It looks like the data has been processed and you can zoom around the Ballyneal site in 3D below. Very cool!
"Changing the world one divot at a time..."
4 for 40
Pinehurst. Ballyneal. Cabot Links. St. Andrews. A trip of a lifetime for a worthy cause.
Welcome to Husker Dunes Golf Club, my foray into fake golf course design.
The Ben Cox 108+
Photos and recap on a great day at Ballyneal, raising money for a great cause...
Never thought I'd see the day...
Can you guess how I fared on this U.S. Open test?
The Definitive Guide to Chicago's Best Public Golf Courses
Check out our ranking of the best Chicago public golf courses...
Jim connects with his roots during three days in beautiful Northern California...
The Ballynizzle Cup
Check out Part One of the Ryder Cup showdown between Team Coltrain and Team Jefe...
The Bucket List
The Triumvirate checks off one of the courses they've been dying to play in a truly once in a lifetime experience...
The Kingsley Club
Check out the triumvirates visit to Mike Devries incredible course in Northern Michigan...
Tang vs. Tang: One for the Ages
Check out the (extremely) detailed hole-by-hole action of the 2008 Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, a truly epic match between the brothers Tang...
It looks like the data has been processed and you can zoom around the Ballyneal site in 3D below. Very cool!
Just this past week, the beta version of my course, Chop Hills Golf Club, is available on Perfect Golf for user testing. It's probably 98% complete, with just some tweaks to the look and feel of the native grasses and bunker refinement. The shapes of the holes and green contours are all good to go.
If you have any interest in playing this virtual Doak 10 (ok, maybe Doak 9), then you'll need to set up an account on Steam and purchase the early access version of Perfect Golf for $20. Then I can provide you instructions on how to get the Chop Hills course added to your course list. They also have real courses like Sebonack, TPC Sawgrass, Medinah and others with the game.
I hope to see you on the first tee...
(ignore the tee markers)
|Earlier version of the routing. #2 was changed to a par 5, orientation of #16 fairway changed as well|
|1st Hole - 412 Yd, Par 4|
|2nd Hole, 560 Yd Par 5|
|2nd Hole, Lay-up Approach|
|3rd Hole, 366 Yd Par 4|
|4th Hole, 213 Yd Par 3|
|5th Hole, 518 Yd Par 4|
|6th Hole, 550 Yd Par 5|
|7th Hole, 145 Yd Par 3 (Alt Tee)|
|7th Hole, Main Tee|
|8th Hole, 452 Yd Par 4|
|9th Hole, 439 Yd Par 4|
|10th Hole, 577 Yd Par 5|
|10th Hole, 2nd Shot|
|11th Hole, 185 Yd Par 3|
|12th Hole, 317 Yd Par 4|
|12th Hole Approach|
|13th Hole, 419 Yd Par 4|
|14th Hole, 443 Yd Par 4|
|15th Hole, 218 Yd Par 3|
|16th Hole, 436 Yd Par 4|
|17th Hole, 581 Yd Par 5|
|18th Hole, 523 Yd Par 4|
"You just got a 'game ball' from Matty G on MorningDrive. Nice work!"
That made an otherwise pretty nondescript work day pretty unique. Later that afternoon, the video was posted. Out of the blue, Matt Ginella decided to highlight the work that we've been doing since 2011 to raise money for charity and impact lives through nothing more than a love for the game and a desire to walk an insane amount of holes in a day.
Watching the video, my first reaction was, "how do I get one of those giant foam golf balls?". My next reaction was the reality sinking in on how far we've come since 2011, when this idea started through the Ben Cox marathon. Four year laters, over 250 golfers have walked 100 or more holes in a day, and the amount raised is approaching $2 million. It's been a tremendous blessing to me and my family to be a part of it and see the steady growth.
Three weeks ago, I participated in my seventh Hundred Hole Hike, again at Ballyneal. I ended up pushing my hike back a week so I can help out and caddy for my fellow Ballyneal hikers a week earlier (read: I was out of shape and felt caddying 100 holes would be good training). It turned out to be a good decision as I walked 108 that first week (caddied 90, then played a late afternoon 18 with hiker Brandon Urban, urging him to push past 126 holes and go for 144).
Last year's hike was a personal grind as I was dealing with ankle issues, work stress and poor play. I finished 144 holes before rain came in and ended my day. But my family was there to greet me on hole 144, and I was overcome with emotion on that 18th fairway.
There were no tears of joy, pain or otherwise this year. If I had to summarize my hike in one word, it would be: fun. I had a blast playing and walking 100+ holes on a cool, overcast day at one of my favorite courses in the world. Once again, I was able to get to my target number of 155 holes, with relative ease and some daylight to spare.
Time really does fly when you are having fun. This is especially useful when you are walking 45 miles over a 15 1/2 stretch. I started a few minutes before first light, hitting a tee shot at 4:48 AM with a yellow ball that was topped down the fairway. The last putt was dropped at 8:45 PM. There were 717 shots (some bad, but mostly good), 88,000 steps and even more pleasant memories in between.
Having two caddies throughout was a huge plus, not just for finding wayward shots and carrying my eight clubs, but just for sanity's sake. Tyler and Chris powered through for the first half of the hike. Adam and ONeal took me home from Round 5 to the end.
Props to @RheinosRreal for looping first 4 rounds of my @100holehike 93, 1 birdie. 1:38. http://t.co/U2PLsBc9l9 pic.twitter.com/HW3vAije4t— J Colton (@jcolton31) July 6, 2015
[And I have to mention my caddy for one shot, Ballyneal celebrity caddie and friend Charlie Mulligan. He came out during my sixth round and took some pictures for his blog: He came at just the right time too, as I was hitting the ball pretty well (before falling apart on the back nine). I nearly aced the third hole with Charlie snapping away atop the dune behind the hole. On the 7th hole, I had a 20-foot birdie putt and asked Charlie to come down and give me a read. Wouldn't you know it, he got the double break just right and I rammed it in. Thanks Charlie! Check out Charlie's recap of the round here: http://ballynealcaddy.blogspot.com/2015/07/hundred-hole-hike-762015.html]
Once again, my family was with me for the journey. By the late afternoon, the Colton Five and the two caddies were literally the only people on the property. This was a golf dream come true.
After playing 153 holes by myself while blitzing through a handful of groups (some twice in their same round), I made the turn and ran into this foursome of golf misfits that just wouldn't let me play through!
If you can't pass em, join em. I played the last two holes as a fivesome, going from four minutes a hole to twenty-four minutes a hole. But it was all good. Besides, somebody has to hold up the 1-5-5 at the end:
All in all, it was a great and memorable day. And thanks in part to 12 birdies and a special bonus for reaching 155 holes, I was able to raise over $11,000 for my two caddie-driven charities, the Evans Scholarship Foundation and the Solich Caddie & Leadership academy.
There is still time to give. You can pledge for me or any of the 80+ hikers through the "pledge thru me" on their golfer profile page. 100% of the donations go directly to the charities involved.
And of course, I'd love to have you involved in the fun next year. Please consider joining the army of hikers in 2016. You can email me at email@example.com for more information. As my 8-year old loves to say, let's "take it to a-no-ther LEV-EL!"
Hundred Hole Hike by the Numbers
155 holes (8 rounds + 11 holes)
Start time: 4:48 AM
End time: 8:15 PM
Total time beginning to end: 15:27 (5 min, 59 sec per hole)
Total time golfing: 13:34 (5 min, 2 sec per hole)
Fastest round: 1:24 (x2)
Slowest Round: 1:43
Avg Round: 1:34
Scoring Avg: 83.5 (41.1 front, 42.4 back)
Eagles: 0 frown emoticon
Balls Lost: 5
Three-putts: ~188 smile emoticon
Best Ball score: 64
Worst Ball score: 106
17 (par 4): 5.63 (5-7-4-5-6-6-6-6)
12 (par 4): 5.25 (5-6-5-7-5-4-4-6)
10 (par 4): 5.22 (5-6-6-5-5-5-5-5-5)
2 (par 4): 5.11 (5-6-6-4-4-5-5-6-5)
11 (par 3): 2.78 (3-3-3-2-3-3-2-3-3)
16 (par 5): 5.00 (5-5-6-6-5-5-4-4)
6 (par 4): 4.11 (3-4-5-4-5-4-4-4-4)
4 (par 5): 5.25 (5-7-7-5-4-4-5-5-5)
Money raised: >$11,000
|Design Variety||vs.||Conditioning (Correlation: .4433)|
|Fishers Island ||1||The Quarry at La Quinta |
|Pebble Beach ||2||Diamond Creek Golf Club |
|TPC Sawgrass (Players) ||3||Double Eagle |
|Pacific Dunes ||4||Baltusrol (Lower) |
|Cypress Point ||5||The Alotian Club |
|Pete Dye Golf Club ||6||Aronimink |
|Bethpage Black ||7||Eagle Point |
|Maidstone Club ||8||Canyata |
|Somerset Hills ||9||Baltusrol (Upper) |
|Pine Valley ||10||Butler National |
|Routing, as of 12/28/2014|
|Initial Routing, as of 12/24/2014|
I was floored. That's when the wave of emotions hit me. Walking up the fairway, I thought about how this almost didn't happen. I thought about about the brain HAD conquered the pain. I thought about how this little grassroots golf marathon idea has raised $1.4 million in four years and has made a real impact on people in need. Most of all, I thought about the hug I was about to get from three rugrats and the kiss from one beautiful, supportive woman.
#hackgolf The game has shrunk because carts wiped out a generation of future die-hards. Need to support young caddie programs. @hackgolforgFour months later, my stance hasn't changed. I caddied one summer at St. Charles Country Club outside of Chicago. My love of the game was cemented on Monday mornings that year. Many of my best golfing friends were introduced to the game in the same way. Some of these guys didn't have parents who played and never would've been exposed to the game otherwise.
— J Colton (@jcolton31) January 22, 2014
More subtly and perhaps more importantly, caddying at a private club exposed me to a world that I was completely unfamiliar with. St. Charles CC was by far the nicest place I had ever set foot on in my life. Suddenly, I was faced with having to interact and have semi-intelligent conversation with successful adults on a regular basis. Some of that must've had an impact on me. That last point is probably even more important today, considering a 13-year old kid could go a whole week without making eye contact with anybody.
The truth was, I was a miserable caddy. I was hooked on playing the game to such an extreme that watching others play golf for four hours was torture. Especially getting up at 5:30 AM to do it. I only lasted one summer, but I was hooked with the game for life. But I can look back at caddying that summer and say it was a life-altering experience that in many ways shaped who I am today.
Over the past two years, I had been thinking quite a bit about how to grow the game and wondering if there was a way to use my One Divot charity to support these growth efforts. Last winter, we sponsored an auction fundraiser and raised over $18,000 for the Midnight Golf program in Detroit. I continue to seek out those types of opportunities to partner with junior golf programs. Personally, I am also looking to start a junior golf club at the middle school in town, something that received an enthusiastic response from the faculty members that I brought the idea to. Hopefully we can get that up and running next fall.
Still, the majority of my recent grow the game thoughts have centered on the caddies. If the rise of carts and the decline of caddies is a root cause of the decline of the game, is there a way to reverse that trend? Is the horse already out of the proverbial cart barn (sorry)? Are U.S. golfers so far gone the proverbial cart path (last time, I swear) that there's no turning back? Are courses today so overwatered and expensive to maintain that they absolutely need the cart revenue to survive? Is anybody in the golf industry willing to invest in an initiative that might take 15 years before it starts paying off?
I am fortunate to live in Chicago, the epicenter of caddie golf in the U.S. Thanks to the work of the Western Golf Association and the Evans Scholarship Foundation, the caddie-club culture is still going strong here. I was thrilled to do my four Hundred Hole Hikes last summer for both the Evans Scholars here and the Solich Caddie and Leadership Academy in Denver last year, and I'm planning to hike for the same two causes again this summer (see http://hundredholehike.com/golfers/jim-colton for more information).
Last summer, I got to spend some time with members of the WGA and meet some prospective Evans Scholars at Cantigny Golf Course in my hometown. I got to see the great work that the WGA is doing and how it is literally changing the lives of those who get the scholarship. I knew I wanted to hike for the Evans Scholarship and help in any way that I could.
There was one other thought that I came away with that day: what about the caddies that don't get the Evans Scholarships? What happens to them?
That might seems like a negative take on the WGA, but I don't intend it to be. They have limited spots and go through a rigorous process to select the most deserving candidates. I'm sure there are young men and women that they agonize over having to turn down. I couldn't help but think about the kid whose only real hopes for college were pinned to getting the Evans Scholarship. What if he or she felt short? Was there a way to help someone like that, or more generally, help caddies save money for college?
That is when I landed on my idea for #hackgolf: Caddie529
As its name suggests, Caddie529 would be a 529 college savings plan geared for caddies. Essentially, it is a way for caddies to decide to set aside a portion of their caddie fees to go directly into a 529 savings plan. A few key points:
- For the caddie, it is a public declaration that the he or she is serious about investing the future.
- Golfers/members can request a "529" caddie for loops and know that they are likely getting someone who is responsible and committed, as well as knowing that some or all of the fee that they are paying will go directly into a college savings fund. Maybe knowing the money is going to a good cause leads a golfer to try walking with a caddie instead of automatically taking a cart. Maybe that golfer realizes that he can, in fact, walk 18 holes and enjoy it. Anything that could lead to more golfers walking is a plus in my book.
- The program would have to start at the club level -- club's could differentiate their caddie programs and attract responsible young caddies by being a part of the caddie529 network.
- Some percentage of funds set aside by the caddies would ideally by matched by the caddie's home club, One Divot and corporate sponsors, offering return on investment right off the bat. The club could set aside a fundraising day geared towards raising money for matching funds for its caddies -- either a Hundred Hole Hike, charity outing, auction, or other fundraising method. 100% of the money raised by a given club would be distributed to its caddies. Centrally-raised funds would be distributed to all caddies on a pro-rata basis.
- The program would not compete with the Evans Scholars, as someone who is awarded an Evans Scholars could use funds for a 5th year in college or for graduate school studies. 529 funds can also be transferred to other beneficiaries.
- One key aspect of 529 plans is they can be used for a wide range of post high-school education programs, such as trade schools or technical schools. Similarly, Caddie529 could be used by anyone looking to invest in his or her future.
- I'm a firm believer in a good logo. This is what I scratched together -- the 5,2,9 is meant to represent the look of blade irons as a caddy is presenting them to his golfer (though no caddie worth his salt would have those three clubs next to each other). The caddie part would look like that old cursive script you'd see stamped on irons from the 60's and 70's.
- Is it caddie529 or caddy529?
One big draw that I see with caddying is that it offers one of the earliest opportunities for young people to work, with most starting at or around 13 years of age. With respect to college savings, obviously the earlier someone starts the better. Hopefully families are already saving for their kid's education, but for some caddie529 participants, it could be their first foray into investing and financial management. There would seem to be a good opportunity to partner with organizations or financial institutions to teach these young men and women about financial literacy.
If the club and corporate matches are significant, I could envision a big push (perhaps by parents, but that's okay) into caddying as an employment option. Some portion of those new caddies are going to fall in love with the game. Some may be future members of the clubs that they caddie at. Hopefully clubs can take the long-view and get behind this concept.
The idea is admittedly still in its infancy and there are questions about how it would work logistically and how to structure it in order to take advantage of the tax benefits already inherent with 529 plans. I honestly do not have the expertise or the resources to take this idea to the next level. One aspect of the #hackgolf initiative that I did enjoy is the open-source format of it. Instead of sitting on this idea and trying to find time to make progress on it, I'm hoping that brainstorming about it here might lead to someone running with the idea and bringing it to fruition. I'm happy to discuss any thoughts on this idea -- you can comment below or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
|Final routing, 8/21 Update|
|12/3 Update: David McLay Kidd was selected to design the second course at Sand Valley. The northern section of his course cuts across the middle of my propose routing.|
|Routing 2.0, 4/29 Update|
|Original Routing 4/26|
Hundred Hole Hike
|The Hundred Hole Hike (HHH) is a national-network of golf marathons where participants plan to walk 100 or more holes of golf in one day in order to raise money for various worthwhile charitable causes. Please go to http://www.hundredholehike.com/ for more details.|
Chicago Public Course Rankings
My Course Rankings
2. National Golf Links of America
3. St. Andrews (Old)
4. Cypress Point
6. Shinnecock Hills
7. Royal Dornoch
9. Merion (East)
10. Pacific Dunes
One Divot at a Time...
My Blog List
[Note: Rankings have been updated September 12, 2011 with feedback from an expert panel of a dozen fellow Chicago golf addicts.] We've...
The only time "Jim Colton" and "Ivy League" have been used in the same sentence. A quick detour from My Summer of ...
Last updated: February 5, 2011 Click links to find relevant blog posts. Rank JIM JEFE JIMBO 1. Ballyneal Pacific Dunes Royal County Do...
Here are some pics from Wednesday's golf marathon. It was a fun and memorable day. I didn't really know what to expect, but I k...
Watching the bloodbath that was Saturday at Augusta this year, I couldn't help but ask myself the same question that was going through m...
Below is a copy of a press release that our friends at Ballyneal sent out about The Ben Cox 108: HOLYOKE, CO -- On June 20...
Wegoblogger31 is a proud contributor to the new Golf Blog 100, which just launched its site and its ranking of the Top 100 golf courses in t...
Even now that the Ben Cox 108+ hole marathon is over, you can still donate now and get into the July 9th raffle. You just need to get you...
Warning: Wegoblogger Is An Extremely Difficult Blog Which I Recommend Only for Highly-Skilled Readers A promise to all of my loyal blo...
I'm going back to Bandon, To Bandon, To Bandon, I'm going back to Bandon... I don't think so. Two days ago, I had managed...
Golf Blog 100
The Ben Cox 108-Hole Golf Marathon
What: A 108-golf marathon to raise money for Ben Cox, a Ballyneal caddie who was paralyzed from a severe skiing accident in March.
When: June 22, 2011 (update)
Where: Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club - Holyoke, CO
How to Give:
Send a check payable to: Prairie Home Baptist Church (memo: Ballyneal fundraiser)
P.O. Box 271
Haxtun, CO 80731
- Holyoke Enterprise: "Ballyneal member aims to help Cox family"
- Cybergolf: "Ballyneal Member Invites Others to Join 108-Hole Fundraiser"
- Omaha World Herald: Golf Notes (5/31)
- Radio interview on 104.3 The Fan in Denver (6/18)
- Colorado Avid Golfer: "Golfer's Charitable Marathon Could Get You on Riviera" (6/24)
- Golf Channel: "W18: Patience and Perspective" (6/27)
- Golf World Monday: "Marathon Man" (6/27)
- Holyoke Enterprise: "The Ben Cox 108 (give or take 47) climbs beyond $77,000" (6/30)
- Chicago Tribune: "All-day golf event raises more than $100,000 for paralyzed caddie" (7/8)