Nilsson raises over $6,600 in fundraiser at Creston Golf Club

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There is nothing apparently unusual about this photo

There is nothing apparently unusual about this photo

Armed with LED headlamps, powerful flashlights and glow balls, 76-year-old Alex Nilsson and his guiding light, Terry Munkerud, set out at the Creston Golf Club on a summer solstice 24-hour quest to play 150 holes and raise $10,000 for local charities. Munkerud walked with Nilsson for the first nine hours and returned at 9 p.m. for the final three hours.

The result of this adventure was an astounding eight full rounds (each 6,106 yards) and six holes for a total of 150 holes in just under 24 hours. Proceeds so far are $6,637.

“I’m proud to be part of such a generous community,” said Nilsson, “and many thanks to the volunteers who helped make it happen”.

Golfers might be interested in Nilsson’s equipment. Most shots were played with an ancient Hogan hybrid metal and half a dozen mongrel clubs of similar vintage in a light carry bag held together with duct tape. He used an already experienced Calloway ball for over 100 holes; there were no golf carts of any sort and no fancy distance aids.

His playing strategy was equally basic: take his Hogan to navigate around the course, avoiding hazards, trees and the rough — target golf. Although he was only counting the number of holes, not strokes, triple bogeys were unusual, generally caused by hurrying on the greens. Ever the competitor, Nilsson could be heard mumbling his disappointment when he failed to sink a three-foot putt (not for him the controversial “gimme”). Every hole was completed.

If there ever was an example of the “KISS” principle, this achievement was it.  Mental focus, physical flexible strength and stamina are Nilsson’s keys. No obsession with distance, no paralyzing 17-swing thoughts, no searching for balls, just care with a pre-shot routine with a relaxed, brisk shoulder turn and a complete follow through.

“My preparations started three months ago when Nicole (Alex’s wife and event organizer) suggested proceeds should go to our favourite local charities through the Creston Kootenay Foundation. I was especially motivated,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, “when my son-in-law pledged $5 per hole. I trained swinging 30-pound weights for strong flexible shoulders along with my usual running and cycling.”

Other amazing facts are that Nilsson, who took up the game when he was 70, mainly plays nine holes only with Nicole and had never practiced in the dark with the glow ball.

Dave Drennan, who joined Nilsson and Munkerud in the early hours of the longest day, said, “It was a beautiful calm night; an eerie experience. Just amazing how well he played in the dark.”

Munkerud and Nicole noticed that although Nilsson was obviously tired during the final holes, the pace quickened to a march, even to a jog, as much to foil the mosquitoes as to achieve his goal.

Online donations are still welcome at www.ckfoundation.com or dropped off at the Erickson Water District office to Lon Main at the Creston and Distict Public Library building. Tax receipts are available for your contribution.

Let’s reach that $10,000 goal for local charities. Stay tuned for the next endurance adventure of “Alextreme”!