13th Beach Hundred Hole Hike done and dusted.

A couple of days on and people have been asking would you do it again? 121 holes in a single day. You bet I would.

The HHH was a fantastic event, it was a professionally run event right from the first registration all of the way through to the closing festivities. The organizers were superb. These guys worked tirelessly and to see them at 5am and then to still them running around at 930pm without ever taking a break is just as big an effort as it was for us to swing a golf club a couple of hundred times. Thanks guys, Caroline, Lindal and Brett you deserve a pat on the back.

Unfortunately for me the golf didn't live up to expectations, the mantra for the day from all of the past hikers and event organizers was as simple as to make sure you keep the ball in play. That is where I failed dismally. It didn't matter if I hit driver, three wood hybrid or even seven iron off the tee my balls just wanted to ride on the strong cross winds and disappear into the rough. My score cards suffered the ultimate price with more than 20 lost balls over the 7 rounds played. What's more the hike was made all the more longer when I added at least an extra 2km to the days journey when I was forced on 6x separate occasions to make the long (200plus meter) return journey back to the tee when a ball couldn't be found and I had made the cardinal sin and hadn't hit a provisional ball.

This happened 3 times on the first round alone but as the day grew longer, I grew a little more wise to the fact and therefore I was hitting twice as many shots from the tee just to make sure I didn't haven't to hike back as often.

My extra walks and lost balls were a welcome relief to my caddies is it gave them a little extra rest. Special thanks to my wife Louise who ran the first 36 holes with me pushing the golf buggy. We hit off at 540am and were back on the first tee at a couple minutes after 7am ready for the second round. We were able to hit off before sunrise because I had invested in some night flyer glow in the dark golf balls and were able to play three holes before some of the other hikers were able to hit their first ball.

I think Lou thought I was joking when I told her that I was wanting to run but she kept up with me and never complained about the tempo. I couldn't convince my second caddy to run so the third and fourth rounds were a lot more leisurely. It was an enjoyable few hours with Greg an old school mate who unquestioningly made the two hour (190km) journey from Mt Martha to Barwon just to help a friend in need. It was under Greg's watch that I past the half way mark and was able to count down fewer holes to go than the number played.

The putter let me down regularly and I was forced to wear a bright fluorescent yellow top called the Three PUTT Monkey Vest for the large majority of the rounds. As part of a condition from my sponsorship from the guys from my golf social club I was required to adorn the vest whenever I had a three putt and the only way I could take it off again was by having a one putt green. Three Putts were in abundance and the one putts were illusive so the extra layer of clothing was almost a permanent fixture of the day.

Special mention to my third caddy of the day Kevin who was a volunteer from the Karingal foundation. I had never met Kevin until he was handed my bag and asked to help me with my 5th venture around the 13th Beach layout. Kevin was supportive and encouraging and although he had a quite a few more years of life experience than me he was only too happy to run the 18 holes with me. I wasn't sure whether I should run or even slow down a little however Kevin was at my hip all of the way and he quickly adapted to my game and like a professional caddy he was ready with the correct club selection as soon as we got to the ball.

It was during round five that my golf buggy decided to break down. Only Half way down the first hole the brake on the buggy decided to start locking on. Despite our best efforts we were unable to fix the skidding wheel and undeterred Kevin ran on either dragging a fixed wheel along at a canter or at times he was even pushing the buggy on just 2 wheels. (That is a commitment beyond the realms of expectation for any volunteer especially for a perfect stranger who is making him run 18 holes on the golf course.) A few holes in Kevin came up with a McGuiver like solution to fix the broken wheel, he wedged a golf tee into the locking mechanism and the buggy rolled on like new for another 10 holes before it broke down again and at that stage the wheel sounded like it was actually going to fall off.

At the completion of the round we were able to borrow a screw driver from the band roadie setting up for the concert and we got the cart back up and rolling again, but like the true gentleman that he was Kevin even offered up his own buggy if I needed a back up but said there was no way he was running another 18 holes with me. (fair enough too)

Despite all of the mechanical difficulties were able to check in the scorecard for round 5 in just over 1 & 3/4 hours and it would have been even quicker had I not been required to run back to the tee on the first hole and the 18th. Round 5 should have been probably my best round had it not been a few easy missed putts and a disastrous 11 on the last hole. My drive went left into the long grass, my provisional was a shocker and went straight into the Netherlands (not worth even looking for). My second provisional run off the fairway and finished again in the long grass. A thorough search (2 minutes as opposed to the golden rule of 30 seconds) proved fruitless and neither of the drives one or three could be found so it was yet another long 230meter run back to the tee to play my seventh stroke off the tee.

It was a joy to have Louise back again for the sixth round and this one was played at a much slower pace compared to the first couple. We were also accompanied by my two sons. Thomas & Josh. That was all that was needed for me to get me to the finish line. Whether it was the extra 4 sets of eyes or just having Louise and the boys there with me but it was enough to keep my from losing too many golf balls in the last 18 holes. By eliminating the excessive penalties, surprisingly on the 6th round I was able to post my lowest score for the day. Maybe if I played 200 holes I could really have dusted off the cob webs in my golf swing and played to my handicap or better.

We arrived at the club house at 6pm having completed 108 holes. Excluding provisional balls which would have added up to almost another round, I had had 599 strokes. 99. 103. 102. 101. 101 (11 on the last hole) 93. In that time I had had one airs wing, a double hit, lost more golf balls than the average person does in a year, putted a birdie putt off the back of the green and done just about all that one could possibly do with a golf club out on the course. My saving grace was that I had managed to hit my tee shot past the ladies markers 108 times in a row, although the first shot of the day was pretty close.

As the numbers run I only had 21 pars and the one birdie, for the day. My worst holes were the 11 on the 18th and I also racked up a devastating 10 on the 8th hole of round two when I got stuck in the base of a tree and refused to take an unplayable lie. (hence the airs wing)

Taking an eclectic tally from the best scores for each hole on the beach course the best ball score total was 78.

The best ball including the 18 holes played on the creek course improved it to 76.

Taking an eclectic tally from the worst scores for each hole on the beach course the worst ball score total was 129.

My best hole was the short par 3 16th hole as I parred it 4 times.

My worst was the par 3 third hole which seems to be the Bermuda triangle for golf balls, despite it being only a medium length par three with no obvious hazards or OOB areas, I lost golf balls on it the first 4 times that I stood on the tee to tackle it.

I wore a fit bit for the first 108 holes which offered some sort of insight into what I managed to achieve for the day and what is required to complete the hundred hole hike.

According to the data:

I walked 72049 steps, which accounted for 61.96km and I climbed the equivalent to 195 floors which according to the health guru's means I would have burned off somewhere around 6971 calories, so the beer at the end of the day was probably well earned and can be consumed without guilt or reservation.

After a rest and a feed and only after I had encouraged Lou and the kids to go home for a couple of hours before the presentation I decided to use the time to sneak back out on the golf course for a few extra holes. I ran into traffic on the 4th hole so I jumped on to the back nine and squeezed in a further 72 hits from the 13 holes before the sun set and the family arrived back at the golf course.

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to take part in this wonderful event. It was humbling to have received such brilliant support from so many friends, family, colleagues and contacts from within the community. Being the first person into the club house to complete the 100 holes I was able to meet some of the people for whom the fundraising and the actual entire charity day was dedicated to. They were so thankful of our efforts and it made the cause so much more real and worthwhile. To see the look in their eyes when we were introduced to them was an experience in itself.

So many people donated to the cause on my behalf, from my work place Belgravia Leisure, Spring Park Golf Course golfers, the members at Riversdale Golf Club and then there was my fantastic social circle of friends and family and the Sunday Leave Pass Golf Social Club who all tipped into their pockets so that the Karingal Foundation can receive funds to help to support those people with Acquired Brain Injuries to help them to lead more comfortable lives.

Courtesy of the generosity of those wonderful people we were able to raise a couple of thousand dollars which will go some way to improving the quality of lives of those who need it most. For that I am forever grateful for everyone's support

Surprisingly despite having only done 4 weeks of any sort of training for the event, my body has pulled up remarkable well, especially considering that I ran 67 of the 121 holes and that I hadn't run previously before the start of training for over 2 years. After more than 671 strokes my hands are un-calloused. Admittedly there was a little muscle soreness in the legs as Saturday went on and into Sunday morning however even now, just two days later I feel like I could do it all again and my body feels back to 100%.

My feet don't have so much as a blister and I think I can credit that to the brilliant shoes that I managed to get hold of courtesy of Russell from Acushnet Australia. There is a reason that Footjoy is the number one selling shoe in golf and the NEW SUPERLITE MESH shoe is living proof why they should be. While other hikers were changing shoes regularly, I only wore the one shoe and it was just as comfortable for the first hole as it was for the 121st. The Superlites were supportive gave good grip, but most importantly were lighter on my feet than even a running shoe. If any hikers were looking for a strong comfortable shoe for their adventure then I can strongly recommend these Footjoys as the first place to start looking. Its the best $120-$140 you could ever spend for the protection of your feet.

Thank you all who were involved in my journey over the 100 hole hike, if you are reading this blog then you know you are one of the people who contributed and helped me to get to the finish line. It was a great adventure and if we as a collective team have improved the life of just one person with an Acquired Brain Injury then it was worth every step and every bead of sweat that was required to get there.

Finally congratulations to the hosts who put on a world class quality event.

Thank you.

This Golfer's Participation