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June 17, 2014

LOCAL GOLF: “Pastor Bob” sets sight on latest world record

CULLMAN — No one has lived up to a nickname more so than Bob Kurtz.

The Cullman native and former sports broadcaster has long been deemed golf’s “Iron Man” for his tremendous efforts on the course in setting numerous world records to provide charity for abused children all across the globe.

In 2011, Kurtz made his first entry in the Guinness Book of World Records by completing 1,850 holes in one week to help raise more than $102,000 for a collection of children’s charities.

One year later, the world-renowned golfer fired seven rounds of 70 or under to sink his teeth into yet another world record and collect funds for his own charitable foundation — Ministry to Children.

Kurtz will be up to his old tricks on June 25 at Fairview’s Chesley Oaks, as the 73-year-old attempts to set the bar for the “Fastest 72 Holes Played.” The affair will begin at 8 a.m. as part of Kurtz’s “While We’re Young” event designed to emphasis the United States Golf Association’s pace of play issues which continue to plague the sport.

Without a previous time on record, he will take over the top mark by completing all four rounds and proving age — like an exceptional score — is just another number.

“I was trying to think of something different to do this time,” Kurtz said. “The pace of play thing is such a dilemma for golf because it’s holding back the development of the game. They said they’d be impressed if I could pull this off, so that’s what I’m going to try to do.”

Kurtz will attempt to play 72 holes in just less than three and a half hours. He’ll try to complete each 18-hole round in around 50 minutes or so before starting the process over. Kurtz said he’ll use a fast cart, play from the back tees and not waste a single second.

“I hope I can shoot all in the 70s, but that’s secondary right now,” he said. “There won’t be any range finders, and I won’t read any putts. I’ll hit a shot, run to the cart and drive to the next shot. This will be a different emphasis from other times.”

“Pastor Bob” attributed his ability to go after these records to his time spent in the gym. Kurtz said he “can do stuff that 25- and 30-year-olds can’t do” simply because of keeping up his level of fitness throughout the years via several core and leg exercises, as well as plenty of cardio.

However, aside from a healthy lifestyle and tons of miles on the golf course, Kurtz’s one fine passion comes by way of his Ministry to Children charity. Not only is he doing what he loves, but he’s been able to contribute to a greater cause because of it.

“To be able to do something you cherish and see it directly benefit someone else, that’s what gets me emotional,” Kurtz said. “It just makes you feel good. I’m really happy with what I’m doing. It’s my passion.”

Not only can people watch an attempt at history, but they can also be part of it by partaking in the four-man scramble that will follow.

Because Kurtz is adamant about picking up the pace, there’ll be no longest drive, closest-to-a-hole or mulligans for the tournament. Instead, a putting and closest-to-the-hole competition will be held during the lunch hour between Kurtz’s rounds and the scramble. There’ll also be a Rodney Dangerfield impersonator on hand to further extend the “While We’re Young” campaign, a famous line from the movie Caddyshack.

“It’s going to be a fun event,” Kurtz said. “I want everybody there to have a great time. We’re blessed to be able to play a game we love. To be able to do that and help so many others should make you feel great.”



% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at jwinfrey@cullmantimes.com.

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