From the shotgun start to the final made putt, Bob Kurtz moved at a speed he didn’t know he could muster.
Tabbed as golf’s “Iron Man,” the Cullman native and former sports broadcaster took to Chesley Oaks early Wednesday in an attempt to set another Guinness World Record by playing 72 holes as quickly as possible.
Three hours and five minutes later, “Pastor Bob” was about as happy as one could be following the record-setting feat — except for his work with the short stick.
“It was so much fun out there,” he said. “You can just really walk up and hit it. The triumph of the uncluttered golf mind. I wasn’t too pleased with my putting, though. That could have been a lot better. Besides that, God gave us a terrific day for us to come out here and do this thing.”
Kurtz started at 8 a.m. sharp and completed his first round in 45 minutes and 20 seconds after shooting an 80. However, he slowly and surely chipped time and shots off his remaining three rounds with scores of 79, 74 and 71. His final 18 holes just happened to be his best and shortest of the event at 45 minutes and six seconds.
“It got a lot easier the next run after the first round,” Kurtz said. “We knew how to get to places faster and which spots I should hit the ball in. I wasn’t exhausted at all. In fact, I really think it was exilerating. I’d do it again right now.”
Of Kurtz’s 72 holes, he birdied 12, parred 33, bogeyed 22, double bogeyed two and triple bogeyed two to finish his day with a 20-over par performance. He needed 139 putts, around 35 putts per 18 holes. More importantly, he was into making every single one of his birdie putts and laughed alongside his entourage when the ball didn’t find its home.
Things didn’t exactly go how Kurtz had envisioned, either, as outlined by his 2-over score at the 94-yard, par-3 third and his 1-under tally on the 212-yard, par-3 eighth.
“It’s golf,” Kurtz said. “You hit the ball and never really know where it’s going to go. I was a little surprised by that one.”
With his grandson Dillon at his side, Kurtz maneuvered each and every turn behind the wheel of the cart while shouting at the former for the club he needed to hit the next shot. Kurtz ran to each ball, took helpful shortcuts and parked as near to the greens and tee boxes as he could in order to maximize all the time he could to make it in under three hours.
Although he fell short by just five minutes, Kurtz was happy with the effort and adamant he’d return to achieve his goal in the near future.
“I think if I could have broken three hours, it would have set the golfing world on its ear,” the 73-year-old said. “We really just missed it. This one probably ranks in the top two for the records I’ve broken, though.”
Kurtz’s “While We’re Young” event was held in an effort for Cullman County golfers to take part in the United States Golf Association’s initiative on pace of play. At the same time, funds for the event — which included a four-man scramble, a Rodney Dangerfield impersonator and a few fun challenges — went straight into Kurtz’s charity “Ministry to Children.” The organization provides relief for abused and neglected children all across the county.
For Kurtz, being able to play the game he loves and provide monetary aid to the children of the world means more than any record ever could.
“It’s a double joy,” he said. “My two passions are golfing and helping my charity. I got to do both today. You can’t really ask for anything more than that.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.