How the idea for was born

The cover of ‘The Top 100 Issue’ of SCOREGolf magazine (released summer 2012)

Once upon a time …….

Sorry i’ve always wanted to start telling a story like that, to be fair though this story did start quite some time ago – it was more than 10 years ago!

Back in the summer of 2002 i was finishing off my year of living in Canada by working as a Guest Host at Nicklaus North golf course in Whistler; an experience i can easily say was one of the best of my life. I got to live in a breathtakingly beautiful part of the world (surrounded by snow capped mountains), I worked with a fantastic group of people and I had the privilege of playing a top rated golf course over 50 times in one summer. Anyway, i digress. That summer sitting in the staff room and eating my lunch one day, i came across SCOREGolf magazine for the first time, it was their Top 100 golf courses in Canada issue (Nicklaus North GC was 23rd that year) and i guess the seed was planted in my subconscious………

Golf course banter

Over the next decade a lot changed in my life, i moved to Canada to live and became a Canadian Citizen (very proud), heck i even learned to play (ice)hockey! Throughout that decade friends and I would occasionally discuss the challenge of playing the Top 100 courses over our lifetimes (usually whilst being out on a golf course) but that is all it was ‘just talk’, no solid goals or deadlines were ever made.

Why do the best ideas always occur in the bathroom?

For some reason on a completely random morning in 2011 (whilst having a shower) the Top 100 courses subject popped into my mind. It’s as if the massaging nature of the water hitting my head helped connect some previously unconnected dots. I have always had an urge to complete a ‘challenge’, something of a spectacular nature, akin to those who have hiked to the North pole or cycled across a Continent. I don’t know where it comes from, but history might suggest that the desire to explore/go on epic adventures is just a part of human nature. So here was my thought process:

It would be cool to play all of the Top 100 courses in my life > it would be crazy to play them all in a single year > mmmm much of Canada is covered in snow for many months of the year so the golf season is effectively on May – mid Oct (5 1/2 months) so they would have to be played over 1 summer > how INSANE would it be to play them back to back, 100 courses in 100 days! (and thus the ‘idea’ of was born)

Meeting an inspirational person

I know i am not the only person reading this who has had an idea, a dream, something they really wanted to do in their life but as is very common it remains just an idea because of one or more of the common excuses (fear of failure, worry about what others think, lack of belief that its possible etc). So there The Challenge remained, just an idea in my head until one day i met a special person…….

In 2011 i volunteered at the Canadian Open held at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club in Vancouver, BC. My role was ‘player transportation’, in reality most players had rental cars for the week so i actually spent my time driving caddies/player family members to and fro between the course and their hotels. I was sat in my vehicle waiting for the next group to come by and to my surprise i see this guy making his way over (rather ‘unsteadily’ at first glance) to my vehicle aided by a walking cane. He obviously was not a caddy so i figured he must be a family member of one of the players, little did i know that this was the guy who would have a profound impact on the course of my life.

Enter D.J. Gregory. Who you might ask? Some of you golf fans may recognise his story. DJ has cerebral palsy and has to use a walking cane to get around, making (what many of us take for granted) walking a challenge at the best of times, yet he spent a whole year on the PGA Tour walking every round of every tournament in the 2008 season, following a different player at each tournament.

‘Walking With Friends’ by DJ Gregory. Foreword by Jim Nantz

I chatted with D.J. as i drove him to his hotel and he told me that he was following one of the pros that week to raise money for charity (i don’t recall who it was but it sounded like a cool thing to be doing) and it made me think about my idea for my own golf related challenge.  He gave me his card as he left and for the rest of the day i thought how amazing it was that he had had a dream and was following it. I googled D.J. when i got home to learn more about him and found out that he had written a book about his experiences in 2008, i ordered it straight away and when it arrived I read it in one sitting (something i have never done with a book).

The minute i finished the book, i vowed to myself that i would make The Challenge a reality, if D.J. had beaten such overwhelming odds to complete such an amazing feat then i really had no valid excuses not to do mine. So i sat down and started brainstorming how i could make the idea of into a reality.

What do you think about the challenge? Please leave a comment below and share this page with others. Thank you for your support.

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