The Golf Decathlon's
If ever there were a sign that the golf apocalypse is upon us, it was evident at GolfStyles’ 18th annual Golf Decathlon. It seems you just can’t find many people who want to play 10 rounds in a day anymore. Not that there was ever that many to start with, but there were fields of 24 at one point before dwindling to a fearless four this year. Which is too bad, because 10 laps around Swan Point Yacht & Country Club in Issue, Maryland, is nine more than most get to experience on a very good golf course.
An avid mountaineer will invest $100,000 and two months to climb Mount Everest. Heck, he’ll spend five grand and two weeks to walk up Mt. Kilimanjaro. An avid runner will log 500 miles to prepare for a 26.2-mile run and there are thousands of cyclists who ride 100 miles in a day, and some who ride 500 in a week and some who cross the country in a month. But we can’t get golfers to play 10 stinkin’ rounds in a day at one of the region’s most underrated courses, the lowlands gem that is Swan Point? I don’t know what that says about today’s graying golfers, but just about any of the weekend golfers-as-athletes clichés fits. The economic and participation numbers bear it out: golfers just aren’t as passionate as they used to be.
A previous golf decathlete once noted, “anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” but this event takes that motto to the extreme. Whatever your passion, it is difficult to do it non-stop for 15 hours, give or take a few minutes. Still, the Golf Decathlon goes remarkably quick, once the excruciating rounds of five through seven are complete.
The Guinness Book of World Records doesn’t yet recognize it, but take our word for it, the Golf Decathlon is the world record for most competitive rounds by a multi-player field in a single day. Players hole out 180 times and do not play holes multiple times in the same round as other “marathon” events do. The Golf Decathlon is pure golf, from the first shot at 5:30 a.m. to the last around 8:30 p.m. Players play in twosomes with their own carts. There is no running, really no rushing, but the play is persistently purposeful.
There is a charitable component to the Golf Decathlon and the event has raised nearly $1.5 million since its inception. Regardless of motivation, it’s a lot of golf in one day. Michael Keating, publisher of GolfStyles, has played in all 18 events – some 3,225 holes (15 short of the maximum) – but playing golf is almost his job. What’s more impressive is that Jim Evans just completed his 17th Golf Decathlon and another prolific round of fundraising.
“The Golf Decathlon is one of the events that I look forward to annually,” says Evans, an account executive who sells information technology to the Department of Defense. “I don’t have to do this – I get to do this. The Decathlon fulfills two requirements for me every year – awareness and support of an important charity and a lot of golf.
“I am humbled by the support my friends, family, and industry colleagues have provided to the charities over the past 18 years,” continued Evans. “I know a challenging day at the golf course is far easier and more enjoyable than most challenges that many of the beneficiaries of the various charities are faced with routinely – especially the warfighters. It is a special day that I get to support, and as long as GolfStyles conducts the event I will support it.
“As for the golf competition, if you truly like to play golf, you can do this. It is a true personal challenge.”
Relative newcomers Deborah Dunham and Rowland Dennie rounded out this year’s final four. Dunham, 65 and a geriatric social worker, just completed her fifth Decathlon.
“The Decathlon is an incredible 15-hour test of physical, mental and precision endurance,” says Dunham. “Knowing that so few people, especially women, compete at this level of golf makes it a day of special importance to me.”
Dennie, 49 and president of a landscaping company, also just completed his fifth 10-rounder. “I look forward to this day every summer,” says Dennie. “It’s a good opportunity to raise money for a good cause and play golf all day long – and I mean ALL day long.” [END]
2017 Golf Decathlon
|Swan Point Yacht & CC, June 12, 2017|
|6,058 yards, par 72, 68.9/125|
|Player (Caddie / Volunteer)||Hdcp||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||Total||Net|
|Rowland Dennie, 49, Clarksburg, Md.||11||86||91||85||90||81||95||85||86||87||80||866||756|
|Deborah Dunham, 65, Annandale, Va. (Christina Young)||23||96||96||92||98||91||97||92||93||96||88||939||709|
|Jim Evans, 50, Gainesville, Va.||5||85||77||83||80||79||81||81||79||80||82||807||757|
|Michael Keating, 58, Fairfax, Va. (Kelly Keating)||2||75||72||73||76||75||68||74||74||76||77||740||720|
|For detailed statistics, click on each player's name.|