ALGONQUIN – Twenty-two-and-a-half miles is a long distance to travel on foot. But recent Dundee-Crown graduate Joe Aschacher will tackle that distance with a golf bag hanging from his shoulder.
Aschacher will join 12 other participants at Flossmoor Country Club in the first Hundred Hole Hike, where golfers at various courses across the nation will play and walk 100 holes in a day for a good cause.
Flossmoor Country Club is one of 22 courses nationwide to host the all-day event. Golfers at Flossmoor will tee off around 4:15 a.m. Monday and continue all day, with a goal of walking at least 100 holes.
Each golfer is playing for a different charity. Recipients include the Evans Scholar Foundation, the Breast Cancer Foundation and the Stuttering Foundation of America.
Aschacher will play for the Kidney Cancer Association in honor of his late uncle, Dr. Paul Aschacher, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer in January after he found blood in his urine. The cancer spread even after doctors removed one of his kidneys, and he died May 18.
“My dad introduced me to golf when I was really young, and I instantly loved playing the game,” Joe Aschacher said. “I played a lot with my uncle, too, and he always wanted me to be the best golfer I could ever be.”
Aschacher played for four years on the Dundee-Crown High School golf team, where he drew inspiration from his uncle. He remembered his uncle’s tips and their times playing together while on the course. It was through those golf experiences that he stumbled upon the Hundred Hole Hike, and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to support a good cause in honor of his uncle.
“He was always trying to help people,” Aschacher said. “He was a very generous man, and I want to do something in his name.”
The Hundred Hole Hike originally started on a much smaller scale. Last year, Jim Colton walked 155 holes in one day at Ballyneal Golf and Hunt Club in Holyoke, Colo. He raised $110,000 through donations for his friend and caddy Ben Cox, who was seriously injured in a skiing accident.
Colton was awarded the 2011 Walking Golfer of the Year award by the members of The Walking Golfers Society later that year.
Colton then launched a charitable organization called One Divot, whose goal is to make a positive impact on the lives of others through golf. Seeing a great opportunity, Colton made the Hundred Hole Hike a nationwide event this year, instead of just one man at one course.
Of the 22 participating courses, Flossmoor was chosen to launch the event. The club, rated No. 143 on the list of Golfweek magazine’s classic courses in America, is a large reason why it was chosen to lead off, Flossmoor golf pro Alex Kapugi said. He added that it is a very walkable course, which further helps the cause.
The 13 golfers will tee off, one after another, starting at 4:15 a.m. and play until they reach 100 holes, or as many as they can do.
Kapugi said that he and a few others are trying to beat Colton’s record of 155 holes, and he even has floodlights available to help finish the last few holes when the sun goes down.
They might need the lights to reach 155. Flossmoor is a long course – 7,136 yards from the black tees. If one were to play and walk all 100 holes, it would total just more than 22.5 miles, not including added walking to find errant balls hit into the rough.
But Aschacher said he is ready. He’s been hitting balls almost every day and walking 36 holes with consistency. Along with being physically ready, he also prepared by raising $800 as of Friday, and said he is looking for all the help he can get so he can help others battling kidney cancer.
To help, visit hundredholehike.com/golfers/joe-aschacher and click on the “pledge through me” tab at the bottom of the page to donate through Aschacher to the Kidney Cancer Association.
“I am really excited to play in memory of my uncle,” he said. “It’ll be good.”