Monday, 25 June 2012

Interview With Fellow 10-Rounder, Josh Marris

As I prepare both body and mind for torture on the links come Wednesday, I thought it would be wise to seek counsel from someone who knew what I am about to go through.

Some of you will know the name Josh Marris, from my previous blog talking about his 10-round challenge last year. I caught up with Josh over the weekend to ask him some questions to help me get my head around doing the same thing on Wednesday. Enjoy:

JK:  Afternoon Josh, thanks for your time. You did a 10-round challenge last year. What was the idea and motivation behind the challenge?

JM: My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in April last year. I was away playing golf tournaments on the other side of the country at the time and managed to see her for a day in amongst all that a day after she had one of her breast removed. I felt pretty helpless about the situation and while driving on the highway one day in the middle of nowhere, I decided I wanted to do something that would challenge me in a way similar to the challenge ahead for my mum. Thoughts of the Kokoda Trail came to mind, shaving my head as Mum was going to be bald...all sorts of things...but none of them seemed right. I wanted to do something with my golf too that would push me and then it came to golf for 24 hours straight. I  found a club that wanted to get involved and offered the course for me to do it, and for promotional purposes it was the marketing guy who came up with the idea of setting a number of rounds as the challenge. At first I thought six or eight, but after talking with some people and friends about it, I decided on setting 10 rounds as the target.

JK: Certainly a worthy effort and cause. Obviously 10 rounds is a tall order for any golfer, what was the most rounds you had played prior to the day?

JM: Only two rounds...36 holes in one day. It was something I regularly did on Mondays as part of my PGA Apprenticeship.

JK: Wow, so how do you train/prepare for the day?

JM: I chose not to train. The idea was not to complete the challenge and feel energized or strengthened by it. The purpose was to push my body, to do something that would challenge body and mind without any preparation. The only preparation was in terms of my diet in the days leading up to the challenge. I stayed away from alcohol and fatty foods, drank more water than I usually would. I played 9 holes of golf at night once to try out the glow-in-the-dark golf balls and see how navigating the course would be.

JK: No training?! Not sure I could have done the same. When it came to it, what was the challenge day like?

JM: It was a bit cool when I hit off at 6am, but the sun soon came out. By the middle of the day and early afternoon it was quite hot. I found myself continually pouring half a bottle of water into my cap and over my head to keep my head from overheating. The night time was pretty good, a few clouds about but could still see some stars out too.

JK: How did your game hold up throughout the day?

JM: The game was actually pretty good and it surprised me. I shot 8 under in my 5th round, the last of the daylight rounds, and I did it while jogging between shots completing the round in about 90 minutes. Round 7 I think was where the fatigue was really kicking in. My whole body was aching, especially my feet, and I started hitting quite a few bad shots. I could feel my swing wasn't too good. But I managed to finish strongly in the final round.

JK: 8 under?! Really sounds like you were struggling (!). Impressive stuff. What is one thing from the day that you didn't anticipate/prepare for?

JM: How much food and drink I would need. I though a few bottles of water, a couple pieces of fruit and a couple sandwiches would do. Fortunately I had Vic Park (where I did the challenge) provide any food and drink that I needed...and I had a lot more than expected. I documented it all on my website if you want to have a look there.

JK: Don't worry, I have checked it out and prepared accordingly. Back to the day itself, what was the hardest thing physically about the day?

JM: The walk. The course had an elevation change of about 50m from highest to lowest points, and there were some nasty climbs. The worst was on the 13th hole, an incline of about 30-40 degrees for 80 meters or so which I nicknamed 'heartbreak hill'.

JK: Surely, any golf course with a stretch named "heartbreak hill" should be avoided for a 10-round challenge. After the challenge, what was your body like the following days?

JM: The body was seriously hurting. The rest of day after completing the challenge wasn't too bad, but it was the second and third days after it that my body pretty much shut down. I could barely walk...was walking like a 90-year-old war veteran...the blisters on my feet were huge and I had a couple of them burst which made putting any weight on my feet almost impossible.

JK: Great. Maybe could have done without knowing that... gulp. Now that the challenge is in the past, what have people's reaction been like?

JM: I received a lot of support leading up to, during, and after the event. I have had several people approach me since doing it (even a friend of mine a couple weeks ago who just heard about it) and I have received a lot of congratulations from people and comments of how inspiring it was. I still hear from some people about it now which is pretty cool. Before the challenge I had a PGA friend of mine (who worked with my uncle at the time) tell my uncle that I was 'all sorts of crazy and wouldn't complete the ten rounds'. This comment served as motivation to complete the challenge and after completing it he was one of the first to congratulate me. The comment he made was never meant to be a put-down or anything like that, but he just thought something like this was 'NUTS'.

JK: Haha, nice to prove people like that wrong. I remember telling a group of my grandpa's friends about my challenge last year, and they voted 9 to 2 that they thought the idea of the 10-round challenge at Mortonhall Golf Club was impossible.

So with 3 days to go for me, what's your advice for the day?

JM: Try not to think about it too much. Don't wear your body out by playing too much golf. It is going to be a long day and you're not doing this for the golf score. Take one hole at a time, stay hydrated, and if you can, get some supporters to come walk and/or play with you throughout the day. Their support and simple conversation with them will help you to get through the holes and will serve as a motivating force.

JK: Noted. Although 6 rounds last week and the onset of shin splints is making me think I should have asked you earlier... oh well!

Before I let you go, I need to know... what will you give me if I make a hole-in-one on the day?

JM: A giant sloppy wet kiss when you come visit me in the US, haha.
JK: Ok. So here's hoping for no hole-in-ones! 

Thanks a lot for your time mate, great motivation for me and appreciate your time. All the best to you and your Mum. Talk soon!

JM: My pleasure mate. All the best with your challenge and I look forward to hearing all about it.

Still plenty of time to donate, or enter the Mizuno "Guess My Score" competition. Keep the support coming, it really does make a massive difference.

2 days...

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