Monkstown Golf Club was the place to be last Saturday, with warm sunshine, a members barbeque, chipping competitions for adults and kids, it was a really enjoyable atmosphere. That wasn’t the case for everyone as there were two players out on the course completing their final round in a 180 hole challenge. Monkstown PGA Professional Cian McNamara and General Manager Brian Hurley set themselves a pretty unique challenge of playing ten rounds of golf in one day. Just after 9.30pm, Cian and Brian had their chance to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere and the hospitality. Close on 17 hours after they started out, they putted out on the 18th green for the final tine after completing all 180 holes.
The day started at 4.30am – 28 minutes before dawn broke, when both golfers hit the first ball. A crowd of members gathered at the first tee, including the Captain and President to cheer McNamara and Hurley as the set off on the challenging task. By 6.30am they had completed 27 holes of the challenge and spirits were high. Two caddies in buggies carried the clubs while the players walked the course, and a forecaddy in another buggy located the balls to ensure there was no delay in hitting the next shot. With a good rhythm, both golfers made quick work of the first four rounds, they even managed to navigate their way though the members competition that took place. With everyone playing in the club competition cheering on the two endurance golfers it was a great boost and the mood remained positive through until lunchtime. At that stage the enormity of the challenge probably started to dawn on the two lads, with six rounds completed around lunchtime.
Both Cian and Brian admitted that the afternoon was a struggle but with the support of the members they persevered and after a long 17 hours on the course, the pair completed the challenge. Well over 100 members and friends gathered around the 18th green as the clapped the players onto the green in scenes like the final of a major championship. It’s said that both golfers finished with pars, and given the resilience they both displayed nobody was prepared to argue. The original idea for the novel fundraising event came from Brian Hurley who took over as GM in Monkstown earlier this year, and he was delighted with the response from the club officers. “I came up with the idea after teasing through a number of different ideas, and when the Captains were approached first, both were very positive” explained Hurley who moved from Portmarnock in February. “The idea was approved by the management committee and their support was also very positive. When the membership were informed there was a total buy in from all of the members and the sponsor board filled up pretty quickly.”
All in all the challenge probably meant that the golfer covered over 45 miles, a few dozen golf balls, several shoe changes and a new legacy in endurance golf in Ireland. While other similar challenges have been completed in the US, the ten round challenge was definitely a unique event in Ireland. The only other similar feat in Cork was completed by Lee Valley’s Denis O’Brien who completed seven rounds at the Clashnure course in Ovens well over a decade ago. The event was a fundraiser for the Monkstown Cups and Shields teams, and give that the Club Pro and the GM are doing all of the hard work, it’s not surprising that many of the club members have jumped in to sponsor the holes. All 180 holes in the challenge were sponsored by club members and with Ronan Murphy’s Smarttech 24/7 joining in as the main sponsor for the event, the club was set to surpass their fundraising target. In the weeks before the event it became a real talking point in Monkstown, with many golfers question the reality (and sanity) of trying to complete the 180 hole challenge. While Brian and Cian succeeded, there weren’t too many people volunteering to try and match or beat their achievement.