Keepin' It 100

jcolton31's picture

I have to admit something: as of three weeks ago, I wasn't going to do the Hundred Hole Hike this year.

About 18 months ago, I started playing basketball after a 10-year hiatus from the game. What started as shooting around and 1-on-1 with my son quickly turned into playing Saturday morning pick-up with some guys at church, then finding some 6:00 AM pick-up games 2-3 days during the week. I was never very good at basketball to begin with, but I discovered that I was about 98% as good as I was in early 30s, and more importantly, I rediscovered how much I loved to play. I couldn't get enough of it. Eventually one of the young guys from the church games (surprisingly) asked me to play on their rec league team. A la Michael Jordan, I was coming out of retirement. I texted my friends: "I'm back"

My comeback last two games. In the second league game in January, I came down for a rebound, felt a little twinge in my heel but didn't think anything of it. I kept playing the rest of the game, and played the following morning as well. However, for the following three days, I could hardly get out of bed. It felt like my heel was on fire.

[It should be noted that nearly all of my friends I had played basketball with back in the day had long since hung up their sneakers, and nearly all of them warned me against coming back. Their universal "you'll shoot your eye warning" was "you'll blow out your achilles." The achilles heel is the widowmaker of old guy basketball careers (see Kobe Bryant). My ankle was a ticking time bomb.

I rested about six weeks, the foot felt marginally better and then I tried to play some light pick-up two weekends in a row. It felt okay while playing but I'd pay the price for 2-3 days later. Eventually I went to the doctor to have it looked at. Fortunately, I had not suffered any kind of tear. But the x-rays showed that I had a bone spur (it looked like my foot had grown a comma), and the bone spur likely cracked back in January, causing all this inflammation and pain. They prescribed some exercises with the hopes that would take care of it before considering more drastic measures.

The two things the doctor confirmed were 1) my basketball career was likely over and 2) I could still play golf. The latter was certainly much more important the first. So I started doing the exercises and slowly started to feel better.

We had an awful spring in Chicago (May was pretty much a washout, other than Mothers Day), so I really only got to play a couple 9-hole rounds. A few things were abundantly clear:

- After 12 weeks of inactivity, I was woefully out of shape
- My golf game was as bad as it's ever been
- My top speed was equivalent to the old guy in the movie Up!
- It still hurt every other step
- My golf game was as bad as it's ever been

None of those factors really scream: "let's go play 100+ holes in a day for charity!" Friends would check in on my status periodically and my status looked like a NFL injury report: extremely doubtful, doubtful, out, questionable...

Just as I was starting to feel a little better, I received a well-timed pledge from my buddy Eric. After I emailed him back to tell him about my basketball injury and that I might not be able to participate, he quickly replied, "Isnt it great to be old! lol Seriously hope you heal quickly and are able to knock another hike out for those kids."

Quickly my focus shifted from lamenting my injury and lack of activity to the kids who could really use my help. There are great organizations that are truly transforming lives through golf. Even if I could gut out 100 holes and raise some money and awareness for these causes, perhaps one or more kids could be positively impact.

Although my profile page lists one cause by default, this year I will be hiking for the three causes below. Pledgers can pledge on a per hole and lump sum basis, and after the Hike pick which organization they'd like to support. I've intentionally chosen three different organizations in three different cities; I hope you can find one near and dear to your heart to support.

Midnight Golf ( - golf program teaching life skills and mentoring to young men and women in inner-city Detroit

Solich Caddie and Leadership Academy ( - Denver-based organization run by the Colorado Golf Association designed to provide opportunities for young men and women through caddying at CommonGround, with the hopes they'll move on and benefit from the...

Evans Scholars Foundation ( - Chicago-based organization providing need-based tuition and room and board to caddies at numerous college campuses across the country

On Monday June 19th, I will be hiking at Ballyneal for these three wonderful organizations. Whereas my usual hike at Ballyneal has consisted between 144-163 holes in day, my realistic goal is to keep it 100 this year. I appreciate a pledge of any amount (through the buttons below), or even just a word or encouragement. Monday will certainly be a mental and physical grind. Like that timely pledge and email from Eric, your support will truly be the fuel that keeps me going.


[It's also worth highlighting the great work done both by hikers to date in 2017 and those yet to Hike this summer. This includes my fellow Ballyneal hikers Brandon Urban, Gary Albrecht and Josh Bills as well as dozens of others. HHH continues in its sixth season and we consistently have 90-100 golfers participating. And we are approaching $3 million raised for over 160 different charitable causes. I encourage you to check out the pre- and post-hike blog posts that highlight the motivation and the experience of walking and playing a bunch of holes in a day for a cause that's uniquely important to each hiker. And if you get the itch to start up a hike of your own, please reach out to me at]

This Golfer's Participation