|The Ben Cox 108 (give or take 47) climbs beyond $77,000|
|Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt|
You heard it right—155 holes of golf in one day.
That’s more than eight and a half rounds of golf, and Ballyneal member Jim Colton accomplished that Wednesday, June 22, far surpassing his goal of 108 holes.
The whole 108-hole idea came out of Colton’s desire to reclaim the most holes in a day record at Ballyneal. Caddie Nick Flaa and assistant pro Gary Nelson played 100 holes a year ago, on June 28, 2010.
But the 108-hole day didn’t transpire last summer and was put on hold for Flaa and Nelson’s record to stand firm.
When Colton, from Wheaton, Ill., learned this spring about five-star caddie Ben Cox’s March 17 skiing accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down, he set the 108-hole benefit in motion.
When Colton sent out a blast e-mail about the Cox golf benefit to his closest golfing friends and guys he had previously hosted at Ballyneal, he was hoping to raise maybe $2,500 to help out the Cox family.
With more than $77,000 raised as of early this week, that goal has been surpassed 30 times. “I had no idea it would explode to be what it is now,” said Colton.
Colton finished the 108th hole at Ballyneal by 3:35 p.m., and the question then became “How many more can he get in today?”
When sunset officially hit around 8:19 p.m., Colton was on the fourth hole of his ninth round (hole #148). His blog notes they had to scurry around quickly just to complete the front nine.
“Thankfully, the night was clear and I was hitting only 4-irons off the eighth and ninth tees anyways, which made the ball that much easier to locate,” said the dedicated golfer.
“We had no issues seeing the ball on the 152nd and 153rd holes, so we decided to keep going,” Colton added.
“I just used a 4-iron on the tee on #10, playing it as a three-shotter. Tap-in bogey there, pitching wedge up into the dark, but clear sky to just right of the elevated 11th green. Made a nice two and a half footer there for par and that was that.”
47 holes beyond the 108 goal.
“I will probably never qualify for a USGA (U.S. Golf Association) event, and I may never win a club championship,” said Colton.
“So this event is really the crowning achievement of my golfing life, and probably the most significant thing I’ve ever been a part of. To use my passion for the game of golf to help better a friend’s life is really a neat thing, and something I strive to do more of in the future.”
Colton shared a Father’s Day to remember on June 19 when he golfed two holes with Ben and his father Kenneth at Ballyneal. A specially-designed golf cart was brought in for Ben’s use, and Colton’s blog captures the experience of the day well.
His admiration for the father-son relationship and the whole Cox family is crystal clear. His blog can be accessed at www.wegoblogger31.com.
Benefit funds keep growing
Because of per-hole pledges and bonus kickers that folks had pledged for holes beyond 108, the extra 47 holes added over $10,000 to the cause, Colton noted on his blog.
Fund raising for the Cox benefit continues as pledges keep coming in. A tremendous raffle with opportunities to golf at top courses as prizes will be conducted July 9 at Ballyneal.
Those wishing to donate to the Cox benefit can send checks payable to Prairie Home Baptist Church (memo: Ballyneal fundraiser), P.O. Box 271, Haxtun, CO 80731. Donations need to be received by July 8 to be eligible for the raffle. Donors are asked to e-mail Colton, as well, so he can keep tabs for the raffle.
Cox, who will be 24 this summer, was scheduled to return to his home in Haxtun this week after spending time at Craig Rehabilitation in Englewood.
It is his plan to return to Texas Tech in January to finish his last two semesters needed for his civil engineering degree.
Colton walks 45 miles in his 155-hole golf venture
With one round of golf at Ballyneal calculated at approximately 5.25 miles, Colton walked more than 45 miles last Wednesday.
“It was truly a fun and memorable day,” Colton said this week. “We were so determined to get in as many holes as possible to help the Cox family that I think that canceled out any pain in my feet or legs.”
Colton praised the support from staff and members at Ballyneal. “Most rooted me on, and I was playing through them for the second or third time of the day.”
Having head pro Matt Payne and assistant pro Brian Carruthers on the bag as caddies for most of the day made it that much more special, said Colton.
Originally planning to keep meticulous stats on fairways hit, GIRs (green in regulation), putts, lost balls and number of times each club was used, Colton chose to scrap that plan after 11 holes when it was apparent he was playing way too fast to stop and write numbers on a scorecard.
He stuck with 10 clubs, which he said helped a lot because it was usually obvious which club to use in any situation.
When trying to play fast, Colton said putting was the first thing to go. “If it wasn’t a birdie putt, I spent about three nanoseconds lining it up.”
So the 82-84s were all rounds in the 70s under normal playind conditions—at least that’s the story he’s going with!
Round 1 was Colton’s quickest round, in one hour and 27 minutes. The longest was Round 6 at an hour and 54 minutes.
He had 725 total strokes, which was 113 over par for the day—not bad for a day focused on quantity, not score.
During the day, Colton managed 12 birdies, 49 pars, 67 bogeys, 23 double bogeys, three triple bogeys and one quintuple bogey.
“One interesting dichotomy I thought about leading up to this event was the fact I was walking 45-plus miles to raise money for a kid who may never walk again,” said Colton on his blog.
“How could I possibly complain about the pain in my knees or my legs? How could I complain about a duck-hooked drive into the yucca? I got to do the one thing I love to do more than anything for 16 hours straight on a Wednesday!
“My prayer is that Ben is someday able to feel the pain that I’m feeling right now. Maybe this event and this raffle will help make that prayer a reality. I selfishly pray I’m right there next to him when it does,” said Colton.
Holyoke Enterprise June 30, 2011