Golf pro's 24-hour Hillandale marathon to benefit military kin

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 07:07 PM

Along with plenty of water and sandwiches made of peanut butter (for protein) and multi-grain bread (for carbohydrates), Karl Kimball said the most important thing he needs in order to play golf for 24 straight hours is Motrin.

“A tremendous amount of Motrin,” Kimball said.

Still, that hasn’t stopped Kimball from planning his fourth 24-hour golf marathon, beginning at 6 p.m. Monday at Hillandale Golf Course.

Kimball, the Director of Golf at Hillandale, said he hopes to raise $25,000 for the Folds of Honor Foundation, which gives scholarships to spouses and children of military members who have been killed or wounded.

“Now that Hillandale Golf Course is having an impact to this degree, I can’t not do this,” Kimball said.

Folds of Honor was founded by Major Dan Rooney, a PGA Professional and F-16 pilot who served three tours in Iraq. A major fundraiser for the foundation is Patriot Golf Day, which encourages golfers to donate during Labor Day weekend.

When Folds of Honor was created, Kimball ran an actual marathon to raise money. Now, he said he is the only golf professional in the country to play for 24 straight hours.

Last year, Kimball raised $10,100 during his 334 holes of golf. Since some people are sponsoring him by the hole, Kimball hopes to finish 350 holes this year, despite arthritis in one of his knees.

“I have given the golfers, customers and friends at Hillandale the opportunity to say thank you to our military through me,” Kimball said. “It’s an overwhelming experience.”

Besides seeing Kimball out on the course, golfers and spectators at Hillandale will also hear 13 blasts from an airhorn on Tuesday at 1 p.m. Kimball hopes that people will use that time to face the clubhouse, where the U.S. flag is, and reflect on what the military does.

“It is amazing the amount of people who come into our golf shop, shake our hands and tell them it was an awesome experience,” Kimball said. “They thank us for doing it and for making them be aware of the importance of our military, and they’ll throw in a $10 bill, a $20 bill right then and there.”

The first time Kimball played 24 straight hours of golf, he made the mistake of teeing off at 7 a.m. Kimball now knows that a key is to start at night, when he’s freshest, and take advantage of the daylight when he’s the most tired. Of course, there’s only so much you can do to alleviate the difficulty.

“I start out hitting 7-irons 170 yards,” Kimball said. “By the 20th hour I’m chipping.”

One factor that is out of his control is the weather. Last year he played through about an inch of rain. But in 2011, he said it rained for 13.5 hours straight, eventually totaling about 3.5 inches.

“I had parts of my body wet that don’t get wet when I take a shower,” Kimball said. “But if I’m out there and the weather is tough, it brings more attention to what I’m doing.”

The key to this event is putting attention back on the needs of military families. This year Kimball will be carrying a flag with him that flew over Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

“Our nation’s been given a debt by these families that have given an ultimate sacrifice, or have sent somebody over who has come back less than they were,” Kimball said. “We cannot make payment on this debt, and so we feel the best way we can honor them for the sacrifice they have made is to honor them by ensuring that their children have an education.”

NOTE — To donate, visit https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/FoldsofHonorFoundation/KarlKimball2013.html online.