Huge Demand for Marathon Golf Tee Times

Have you tried to golf 72 holes in one day?

That could get expensive these days, with many courses charging $50-$80 per 18 holes. And going back a few years, trying to finish 72 holes on the former Bay Ridge’s $27 all-day fee could have become redundant: It would have required eight trips around the nine-hole course – and maybe eight double-bogeys on the par-3 second hole?

But for those who’ve tried it, how tiring was it?

“That’s not nearly as arduous as what you would think,” said Mike Herlache, executive director of the Door County Medical Center Foundation, who has played 72 holes in all but one of the first 26 Door County Medical Center Golf Marathon events. This year’s marathon takes place Aug. 30 – and there’s already no space for more players.

The rules of the hospital-fundraiser marathon limit players to one practice swing per shot, but Herlache said many ditch the practice altogether, which saves time and energy.

Also limiting fatigue, the three-person teams in the marathon start out with an alternate-shot “speed round.” Jack Jackson, who hosts the event at The Orchards of Egg Harbor, said that during that first round, two team members often take off down the cart path while the third is teeing off. One drives to the ball in the landing area, and the other is near the green by the time the approach shot lands.

That initial speed round lasts about an hour and a half, Herlache said. “We have four different formats. It usually takes eight and a half or nine hours to get through the four formats. We’ve got a use-your-own-ball round. There’s also a best ball [best score per player], and we also have a scramble.

Herlache said that, in general, playing so fast “isn’t conducive to good golf,” but that’s not the goal.

“It is real golf, but you’re trying to play as fast as you can play and score as well as you can,” he said. “We provide everybody with a dozen golf balls to start. We don’t want people going to look for lost balls. If you shoot one into the woods, we just want you to go up to where it went in and drop another ball and keep playing.” 

However, some people have had scores as low as three or four over par on their own ball.

Jackson said that providing all of the carts necessary for such a big outing poses a challenge to his staff members and volunteers. The course has 60 electric carts and brings in several more gas carts. The electric carts aren’t designed to last more than 36 holes, so after the first two rounds, his cart crew has 30 carts ready to exchange with the first 30 electric carts. The gas carts can last for the entire round.

The golfers – between 15 and 17 three-person teams – usually raise a minimum of $5,000 or up to $23,000, as last year’s top fundraisers did. The foundation staff raises a portion of the goal for the event, but the golfers do most of the legwork and talk with donors, team sponsors, golfer sponsors and major sponsors. The teams compete to raise the most funds, and winners can reap cash prizes or a set of golf clubs.

“We have food at the turn all day long,” Herlache said. “We’ve got every kind of snack you can think of, and beer and soda.”

At the end of the round, the organizers send the golfers home with a take-home dinner.

Charity Outings Are in Great Demand

Alas, there’s no room for more teams or players in the hospital foundation golf marathon – at least as of June 30. Those interested in adding their names to the growing waiting list – or donating to this year’s cause – can call the foundation office at 920.746.1071 or visit

Each year, the marathon raises about $150,000 – which makes more than $2 million to date. This year’s proceeds will go to the hospital’s Behavioral Health Campaign.

“We’re trying to improve access to behavioral health,” Herlache said, noting that fundraising can help the hospital to hire therapists, a psychologist and hopefully a psychiatrist.

In addition to the marathon, the cancer-fighting Queen for a Day golf outing at Idlewild in June had a waiting list of players. Other events with full or nearly full fields include the Boys and Girls Club of Door County’s Celebrity Golf Outing at Horseshoe Bay and the Little Eddie Big Cup at Peninsula State Park Golf Course. 

On a rainy Monday, the Jim Sarkis Memorial Golf Classic at Horseshoe Bay had a full field: 30 teams, 120 golfers and a waiting list of others who wanted to play. And Megan Sarkis said rain did not stop the event, which has raised more than $26,000 during its previous best years for various causes. A highlight of the day was Dave Lundquist’s miss, by eight inches, of a hole-in-one that would have won him a trip to Scotland.

Sarkis said she believes sponsors and golfers like golf outings because they’re a fun and fairly simple way to support a cause.

“I think people want to help, and they’re not sure how to get started,” she said.

As for the Jim Sarkis Memorial Golf Classic, Sarkis said it was great that many of the golfers and more than 30 additional supporters were able to visit the new indoor and outdoor dining and lounge facilities in the newly expanded Horseshoe Bay clubhouse.