You often hear stories about people who push themselves physically and mentally to the limit. But these stories aren’t often associated with the game of golf. Sure the game can push people to the brink mentally, but physically, not often.
It’s extremely hard to believe, but the official Guinness world record for most rounds of golf played by an individual on foot, in 24 hours, is 22 rounds and five holes (401 holes in total). Let me repeat that, 401 holes in 24 hours!
35 year-old Ian Colston achieved this feat at Bendigo GC, Victoria (par-73, 5542m) in 1971. Colston covered over 125km in 24 hours… The feat seems almost impossible, then again, it is a world record.
People push themselves to the limit for various reasons, generally quite personal.
Let me introduce you to Michael Smith. Michael is attempting a golf feat of endurance. It won’t be an official world record if he achieves it, but he’s planning to play 5 rounds of golf a day (90 holes of golf), on foot, over 5 consecutive days. 450 holes total. Mad? Probably.
Is it possible to achieve this feat? Well yes it is. One can ‘easily’ cover 30km a day on foot, 5 days in a row, it’s just a matter of how much a toll striking a golf ball has on the body?
I have met with, and spoken to Michael, half a dozen times over the past 6 months and I’m simply intrigued by what he’s setting out to achieve. With Golf Month in October fast approaching, a celebration of all things golf, it’s an opportune time to explore his feat further.
The first question I asked Smith was his reason for doing the challenge and his answer was quite simple, “I just love golf,” he said.
“I have been thinking about the challenge for over 12 months and I decided to get it off the ground earlier this year and started getting into training quite heavily with diet and lost 13kg", the 53-year old said.
“After stopping playing footy and tennis, golf was the next best thing. I have now been playing for over 20 years and thoroughly enjoy it,” Smith added.
Scheduled for the Riverland and beginning on 19th September, Smith will play five rounds at Renmark Golf Club, then five at Berri the following day, five rounds at Barmera on Wednesday, 90 holes at Loxton on Thursday, then back to Barmera for the final five rounds on Friday 23 September.
“I selected the four Riverland courses, as logistically I was able to get course access. The Riverland and clubs have been so welcoming and they’ve been very supportive in what I need to do.”
Smith, who was a member of northern South Australian Golf Club Jamestown for 5 years in the mid 2000’s is looking to shoot mid-80’s or better each round off his 14 handicap.
“The record itself is not about score, but it’s something I’m just taking on personally, it’s a personal challenge. It was in front of me and I thought I will give it a crack. I just came up with the idea, looked on the internet and realised it was reachable.
“432 was the record and I have nutted it out to minutes and second, basically each hole and each round and what daylight I would need for each day.”
Smith will start each round at 6.15am and continue playing until around 5.30pm. He will aim to play each round in 2hr 20mins.
After losing the initial weight, Smith has slowly been conditioning his body over the past 6 months to get golf-fit.
“In July and August I was using North Adelaide Football Club running up and down the stairs of the grandstand which has helped enormously with fitness. I’ve now extended the stair training to longer distance to sustain a level of consistency.
“In regards to golf, I’ve been playing a few rounds and just been chipping around the golf courses. In the past few weeks, I played 72 holes in a row at Renmark, 54 at Barmera and been working on my fitness, long distance, short sprints, boxing and cardio.”
Smith will have to cover over 150km to complete his challenge and will need to play around 2,125 strokes, a daunting task for even the fittest of individuals.
“It’s not about score, but being consistent with fitness and striking that ball. I hope to be peaking at the right time,” Smith said.
Michael Smith will be raising funds for ‘Kick Start for Kids’ – a charity which helps disadvantaged school children in South Australia, by providing breakfast and lunch programs and a mentoring program.
“I could have done it just off my on back for a personal thing, but thought why not try and help other people out in the process. If you can help one person that’s a good thing, but if you can help multiple people even better. And maybe give back to the community.”
Joining Smith to play his final round at around 3pm on Friday 19 September will be ex Crows Legends Tony Modra and Wayne ‘Weed’ Weidemann. After Smith completes his task a Sportsman’s night is planned with the Crows stars at The Barmera Golf Club to assist in raising further funds for the cause.
Follow the link to support the cause and raise funds for Kick Start for Kids.