there was still time left, and golf to play, if they were to really push the limits and set a good record. Spirits were dampened however, once they made the turn onto the last nine and faced a wait on the first tee, casting doubts into every ones minds as to weather they would be able to get through the last nine before twelve o'clock.
As though they had sensed the gravity of the situation the friendly staff of the Rusutsu 72 golf club, led by their manger came to the rescue leading the team in a motorcade of carts to the seventh tee from where they could play through to the ninth un-obstructed then loop around to the first tee and play the remaining one to six.
Although good in theory a few holes from finishing, and after the staff entourage had departed, they ran into two groups of fun seeking yet extremely slow players who had strayed onto the course after making a wrong turn from somewhere else. Their sun umbrellas and docile pace once again cast doubt onto the team. Once holing out on the 3rd green the group rushed to the next tee to contact the group to play through, but they didn't seem to take heed to calls in English or Japanese and were about to drive off, luckily at that moment Dr. Limoli shouted out something in Korean and they stopped immediately and graciously let the group play through effectively saving the day!!
Surprisingly the players posted the best scores of the entire event on the last eighteen with three players scoring rounds in the 70's! It was all smiles, high fives and hand shakes on the final 6th hole as their last putts disappeared into the hole. After posing for pictures on the green and giving interviews to reporters the exhausting 24 hours, 117 holes of golf was officially brought to a close with probably one of the best tasting beers and "Cheers" in the history of the game in the Riverwood clubhouse. The pace had been fast and fun, with four golfers coming together from four different parts of the world to become one in Niseko Japan and achieve something they can be truly proud of.
The record attempt application is still being rustled through the halls of the Guinness building in the U.K. today, and we patiently wait.
In light of the outstanding support of the sponsors and the Niseko area courses, next year's record attempt is already being planned with an eye on beating this years mark and playing at least seven plus courses,....that's one hundred and twenty six plus holes...!!
A special thank you to all who supported this event.
By Bennett Galloway and Ian Mackenzie