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Golf marathon man

Forest Grove resident Bobby Tabb raises more than $3,000 for charity by playing 180 holes of golf in one day at Sunset Grove Golf Course


Last Tuesday, Bobby Tabb got up well before dawn and headed out to the Sunset Grove Golf Course.

The Forest Grove resident and Banks Elementary School teacher was a man on a mission. His plan: to play as many holes of golf as he could from the wee morning hours until dark to raise money for two charities.

Going into his golf marathon, Tabb’s goal was to play 108 holes, which would have equated to 12 tours of Sunset Grove’s nine-hole course.

The 35-year-old Tabb reached that milestone at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. So he kept going.

When Tabb finally quit for the day, at about 9:30 p.m., after more than 17 hours on the course, he had played 180 holes. That is 20 rounds at Sunset Grove, a course that is tucked along Highway 47 just north of Forest Grove and of which Tabb is a member.

In all, Tabb estimated that he raised about $3,000 for his charities, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Angels Making a Difference, which provides support to cancer patients and their families in Washington, Yamhill and Columbia counties.

“I feel good. It feels good,” Tabb said last Tuesday night, sitting on the clubhouse patio at Sunset Grove after he had finally stopped for the day. “It feels rewarding. It was a really rewarding, awesome day.”

Tabb’s journey to last Tuesday began a little over two months ago. He and his wife, Emily, were watching the world speed golf championships on television. Since he could play longer than most other golfers — Tabb has an affinity for endurance events, having completed four marathons and a 50-kilometer race — Tabb got to thinking.

“I’m not the best golfer in the world, but I can play fast and it doesn’t really affect my score,” he explained last week.

He wound up doing an internet search on the topic, something related to golf marathons — he does not even quite remember the wording he used — and he stumbled across the Hundred Hole Hike website.

Hundred Hole Hike is an organization that networks charity golf marathons. According to the HHH website, in 2012 more than five dozen Hikers played more than 7,600 holes of golf and raised $273,000 for their charities of choice. The goal is for each golfer to play 100 holes in a day, hence the name, though they can play fewer.

The impetus for the Hundred Hole Hike came from Jim Colton, who in 2011 created the Ben Cox 155 event at Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club in Colorado as a way to raise funds for a paralyzed caddie. From that, Hundred Hole Hike was launched, and now golfers across the country can network and bring attention to their charitable causes through the organization.

Other Hikers this year have raised funds for organizations such as the American Heart Association, the Wounded Warrior Project and the American Cancer Society. (For more information, go to hundredholehike.com. Donations can be made to Tabb’s account through July 14.)

Those who wish to donate to a Hiker’s cause can do so by making pledges, either as a lump sum or a per-hole amount. Tabb worked hard to generate donations for his own charities, spreading the word through social media, a blog on the HHH website, word of mouth and even in a story that aired early last week on KPTV.

“There’s a fine line of being really passionate and really annoying with stuff, trying to walk that line,” Tabb said. “But I think the video kind of just clearly let people know how emotional I was about it as well.”

Last Tuesday played to his favor. The weather was mostly overcast, though Tabb did duck out of the worst of some rain at one point. He and his first caddie of the day did not see any other golfers, Tabb said, until about his 29th hole.

Sunset Grove’s manager had done well in helping him pick a day that was close to the summer solstice but that stood a chance of not being too crowded. All of those conditions allowed him to play quickly.

“The weather was kind of perfect for me for this event, because there was enough bad weather that kept a lot of people away, but not so bad that it really affected us,” Tabb noted.

In all, eight friends and acquaintances — including Emily, 33, on two occasions — took turns serving as caddies for Tabb, pushing along his clubs and putting them into and pulling them out of his bag to speed up his play. He used golf balls that light up in the dark in low-light conditions and only took short breaks over the course of the day to use the restroom, sit for a moment, or change into dry socks.

His calorie intake for the day: a hot dog, half of a Subway sandwich, several energy bars, grapes, a banana, Gatorade and water. His estimated distance walked: 40 miles.

Over the course of Tabb’s marathon Tuesday, his caddies provided conversation and motivation. One friend handed Tabb a bag of dimes, the $2.50 pledge that Tabb’s 5-year-old son, Chase, had given for his dad’s causes. And partway through the final round, Tabb paused to watch a video Emily had taken of Kayleigh, the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, and Chase, both of whom offered encouragement.

They factored into his participation, as part of Tabb’s inspiration was what he would want others to do if his family was in a situation like those who receive help from St. Jude and Angels Making a Difference.

Sitting on that patio last Tuesday night with sore feet and calluses on one hand, Tabb was thinking about his own children still, and the impact and example that his one long day of golf would have on them.

“The money I raised today is awesome, but it’s going to be trumped by the amount of money my kids give to charities throughout their lifetime, just by seeing us be generous and giving,” Tabb said that night.

“That’s the thing. That’s the real legacy.”



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