AMHERST - Hitting a golf ball more than 1,000 times in one day would be enough to turn most people off the game of golf for good - but Amherst's Chuck Linney and Gary Estabrooks thrive under those conditions.
"It was a really fun day," said Linney. "Gary and I have played a lot of golf together for a lot of years and we're very good friends. There were times we would laugh the whole way through a hole, and there were times when it would turn a little serious and we would pick up the pace."
The two golfers played 201 holes of golf - 11 full rounds, plus three holes in the 12th round - during their Longest Day in Golf fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society last week at the Amherst Golf Club.
"Gary's a great guy, so there were no problems whatsoever," added Linney. "If you're out there for 14-and-a-half hours with somebody you don't want to spend that amount of time with, then it just won't work."
They started at 5 a.m. and kept a brisk pace throughout the day.
"From 5 to 7:30 a.m. we were just flying, and then it was wide open again later in the day. That's where we made a lot of time," said Linney.
"We knew that through the heat of the day our pace was going to slow down, and we knew through the busy sections that it was going to be harder to get through everybody," he added. "But our pace was steady and everybody was really good about letting us pass. We couldn't have had better luck."
Linney kept score and estimates they averaged about five shots each per hole, but they did lose a lot of golf balls.
Bob Milner of Riverbend Golf supplied them with 80 balls.
"There's 15 left, so we lost about 65 balls," said Linney. "You don't have time look for them."
Many people joined forces to help ensure nothing got in the way of their quest to play at least 181 holes of golf.
"People were really good to us," said Linney. "People made sure we had enough water, and we had another guy who came out on the tenth hole, when we were making the turn, with soaking wet, cold towels to put around our neck and put our face in for a few minutes. That's huge when you're out there that long."
A friend also offered sub service.
"We had a buddy who came out and took our order and then went to town and bought us subs," said Linney.
They were also given the go-ahead to drive their golf cart down the fairway to their next shot.
"Peter McCabe (club superintendent) told us to take the cart from tee to green on the fairway," said Linney.
Driving down the fairways did have its drawbacks.
"Your back gets sore because you're driving the cart wide open all the time trying to make time, and the slightest little bump just jolts you," said Linney.
His feet also got sore.
"14-and-a-half hours in your shoes playing golf is a long day," he said.
And his hands got sore as well.
"I pulled the skin away from underneath the nail and the thumb, and every time I hit the ball it was killing me," said Linney. "I had to tape my thumb at about the third round, but when you get words of encouragement you forget about those type of things and persevere."
It was the encouragement and support that kept them going.
"The grounds crew was going out of their way to find out how we were doing, and they pitched a lot of money into the pledge sheet," said Linney. "Our grounds crew is outstanding. There is no other golf course in Canada that does that kind of job with the people they have."
The two golfers came up short of their goal of raising $3,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
"Everybody supports everybody who is fighting against cancer," said Linney. "Everybody has somebody they're related to or knows somebody who is struggling with cancer or who has lost the battle with cancer or, hopefully, won a battle with cancer.
"Although we didn't reach our goal, what ‘s important is to keep the awareness at a peak level."
Linney and Estabrooks the set the bar higher next year.
"When we were on our 200th hole Gary said we can do this better financially," said Linney. "That will be a driving force for us to make it better next year than it was this year."
Linney thanks everybody for their support.
"We're proud of the club members for letting us pass," said Linney. "Without their support we wouldn't be successful. We're also appreciative of the staff. They're outstanding."