That's Gonna Itch When It Dries

Let me preface this post Hundred Hole Hike recap by thanking everyone.

Pledgers - Thank you for helping me raise money for the American Diabetes Association! I am proud to say that I made it 108 holes and hold the current record for most holes hiked while carrying ones own bag! Without all of you wonderful people, this event would be nothing. Thanks for believing in me and justifying all of this craziness!

Jim Colton - Thank you so much for being so selfless and inspiring. I know I am not the only one that is inspired by your passion for the game and even greater passion for doing good by the world. What you've created is something that will continue to grow and will undoubtedly be one of the largest charity events in the world in the VERY near future. Thank you for letting me be a part of something so special.

Matt Payne, Dave Hensley, Garrett Gordon, JP & Gina, Caddie Master (Coach) Nick Flaa - You guys are unbelievable. There's really not much to say besides Thank You. You each went out of your way to help every single hiker in any way possible and created memories for each of us that will surely last a lifetime. I miss you guys, and certainly look forward to seeing you again soon.

Brian Carruthers - Thanks for pushing me bud! Just wish I had one less shot in me, could have beat you.

Rob Rigg - Quick shout out just because here I am two days later and my feet feel like a million bucks. TRUE Linkswear was clearly an unbelievable sponsor for this event. Thanks for helping us each along the way. Just don't play through so many times next year, you're starting to play like Colton! :)

Now then, let's get down to business. The Hike. What to say? One word - Relentless? Insane? Sore? I'm not sure how to even describe the experience other than life changing.

After arriving to Ballyneal on Saturday night, thanks to Garrett Gordon (GGGGGGGGGG MAN!!!!!), I settled right in again, just like I never left. After an evening opening nine holes at Holyoke National, great little 9 hole course in town we all used to play together, and some First Dragon Chinese food, things seemed like they were just the same. But oh how things were about to change. Luckily, I was able to acquire an early morning tee time for a 4 v 4 round at Ballyneal on Sunday morning, of which we won! But that's neither here nor there. 27 holes on Sunday were just enough to warm me up for Monday morning. But as everyone started to funnel in for the hike, we got to talking. I became increasingly nervous. We knew and acknowledged that it was going to be incredibly hot. But at what point is there really nothing you can do? I think we all had our questions about how the day would go, probably in some of us more than others. I wondered if I would be able to stay hydrated. I wondered if I even had it in me. I knew the training that I had been doing for the previous months would help, but to what extent? I was very worried. That's not to say I didn't sleep well, though. I ALWAYS sleep well. That leads us to Hike morning.

After waking up to the alarm at 3:50 AM, looking out the window and seeing pure Scottish/Irish/Links weather of mist and fog, I became excited. Brian and I headed down from our room about 4:15 am, ready for our 4:40 tee time. After a small breakfast, we headed out to the tenth tee, to play as a two ball.

Round 1 (1:44) After letting JCP (John Penny) and Rigg tee off, the tee was ours. Or so we thought. When it's not light out, and there's fog, and mist, it's really hard to see anywhere. After yelling aimlessly through the fog like a sailor coming into a foggy harbor, with no response, we figured Rigg was out of the way. I don't even remember what club I hit. It's one of those easy swing, pick a line, and hope type of shots. And so began the worst round of the day. Wait, what? Really? That's not how that is supposed to work. I made the terrible decision of taking a Sunday tote bag out while the golf course was soaking wet. A few holes in I realized that I had grips that were doused in water, and a glove that was entirely useless after being left in a golf bag that felt like you just found it in a water hazard. When you're 9 holes into a 100+ hole single day event, it's not ideal to have blisters forming on your hands. Thankfully, with the extended use of shorts and underarms, I was able to dry grips enough to make it to our 18th hole before Matt Payne came to the rescue with the stand bag filled with dry clubs and gloves. Needless to say, the first round was the worst for me, with an outstanding 88. Things can't get any worse, right?

Round 2 (1:47) Heading into round 2, I had a much better attitude. I had dry clubs, and a dry bag. What's to complain about? Not to mention we just played as a two ball in one hour and 44 minutes. 18 more holes, this time things improved a little (if you consider 15 shots a little). Three bogies, one birdie, 73. Much better. Surely every round would be just like this, right? Not that simple.

Round 3 (1:54)- Fresh shoes and socks. An unparalleled feeling. Now I have dry shoes, socks, clubs, grips, gloves, and bag. All that has to equal a perfect round. Nearly perfect, on the Par 5's and Par 3's that is. Playing the Par 5's and Par 3's at +2 usually equals a pretty solid round! Not when you go +9 on Par 4's. 82. Certainly not 73, but also not 88. So no real heavy complaints.

Round 4 (2:01) - Dig deep, Brian. Let's get one more round in before we stop for lunch and a shower. Brian and I were determined to get four rounds in before we stopped for a break so that we could limit the amount of damage during the hottest part of the day. Standing on #10 tee, again our starting hole for the round, Brian says to me "Alright, Mitch. We're both going under 74 this time around." A lofty goal some might say. But Brian and I have both played Bally so many times we were as confident as Ali entering the ring. That confidence was never more evident than on #3, a short par 3. I had recently checked Twitter and saw that JCP (John Penny) had posted that he hit the flagstick on #3 about ten minutes prior to our arrival on the tee. Well, I certainly wanted a piece of the action too. After a suggestion from Bubba (Brian) to utilize the left slope, I thinned a gap wedge right on the perfect line. Yeah, that's right, I admitted to thinning it. I called for it to get down. It hit, checked a touch, and started funneling towards the cup. After watching it for approximately 7 light years, it hit the flagstick and nestled onto the edge of the cup. A one inch putt for birdie. Well, I certainly could have used my FIRST HOLE IN ONE! COME ON GOLF GODS!!!! But it wasn't meant to be. That birdie, along with three others, put me in position with a fourth round 75. Not bad. BREAK TIME!

You'd think it would be easy to eat food when burning through that many calories, right? Well after a quick shower, change of clothes, and change of shoes, we headed in for a quick bite. But, for some reason, when you're burning through that much, it is really hard to eat. I did manage to get most of a turkey sandwich down, after listening to Wyatt get egged on by T-Payne (Matt Payne) to finish his sandwich before he goes back out. And so it continued.

Round 5 (2:10) - We got the lucky fortune of playing exactly one hole with Wyatt Halliday. It was a great hole. Many jokes exchanged, cuss words unwillingly shared, and the quote of the tournament even came out. That's the title to my post, I'll let you take it how you will. After our three ball on number 1, we split up and carried on. But round 5 was nothing to write home about score wise. No birdies never helps the cause. 41-41 for an 82. Well, I was starting to wear down so I guess no reason to be frustrated!

Round 6 (2:25) - I was tired. Not done, but tired. After seeing my golf swing wear down to almost nothing, and my screaming, powerful, consistent draws with driver turn into uncontrollable weak cuts, and lost balls, I decided to revamp my set. Four clubs. 2 iron, 7 iron, 53 degree wedge, putter. That's all you need apparently! I somehow found my game again, as well as second life, because I stood on the 7th tee only one over following bogey on six. The flat stick had gotten hot, at long last. I was making par putts all over the place. After ripping another 2 iron with about 40 miles per hour wind behind my back, I knew I would be in good shape on the short par four. I didn't realize, however, that I would have a twelve footer from the edge of the green for eagle. I proceed to knock that in, 1 under for the round. WITH FOUR CLUBS! On 8, the par 5, I hit 2 iron, 2 iron to about 70 yards. Wedge to 20 feet. Another putt goes in! NOT! This time it merely hits the stick and rests on the edge! The #ithoughtihadyouyoudirtylittlerascalbirdie shows its ugly face. Two under was not to be. One under through 8 holes with four clubs. I proceed then, obviously, to snap hook one into the yucca and make bogey five on number 9. Even par 36. Tied for my best 9 hole score of the day. That's got to lead to a great round. Well, saying that the wheels fell off would be a total disgrace to the wheels. They fell off, took off running, and never looked back. Double bogey after double bogey, chunk shot after chunk shot, I fumbled my way in with a 45. 36-45 for an 81. And so began the walk of glory. Or some would call it the stumble very slowly looking like you're 108 years old, not that you just played 108 holes of golf, walk.

Little did we know, the best was yet to come. After an ice bath for my feet, and a two hour nap, we headed down to meet the boys and have some dinner. Jim (Ironman) and Rigg (Optimus Prime) had just finished with 155 and 144 holes, respectively. WHAT?! Are you kidding me? These guys are insane! I don't know how anybody could have walked one step further than what we did! Kudos to those guys for setting the bar so high I can barely even see it up there. We all enjoyed each others company war stories over dinner, and tried to get words in edgewise about a score or a shot that truly was meaningless. This was not about a score on a hole, or a score on 108 holes, or 155 for that matter. It was about doing something great. And that, we all did. Everyone achieved their goal, many of whom exceeded their goal. That's what it's all about. I'm truly proud to say that I walked 108 holes on June 25, 2012 to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. I know now what it feels like to be compelled by a greater good, and to do my best to contribute in a positive manner. Should you have asked me an hour after I finished my 108 holes if I would consider doing the Hundred Hole Hike again, I would have been reluctant. But after a day and a half to recover, I am glad to say that as long as the Hundred Hole Hike continues, I will NEVER miss a year. The contribution that we have all made as a group is a great one, and I am INCREDIBLY proud to be a part of it. Thanks to all that helped me along the way. I look forward to the opportunity to participate in the 2013 Hundred Hole Hike.

PS - For those of you whom were wondering, Brian Carruthers and I played 108 holes together on Monday. We thoroughly enjoyed each others company, but still managed to continue our competitive nature. After the initial count, it was determined that I was the winner by a mere stroke. However, Tuesday morning's mandatory recount determined otherwise. A tie. ARE you JOKING ME? 481 strokes for both of us. Unbelievable.

This Golfer's Participation