Kimball perseveres through 324 holes for Folds of Honor

Sep. 03, 2013 @ 10:17 PM

The legend of Karl Kimball grew some more over the past 24 hours.

Of course, he would tell you that it’s not about him.
At 6:05 p.m. Tuesday, Kimball triple-bogeyed the 18th hole at Hillandale Golf Course to finish off 324 holes of golf in 24 hours.
That was short of his 350-hole goal, but if somebody’s counting, then that particular stickler just doesn’t get it.
A year ago, Kimball, the director of golf at Hillandale, put the ball in the cup 334 times while scurrying from hole to hole during his third 24-hour golf marathon, raising $10,100 for the Folds of Honor Foundation to provide scholarships to spouses and children of military members who have been killed or wounded.
Folds of Honor was founded by Maj. Dan Rooney, a PGA Professional and an F-16 pilot who did three tours in Iraq. A major fundraiser for the foundation is Patriot Golf Day that encourages golfers to donate during Labor Day weekend.
Kimball’s goal this time was $25,000. He wasn’t sure where he stood with that but was grateful for those who contributed, including the folks who showed up overnight to give money.
Golfers on the course marveled at Kimball, who on Tuesday was hitting the ball as long and as strong as they were with more rest.
Barreling down the fairways in a golf cart driven by his caddy, Old Glory attached to the vehicle and flapping in the wind, Kimball would charge to the next tee box. Those on the course respected his presence the way folks show deference to flag-draped coffins.
Kimball said quitting never was an option during the golf marathon, not after pep talks from a special group of individuals.
“I went down our Fairway of Honor,” Kimball said, his voice quivering, referring to a memorial site at Hillandale. “You get it then.
“We have 185 names of North Carolina’s fallen out there. It took us five-and-a-half hours to put them on the ground. That’s stimulation. We did it for them.”
So never mind the overnight rain — Kimball said he needed a shower, anyway.
“All I was missing was a bar of soap,” he said.
Everything was as it needed to be, like when some of Durham’s emergency personnel happened to drive up as Kimball and his crew were trying to cross busy Hillandale Road. The driver in the emergency vehicle put on the flashing lights to stop traffic so the marathon could continue.
Even a group of ducks seemed to know to get out of the path of the cart so Kimball could continue his mission of showing people how they could become patriots when donating toward Folds of Honor. He said raising $25,000 would educate five children.
So on Kimball’s final round, he powered out of a bunker on No. 15, endeavoring to get another hole.
A little bump-and-run action on No. 16 added one more.
An exhausted Kimball actually shot 44 on the final back nine.
“I had it going,” said Kimball, tanned and tired but still smiling.
Forgive him if he doesn’t show up for work today. He said he might not wake up until October.
One thing surely would wake him up, though.
“If somebody told me right now that they would give me $500 for the Folds of Honor Foundation, I would go out and play 18 more holes of golf,” Kimball, 56, said. “I’d do it. I’m that passionate about this.”