When I sent out the last ‘Fat Kid Dairies’ newsletter well over a year ago, post the end of the African bicycle ride, I’d never imagine I’d be sending out another, especially with ‘The Longest Hole in golf’ in the title!
Anyway, I’ve learnt that life’s meant to be an adventure, and my frame of reference as to what is possible has certainly changed over the years, so when a mate suggests taking set of golf clubs, and playing golf across Mongolia (literally, across the mountains, rivers, desserts, and plains of one of the most sparsely populated countries on the planet), my initial reaction was, “brilliant, when do we start?!” And the answer to that question is next week, on 29th June to be precise.
So apologies for hijacking the Fat Diaries mailing list, but I do get a lot of questions asking what I’ve been up to since the end of the ride, and ‘what next?’, so thought I’d take the liberty of sharing the details of The Longest Hole, and sending the very odd update via this channel. I have also taken the liberty of adding a few new names to the list, of people I have engaged with recently in regard to this Mongolian expedition, and at various talks I’ve given etc, so please do feel free to unsubscribe yourself should these mails be of no interest, and I apologise for the inconvenience, and promise not to worry you again!
In short, Adam Rolston (an old rugby friend of mine from Hong Kong) and I, are attempting a world record for the longest completed hole in golf…more specifically Adam will be playing the golf, and I’ll be the caddie (playing to our respective strengths!), as we walk some 1,850km from the most western point in Mongolia to the 18th green of the Mt Bogd Golf and Ski club, the one and only golf course of any significance in Mongolia, which lies just outside the capital of Ulaanbaatar.
We’ll be playing the entire route as one single golf hole, and completely within the spirit and laws of the game, which means teeing off at the start, playing the ball as it lies all the way, and putting out at the end. And thanks to the very clever folks at Dimension Data, every shot, including penalty shots for lost balls etc (estimated at 400!) will be recorded via GPS on an especially developed app on Adam’s phone, and sent live to our website at www.thelongesthole.com – the estimated par by the way is 14,000!
To add golfing ‘legitimacy’ to our challenge, we are honoured and delighted to have official endorsement from the European Tour, the Sunshine Tour, and of course the Mongolian Golfing Association, and thanks to the European Tour for recognising our hole an official ‘golf hole’, we are able to genuinely lay claim to the longest hole played in golf – never imagined setting any golfing records in my life, but there you go!
At a relentless required pace of over 25km every day to ensure we complete the challenge before our visas expire, towing a cart like a pack horse with all our camping gear, water, food, golf equipment etc, over every terrain imaginable, and through what promises to be freezing temperatures in the beginning mountain section, to the summer heat of the Gobi desert, and the slight inconvenience of the wet season throughout, this will undoubtedly be the most physically demanding challenge I’ve set myself, but we’ve been training hard, and quietly hopeful that with sheer grit and determination (i.e. pig headedness), we’ll get through it if the stars are so aligned!
(On the same website there is a link to a wonderfully produced 3 min video that the insanely talented Andrew King filmed during our recce trip back in April that gives a small insight into what we have in store for us – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdRBHWdKx-g )
It’s also been the hardest project I’ve ever had to plan…the level of detail required and planning needed to give ourselves the best chance of success has been nothing short of immense!
But adding to our sense of purpose to this all, and giving us the motivation during the hard times in particular, is the fact that at the very core of why we are doing what we are doing, is that we are raising funds for the incredible work done by Laureus Sport for Good, who support over 100 programmes which use sport to make social change in around 40 countries around the world, and another organisation that they work closely with, who focus on golf development, the SA Golf Development Board. Being passionate about sport and adventure and ‘doing good’, we like to believe it’s a perfect fit!
And you’ve probably guessed by now, if you’re keen to get involved in our fundraising efforts, and own your own piece of, dare we say, golfing history, please visit our website www.thelongesthole.com where you will find details of how to ‘buy a ball’. Each of the 400 balls that TaylorMade have generously sponsored us are individually numbered, and as each ball is played, the owner will receive a real time alert that their ball is in play, and an email once it meets it’s inevitable end I’m afraid, detailing exactly the number of shots it survived, as well as the distance and exact segment of the hole it covered – pretty cool stuff if you ask me! And as a bonus, there will be some great prizes to be won! We’re hoping to have at least the first 100 balls sold before we depart, so please feel free to share the details far and wide!!
100% of all proceeds go to directly to Laureus and the SAGDB, and although there is a recommended donation of $50-$100/ball, please donate whatever you feel comfortable with (either side of that range!!)…most important for us is to have people join us on the journey and have a stake in our hopeful success, and obviously we’re super grateful for any support given to our fundraising efforts, and as always to all our sponsors and partners, and every single person who has helped get us to the start line…it’s an exciting time ahead, and we’re delighted to have so many good people on our team.
Please stay tuned to our website and the social media channels detailed therein for updates on our progress, further ways to get involved down the line (in particular the opportunity to come to Mongolia in mid September for a golfing adventure second to none), and generally stay in touch.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to learn a little bit about The Longest Hole.
Have an amazing day,