What did Indiana golfer Ben Berger call tennis pros
John Isner and Nicolas Mahut after they completed their record setting
11 hour and 5 minute match? Pikers! Slackers! Wusses!
I’m kidding. Please, no letters. Marathon golfer Ben
Berger is too tender for that. Berger would have said “Well done!” even
though Berger’s 16-hour-34 rounds in one-day golf marathon leaves our
tennis heroes in the dust. Remember, John and Nicolas played their 11
hour match over three days, with two nights of rest. Ben Berger went
from dusk to dawn swatting golf balls… at a brisk, brisk pace.
Ben Berger did his final “Par for the Cause” golf
charity event Friday, June 25th, teeing off to flashlights at 5:29 and
finishing after sunset at 9:30 pm. When I say brisk pace, I’m talking
Lipton Tea-slapping-your-face-brisk; Usain Bolt as your caddy brisk;
New York minute around a par 72 – 6400 yard Indiana golf course brisk.
That’s 18 holes every thirty minutes, some holes finished in less than
90 seconds. Ninety seconds! Jack Nicholas took that long on one putt.
No strike that; three times that long on one putt!
And Berger set these records for a good cause – autism awareness –
while raising $ 200,000 over five years. Plus, 32-year-old Ben wasn’t
too shabby in the scoring department. It was an average course with
lots of water hazards which his thirsty golf balls found yet he never
scored over 82. How about this: 95 birdies and five eagles in one
day, 12 rounds of par or better.
We think his high school golf coach, Steve Read, in Lakeville, Indiana
taught him well. “Our coach always said,” Berger tells us “I don’t care
how bad you shoot as long as you play fast.” Berger’s coach was a
no-nonsense guy and a master of the back-handed compliment. “You’ve
done the most with the least talent,” Read would say. Berger credits
Coach Read for being a good teacher and for helping him pare all wasted
motion from his game.
“I got the idea twelve years ago that I could do
marathon speed golf,” Berger says. “I didn’t start doing it as a
charity event until 2006. For four years we did it at Eberhart where I
was the club pro. Each year we’d complete more rounds and each year my
team became more skilled. This year I set a goal of 600 holes but Juday
Creek is 140 acres and Eberhart was only 90 acres. Even though it was
50 acres more the course superintendent helped tremendously.”
So he didn’t mind you scooting on your 30 mph gas
golf cart or parking near the green, we asked. “No, he was great and he
placed the pins where I asked, pretty much had the course ready for
Ben was thrilled with his team, “I never touched the
golf ball. One guy picked it up from the hole, another teed it up. We
went through cases of water, ate very little, and I never stepped into
the club house. When we gassed up, that’s when I stretched, for
five minutes… once the entire match.”
Ben did change his socks a lot, shirts a few times,
shoes once from spiked shoes to tennis and lost ten pounds for his
day’s efforts. And it wasn’t like he was alone on the course. “Oh, no.
There was a golf scramble as part of the charity event. There were some
foursome’s I lapped eight times. ‘Don’t I know you? Let us finish three
holes before you come around next time.’ That sort of thing.”
Yeah, exactly. Like Isner-Mahut’s, Berger’s record
may never be broken. Nor should it.