Lost in the shuffle of early deadlines for Christmas and New Year’s Day, plus Marshfield’s holiday basketball tournament, was an event that impressed me on many levels.
Tim Scott, the executive director of Speedgolf International, played all five courses at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight.
The past few years, the resort has sold out its Summer Solstice event, when golfers play all the courses on the longest day of the year, which is an impressive feat. Scott took things a step further by speedgolfing them all, in an elapsed time of under five hours.
That in itself was noteworthy. That he scored in the mid-80s or better on all four of the regular courses — and shot 6-over on the 13-hole par-3 Bandon Preserve layout also was impressive. Throw in the cause he was playing for and the physical challenge he plays with and it’s downright amazing.
Scott learned in 2012 that he had ocular melanoma, a rare eye cancer. The Dec. 21 event was a fundraiser for the Ocular Melanoma Foundation, and Scott said he is not far from his goal of raising $25,000.
The disease derailed his hopes to make the Champions Tour when he turned 50 last fall, but not his passion for speedgolf.
In his new capacity as executive director for Speedgolf International, an organization he formed with two buddies from high school, he helped coordinate the inaugural Speedgolf World Championships at Bandon Dunes in 2012 and kick-start a tour that now includes several events in the United States and abroad.
But he found it was hard for him to play speedgolf because it made him dizzy. The solution: Wearing an eye patch over his right eye.
I can’t imagine trying to golf with only one eye for depth perception (Scott said it affects him most in bunker play and putting).
And while I love speedgolf, I can’t imagine playing 85 holes in one day that way, especially not at the pace he was going.
Scott took 61 minutes, give or take a few seconds, to play Bandon Trails, Pacific Dunes and Bandon Dunes and 57 minutes on Old Macdonald. Throw in the 24 minutes for Bandon Preserve and he came in well under his goal for time.
“It was kind of easier than I thought it would be,” he said. “I thought it would be tight on the 5-hour thing. That was pleasantly surprising.”
As for his goal of playing 55 holes at par or better, Scott came up about 15 holes short. Still, his scores were good, with each round spoiled by one or two bad holes.
“I drove it really well all four rounds,” he said. “My bunker play and putting were atrocious. I only had four clubs. I can say part of it was (hitting) the 9-iron out of the bunkers.”
The only course where he broke 80 was Bandon Dunes, where he shot 78. He had at least two holes that were triple-bogey or worse on each of the other three courses, and had two lost balls during the day — one at Bandon Trails and one at Old Macdonald.
Scott had praise for the resort and its accommodations, especially Jeff Simonds, who drove along in a cart and helped him find his way around the courses he was least familiar with, giving tips on the best places to hit his drives.
“Jeff Simonds was great,” he said. “He really helped me out those first two rounds.”
Scott also thanked his wife, Lori Fillman, who followed him every step of the way — the five rounds totaled about 21.5 miles.
Oomba.TV, which broadcast the Speedgolf World Championships online last fall, sent a crew to document the event.
And even if the donations to the Ocular Melanoma Foundation don’t reach $25,000, Scott still considers the day a big success.
“I met my goal time wise,” he said. “I think we did meet the goal awareness wise. It got out to a lot of people.”