BY MARY WICOFF
Although he’s an avid golfer, Charlie Nygren declined when a friend asked him to play 100 holes in one day for charity.
Then, his close friend and golfing buddy Mike Merlie died unexpectedly on May 28 at age 63.
“That prompted me to say, ‘I’m going to try this,’” Nygren said. He vowed to give part of the donations to the United Way of Danville Area in memory of Merlie.
Nygren completed the Hundred Hole Hike at the Urbana Country Club last Monday, starting at 5:30 a.m. and ending 12 hours later. He raised $2,000 in pledges for the United Way of Champaign County’s Emerging Community Leaders Program; of that, $500 will go to the local United Way.
He also used five caddies, who took shifts: Michael Kasper, Dave Redenbaugh and Ralph “Bud” Edwards, all of Danville; Tony Maged of Rossville; and Merle Metz of St. Joseph.
Of the nine golfers who participated in the charity benefit, Nygren was the only one from Vermilion County, and possibly the oldest at 59, he said.
The golfers played as individuals, along with their caddies, and had to walk the entire time. They would play 18 holes, and then start over — five times, plus 10 holes, to equal 100 holes. They had 20-25 minutes for a lunch break.
The golfers kept score, but Nygren said the score was incidental. The players had to get the ball in the hole at each stop, so they were concentrating more on doing that, rather than form.
“You don’t have time to set up a putt,” he said.
When Nygren golfs, he walks the course anyway, so it wasn’t a hardship to do that for 100 holes. He also stays in shape by exercising.
“I think I could have played some more,” he said. He had expected to be playing until dark, so he was surprised when he finished by 5:30 p.m.
Nygren represented DTI Office Solutions, where he works in sales; the company paid the entry fee.
Nygren said the Hundred Hole Hike — the first in Champaign County — was for a good cause, adding, “I’d do it again.” The event was hosted by the Urbana Golf & Country Club.
Learn more at http://www.hundredholehike.com.