The Long and Short of It
- There are no fewer than 10 holes played on the regular PGA TOUR season that are in excess of 600-yards in length; the longest of them all is the 16th hole on the Firestone CC (South) course in Ohio, USA where the WGC Bridgestone is traditionally staged, at 667-yards, a challenging par-5, even for the biggest hitters on the circuit.
- Meanwhile, there are seven holes played on the annual PGA TOUR that measure less than 150-yards from tee to pin, the shortest of them, the 7th hole on the magnificent Pebble Beach Golf Links, home to the annual AT&T National Pro-am, just 106-yards long.
Home, Home on the Range
- Whilst the largest golf facility in the world is at Mission Hills Golf Club, China, which boasts no fewer than twelve magnificent 18 hole courses – that’s 216 holes of golf on the one site – some of them designed by the best players in the world including Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam.
- But Mission Hills is dwarfed by another Asian golf facility, the gargantuan circular SKY72Golf Club Dream Golf Range, which opened in Joong-Ku, Incheon, Korea in September 2005.
- It is the largest golf practice range in the world, with 300 individual bays stretching some 400-yards for the very longest hitters, with a short game area, a practice putting green putting green and golf academy attached to it.
- When operating at full capacity, the floodlit SKY72 range will burn through over half-a-million range balls in a single day.
- We all know of world records being attempted and occasionally set in soccer through the juggling of a football called, ‘Keepie Uppie,’ the object of the exercise self evident.
- But golf also has its own equivalent; he longest golf ball control bounced off the face of one club, that record set by American Brad Weston during a PGA Show in Schaumberg, Illinois on 18 March 2017 managing to keep his golf ball off the ground for a remarkable one hour, 37 minutes 58 seconds, breaking his own world record by almost a quarter of an hour.
- Weston had practiced his golf ball juggling skills, using a lofted iron for an hour every day for four years; now that’s perseverance!
- Separately, Gualdino Guerreiro from Portugal managed to keep a regulation golf ball aloft, using only two sand wedges for 59 min 58 sec at the Giltar Hotel, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, UK in September 2003, another Guinness World Record in its own right.
- But that’s small beer compared to the equivalent football record; Dan Magness a 25-year-old Englishman kept a regulation soccer ball aloft for 26 hours using just his feet, legs, shoulders and head, completing the record-breaking feat in Hong Kong, in June 2010.
Holding All the Aces
- Holes in one, otherwise known as ‘Aces’ are not only the ‘Holy Grail’ of every golfer who ever stepped on the tee but also a subject of great fascination on and off the golf course.
- The odds are firmly stacked against any of us ever achieving a hole-in-one, in the order of 12,500 – 1, with between 1% and 2% of all club golfers experiencing the ultimate golfing high each year.
- Remarkably, John Hudson, a 25 year old professional achieved a near miracle when he achieved two consecutive holes in one at the 11th (195 yards) and 12th (311 yards) holes during the 1971 Martini Tournament at Norwich at improbable odds of 1 in 67 million.
- But, astonishingly, he does not hold the world record record; the most holes-in-one in a single round of golf currently stands at three, a feat achieved by American Patrick Wills at the Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, Virginia, USA on 22nd June 2015.
- Meanwhile, still on the subject of holes-in-one, the longest ever recorded measures a remarkable 427-yards, a feat achieved in March, 1961 by Lou Kretlow, holing out at the 16th hole at Lake Hefner course, Oklahoma City, USA.
- Professional golf can be, for the very best exponents of the royal and ancient game be a hugely rewarding way to earn a living, with the current era of top stars benefitting hugely from the arrival of Tiger Woods on the professional scene in 1996.
- And the great man, now 44-years-old is still top of the tree, still heading the PGA TOUR and global career earnings table with official winnings to date of US$120,787,506.
- Meanwhile, on the European Tour, it’s neck-and-neck between Rory McIlroy, whose official career earnings now total US$45,741,633, a mere US$457,531 ahead of veteran Lee Westwood on US$45,284,102.
- Across on the LPGA Tour, clear evidence that golf remains some distance from gender equality is revealed by the leading money-winner Annika Sörenstam – retired for 12 years – remains the leading career money winner on US$22,573.
- The argument has raged since time immemorial whether the game of golf is an art or a science; the jury is out, but it’s probably a combination of both.
- On the artistic side, there are many examples around the world of paintings of famous players and iconic courses, but it is the area of sculpture that attention is drawn.
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest golf ball sculpture amongst many worldwide was installed in Hong Kong on 17th January 2017.
- Standing at 5.05 m (16.5 ft) long, 1.01 m (3.3 ft) wide and 1.80 m (5.9 ft) high, the sculpture took one month to construct, consisting of more than 7,000 golf balls and weighing 600 kg, that’s over half-a-tonne.
- It’s nearest rival sits immediately across from the oldest golf course in the world still in use, a giant golf ball sitting on a tee overlooking the world-famous Musselburgh Links in Scotland.
- Meanwhile, the largest golf tee in the world measures 9.37 m (30 ft 9 in) in height with a head diameter of 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) and a shaft width of 64 cm (2 ft 1 in); it was made by Jim Bolin (USA) and installed in Casey, Illinois, USA, on 29 January 2013.
- A Great deal of attention is paid to the longest drive in distance, with many massive, monumental tee shots approaching 500-yards and beyond, the world record currently held by American Mike Austin, whose tee shot travelled a prodigious 515-yards at the Winterwood Golf Course in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1974.
- But what about the longest driver?
- That honour rests with Michael Furrh from Arlington, Texas, USA who holds the world record for longest ‘usable’ golf club with his latest contraption, a prodigious implement measuring in at 8.56m (28 ft 1 in) long.
- In order to demonstrate that the golf club was eligible and in practice usable, Michael connected with his golf ball, driving it some 59 yards down the 18th fairway at Waterchase Golf Club in Fort Worth, setting the record for the fifth time in his eccentric career.