Four friends who raise money for cancer research headed out to Ben Hawes Golf Course Wednesday morning as they continued their quest to play every golf course in Kentucky.
Mike Wright of Trigg County said after losing his father to cancer in 2007 he decided he wanted to do something to honor his father’s memory and try to make a difference.
“I said, ‘We’re going to play every golf course in the state and raise money for cancer research,'” Wright said. “Some people said, ‘You can’t play every golf course. golf courses in the state. And I said, ‘I can’t do it in the next two weeks, but I can do it in a few years.’ ”
Wright was joined by his neighbor, Shawn Williamson, who lost his wife to cancer at 39, as well as cancer survivors Mike McGill and Al Starnes.
While the quest began just a few years after the death of Wright’s father, responsibilities eventually got in the way and the project was put on the back burner for a time.
“Three years ago the key happened,” Wright said. “Al Starnes, he was the Crittenden County football coach, he retired from coaching, moved to Trigg County, and once he partnered with me, we took off. “
Now the four men hardly ever miss a week of golf.
“It’s a great experience to see the other courts, as well as the cities,” Williamson said, “and knowing that you’re putting money in the account for cancer research is very important.”
Wright said the band will make a deal with the golf course they play at, where they won’t be charged for a round of golf, but they will put the amount a round would cost into an account linked to the Relay For Life chapter. of Trigg County.
A website – www.golfingkentuckyforacure.com – tracks the progress of groups as they complete more courses and continue to donate money to the fund.
“It’s pretty tough, it keeps us pretty busy,” McGill said. “We’re physically tired, but it’s always a good challenge to try and play these courses and keep the momentum going.”
Starnes agreed that despite the time they spend on the course, their passion for the sport remains strong.
“We’re tired, we’re in pain and we’re getting stiff, but we don’t get tired of playing golf,” he said. “We have a little competition between us, so it’s still interesting.”
Wright said that when he first looked to golf across Kentucky, he researched the number of golf courses throughout the state and their locations.
“When we started the project, there were 241 courses,” he said. “It fluctuated. A couple closed their doors. We actually played a couple who have since closed.
Jefferson County has the most golf courses in the state, with 27, followed by Fayette County, which has 11. There are 15 counties in Kentucky that do not have a golf course, a said Wright.
“Of the 120 counties, counting those without courses, we’re done with about 68 or 69 counties in Kentucky,” Wright said. “We’re done with about 80 courses, so we’re a third of the way through the courses.”
To date, golfers have raised $10,461. The funds will be donated to Relay For Life when the four have reached their goal and played golf at all courses in the state.
“When it’s all said and done, it’ll all just be handed over to Relay For Life, and hopefully they can do great things with it,” Wright said.