Is it possible to play golf for 24 straight hours?

I pondered that question as the days and hours and minutes approached our 5:30 pm tee time.  Let’s back the story up a bit. 

Brian and Ryan are two PGA Golf Professionals at Prestonwood Country Club.  For seven years, they’ve completed golf marathons to benefit Folds of Honor.  The past three, they played golf for 24 hours straight during the SAS Championship.

This go around, they wanted to raise the stakes and turn the marathon into a 24 Hour match. 

Brian hit up Luke and asked if there was interest in a 4-ball battle between “The Prestonwood Patriots + The Golf Homies.” 

“We had to find someone crazy,” Brian said. He continued, “the kicker was y’alls bike trip last year … (we knew) these guys have the capacity to make bad decisions.”

Luke asked me to be his partner, and always down for a new experience, I said yes.

The test ahead started to sink in during our first planning meeting with the Octagon / SAS Championship team.  We would tee off at 5:30 pm Friday during the Food Truck Rodeo, and continue to swing the sticks until 5:30 pm Saturday. 

 Only a few weeks out from the day (and night, and day), I had to figure out how to prepare.  Do I work on my golf game, alter my sleep schedule, a little of both?

Left to Right -- Brian + Ryan (The Patriots), Pat + Luke (Golf Homies)

Friday afternoon of Oct. 12 came quickly.  It was 5:16 pm.  On the range, Kirk Triplett approached Luke and I while we warmed up.  He stated, “can I see your ID’s?… You don’t look above 50,” and burst into a wide grin.  

Paul Goydos perked up, turned around, and looked at Luke.

“Why are you hitting a persimmon wood?” 

Luke laughed and replied, “it’s the only thing I can hit straight right now.”

After warming up, we made our way back through the Food Truck Rodeo crowd, heading to the first tee.  Spectators crowded around as we shook hands + lined up to hit our shots.

As my name was called over the loudspeaker, “California Love” played in the background and I addressed my ball.  

The nerves that I thought would appear were nonexistent (thank god).  I stepped up with the big dog and let her rip.  Time slowed — it was surreal to watch my ball curve from right to left, flying down the fairway.  We were off for 24 hours.

Team Lie + Loft won the first hole to pick up an early lead and held it through Holes 2 + 3 on the SAS Championship course.  Luke turned and said, “there’s a lot of golf to be played pardsy, let’s keep the pedal down.”

As darkness approached, the 4 of us moved over to The Fairways. where we created a night course of glow sticks + light sabers on Holes 1 (Par 4), 2 (Par 3), and 3 (Par 5).  We swapped in our “Glow V1” golf balls; this would be home for the night.

Our lead hovered around 2-up during the hours I’d normally be fast asleep.  I felt like I was on autopilot.  Members and staff followed us at all hours, our buddy Joe came through, all cheering us on.  Holes added up as did layers of clothing; the temps turned slightly chilly. 

Before I knew it, the sun poked her head, and with it a boost of energy.  Luke and my tee shots sat in the dew filled fairway when we heard a holler from OB left; a member was calling us over from his fenced backyard.  

He presented homemade biscuits + gravy, hot out of the oven, and Molly, a friendly yellow lab, came to say hello with her tail wagging with affection… gotta love southern hospitality. With a full stomach and dog hair on my pants, we pressed on.

Then, Team Prestonwood caught fire. We went from 3 up to 2 down in a 12 hole span. Morale was dragging on no sleep and our game stagnant. Something had to change.

All night I hit a 3-iron off #1, a 350 yard par-4, to keep it in the fairway. This time around, I pulled driver and put a move on it.  Maybe it was luck, maybe it was a mad swing, but I drove the ball to the back of the green. A two-putt for the birdie won the hole.

We tied the next. I put another good swing on #3.  It was a Par 5, and I found myself 175 yards out. I hit a solid approach, 20 feet left for eagle, and buried the putt.

Luke and I had our momentum back. We proceeded to go 6-under as a team in the next 9 holes to go 2-up on the Patriots.  The lead hovered around 2-up through Saturday afternoon.

Fast forward to an hour to go – we had a 1-up lead.  At that point, we’d been playing for 23 hours straight.  The plan was to play 2 more holes on the Fairways loop, then would move over to the SAS Championship course to finish on 17 + 18, following in the last group of the tournament (4 holes left total). 

With most of the Patriots birdies coming from Ryan on #3 (the hole at hand), we knew we needed a good hole. It didn’t happen; we missed our birdie putts and Ryan birdied #3 again to make the match all square.

Three holes left, and we were back at #1, a 350-yard Par 4. Ryan blocked his drive about 100 yards right onto the #3, Brian drew his slightly left. 

There was our opening.  I knew it was time to try something special again with the driver.  My swing thought was “be patient.”

I hit my best drive of the day. The ball soared to the front of the green, bounced to pin-high, about 35 feet from the hole.  

Ryan, from the adjacent fairway, safely steered his approach shot onto the green, about 30 feet away. I two-putted for birdie and couldn’t help but think ‘1 hole lead, Team Lie + Loft, heading into the final 2 holes.’

Ryan rolled his in from 30, draining his birdie putt on top of mine.  Incredible.  Match all square through 91 holes and too many hours to count.

We drove over to the tee box of 17 and fell in-line behind Bernard Langer’s group as he wrapped up his Saturday round. 

Number 17 is a 500-ish yard Par 5, reachable in two with a couple good shots.  Grandstands framed the green, spectators waiting.

It got pretty ugly off the tee for L+L.  I hooked it left and Luke drove his ball straight into a pine shrub, deeply suspended two feet off the ground (was unreal!).  After his drop, we both scraped our way to the green and missed our par putts.  Team Patriots won the hole, the match now dormie, Brian + Ryan advantage, as we headed into our last hole of the 24 hours.

On the tee of #18 we stared down a short yet narrow Par 4.  It curved slightly to the right, with big fairway bunkers covering the left, and the tallest pines I’ve ever seen blocking the right. 

The Patriots putt one ball drive in the fairway and one the fairway bunker. Luke went right off the tee and my drive bounced through the fairway into the rough. I had 138 yards to a tucked right pin. I played my shot to the center of the green and it took a massive hop; I had about 40 feet to the hole. 

The nerves I didn’t feel on Hole 1 came on in full force. I left my birdie putt 12 feet short, and with gasps coming from the grandstands I knew this match could be over; Ryan had a birdie try remaining (albeit a long distance, but that hadn’t stopped him yet).  Shockingly, he missed, then missed his comebacker, made bogie, and opened the door.

Luke cleaned up his putt, came over and said, “bro, if you make this, we win the hole … let’s go.”  I flashbacked to Tiger Woods ’08 days on the PS2, and tried to see the line of the ball going in. I took two practice strokes, set up to the ball, arced the club head back and through.  With roll over roll, the ball disappeared over the front edge.

A big fist pump and high fives all around, the 24 hour match ended in a tie.  My question was answered: it is possible to play golf for 24 straight hours, and it’s worth every minute.

This 24 Hour Match raised more than $20,000 for Folds of Honor and we couldn’t be more grateful for everyone who supported us + the event.

A long slumber followed after pictures of this motley crew...  // #golfishome


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