Bob Kurtz was going for another world record to start out the month of August. But breaking the record wasn’t his only goal. He wanted to do that much and then exceed the bare minimum.
The Guinness World Record he was going after this time was most rounds a golfer can shoot his age or lower in a single day. To break the record, he needed to shoot five games under 71, and by 1 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, he had done just that.
Then after breaking the record, he topped it by two to finish out with seven games where he shot his age or less.
“I feel good with seven,” Kurtz said. “Seven is a good number.”
During the attempt, he never actually shot his age. He went over it twice, didn’t complete one round and then shot under it seven times to set the record.
The par for the Chesley Oaks Golf Course, where Kurtz attempted the record, is 71, so aiming for par was a useful way to stay on track with the record.
“It helps you mentally,” he said. “Although, anybody who plays out here will tell you that Hole 6 is a par 5, so it’s really 36-36, but because it says par-4, it helps you emotionally.”
The first five games Kurtz played were the five used to break the record. He said his good start in the morning was one of the biggest reasons he kept playing well.
“There was a fog this morning,” he said. “I was two under when I couldn’t see anything, and it was a total gift, which got the confidence going. From there, the first five rounds were just fun.”
Following that, games six, seven and eight were all failed attempts.
“I probably got a little tired, with a little lack of focus,” Kurtz said. “You still have to stay really focused, and I didn’t putt well.”
In his ninth round, he got back below his age with a score of 1-under to bring his total to six games. Kurtz said what got him back on track was his daughter, Beth Carpenter, who started to caddy for him and helped him re-focus.
“Beth said, ‘Dad, you’re decelerating. You’re hitting the putts soft. You’ve got to accelerate,’ and then I started making everything again,” he said.
Then for his 10th and final round, Kurtz finished off strong and added the seventh round to his record. He said finishing on a good note was very important to him, just like finishing is always important.
“That’s sort of a motto for me,” he said. “You’ve heard it said that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. I’ve always believed that.”
In the celebration afterward, cups of champagne were passed around in order to make a toast to Kurtz. Then once Michael Empiric, the Guinness World Record official present, gave Kurtz his certificate, someone poured a bottle of champagne on Kurtz.
Empiric said that was the first time he’d ever seen that happen at a Guinness event.
Kurtz attempts a new world record just about every summer. While he’s said this is his last attempt, he’s also said that the past few summers.
This time, though, it might actually be true.
“I’m kind of running out,” he said. “I have an advantage that I’m physically strong. I don’t hit it like I’m 71, I hit it like a golfer. We don’t know how long that’s going to last. It’s not going to last forever.
“But right now, I’m enjoying it.”
Kurtz holds three Guinness World Records that he said are significant to him: the one he earned Wednesday, along with shooting 500 consecutive holes done in 2009 and then last year’s 1,850 holes shot.
% Laura Owens can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at email@example.com.