In professional golf, when discussions turn to the most holes played in one day, it’s typically in reference to the longest sudden-death playoffs. The actual PGA Tour record for that feat – 11 holes – was first set back in 1949 at the Motor City Open by Hall of Famers Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum.
Both men were declared co-champions, because they ended up running out of daylight before they ran out of holes. Since that 1949 record still stands, it means the highest total number of holes ever officially played in any one day on the PGA Tour is 29 – the 18-hole course, plus that playoff record.
Now, fast forward to 2015 and the tiny Village of Chenequa, Wisconsin. It was in that Milwaukee suburb, at the Chenequa Country Club, that avid golfer Carl Meyer played a whopping 155 holes in just one day.
Think about that for a moment and let it sink in – 155 holes. Some of you might be thinking, “Is it even possible?” And, “Why would anyone do that?!”
Well, Meyer has been on his uber golfing quest since 2008, when he decided to match his over-sized passion for the sport to a charitable cause: Hire Heroes USA. Since then, he has raised more than $460,000 dollars and, along the way, he’s meticulously kept track of every single hole played on that adventurous mission.
The original idea was to golf 100 Holes in one day – the Fourth of July – and raise money through a mix of corporate and individual donations, including some “per hole played” pledges. The only problem with the idea was that Meyer never actually played only 100 Holes – he always played MORE!
In 2008, it was 108 holes. He topped that a year later with 110, incrementally increasing the number each year until he reached 135 holes in 2014. Then, last year, he made that big jump – to 155.
To accomplish a mammoth endeavor like this, Meyer has had tee times while most Americans are still sleeping, and it’s so dark he has to listen closely for the ball to hit the ground so he can find it on the fairway. One of the advantages of a 4:50am start? He can begin his second 18-holes before many people have had their morning coffee, and possibly be well into his third 18-holes before he sees another golfer on the course.
Marine Corps veteran John Matter visits his friend on the course each year, riding in the golf cart with Meyer and speaking with donors. He was a sniper, serving in a number of combat zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Kosovo, and is a recipient of three Purple Hearts.
“I owe a lot to Hire Heroes USA,” Matter says, crediting the nonprofit with helping him get his first job when he retired. “Veterans don’t want a handout. They want an opportunity to show that they are ‘real world’ ready.”
About Meyer’s annual pursuit, he says, “Carl is such a dynamic, good person.”
When speaking with Meyer, it’s clear that the appreciation is mutual. He’ll be the first to tell you that his yearly golf marathon is nothing compared to the extremes our military members endure, and that’s why you’ll find him – every year – making multiple rounds on the front and back nines at Chenequa Country Club.
For Meyer, it’s something personal. His family, his company, his coworkers, his community, and his professional contacts are his biggest supporters. Following his day-long fundraising feat at the golf course each year, he sends each of them a personal thank you note. He gracefully deflects any recognition of his own monumental achievements. “I’m blessed to live in this country,” he says, quickly adding that, in his view, it’s “a small way to give back.”
In the same eight-year time period that Meyer has amassed a memorable collection of scorecards from his eight single days of fundraising, Hire Heroes USA has also seen remarkable growth.
In 2008, when Meyer’s mission began, the nonprofit confirmed an annual total of 37 clients from “helped to hired” – an average of less than one per week. In 2016, Hire Heroes USA can confirm a weekly average of 113 hires, a number that continues to rise.
Within the month, Hire Heroes USA will pass 10,000 lifetime hires through its free, personalized career coaching services for transitioning military, veterans and military spouses. The national nonprofit will reach that amazing milestone about the same time that Meyer steps onto the golf course on July 4th to tee off for his first hole of the day. It’s a hole that will hold great, personal significance, because it will be his 1,000th hole played in what has been an incredible and indelible journey on behalf of Hire Heroes USA.
Learn more about Carl Meyer’s mission and ways you can support his efforts by clicking this link.
National nonprofit Hire Heroes USA is one of the nation’s highest-rated veteran service organizations, with a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum rating from GuideStar.