Playing for Life goes the distance | ParkRecord.com

Playing for Life goes the distance

Local golf pros played 100 holes to raise money

By Griffin Adams
The Park Record

The sun had yet to rise, but Cynthia Brown had already taken her first swing on Wednesday.

"We teed off in pitch black," said Brown, a Ladies Professional Golf Association golf professional at Park City Golf Course, who was joined by some of her fellow local professionals. "You don't even know where your ball is."

It's not atypical for golfers to want to get a round going early in the morning, especially in the summertime, but Wednesday morning on the Pete Dye Canyon Course at Promontory was a special instance. The four pros — which also included Tom Rogers (Promontory), Vaughn Robinson (Park City Golf Club) and Jake Hanley (Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club) — were participating in the eighth annual 100 Holes of Golf event.

The group played 100 holes in a row to raise money at the event, which was planned by the Playing for Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Park City that raises funds to benefit breast cancer research for the purpose of finding a cure, early detection, survivor care, support and treatment, per its website.

Brown, also Chair of the organization, said the event, though exhausting, was easy to get through when remembering the end goal.

"I tell everybody each year; we stand [on the 100th hole and] we're going to feel better tomorrow," Brown said. "The people that we're playing for are not going to feel better tomorrow. We just need to keep pushing."

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While some may not view golf as an exhausting sport, those same people most likely have never played 100 holes consecutively before, Brown said. Not only does the sport require a great amount of physical strength to perform swing after swing, but golf — depending on who you ask — is more of a mental game than anything.

The group was playing at a fast pace in order to finish as quickly as possible (Promontory even provided faster karts for the group to use), and Brown said the quick play tested her mental mettle numerous times.

"You have to adjust," Brown said. "We know that there's no routines involved. We are trying to play fast. We started out playing our first 18 [holes] in an hour and 40 minutes. Our next [18 holes] were an hour and 45 minutes. You do start to slow a little bit, but this pace is fast.

"You've just gotta keep going. I would say that plays a huge mental part, to have to keep going so fast."

Ninety-eight percent of the money raised during Wednesday's event, as well as the other tournaments that Playing for Life will host throughout the year, were donated to local organizations involved with breast cancer research, survivor care and early detection.

Brown said that through the foundation's fundraising efforts last year, it was also able to offer 75 mammograms to women in the community. When asked why she does this every year, the answer was easy for Brown.

"Our goal, more than anything else, is to find a cure for this disease in our lifetime," she said. "We fight really hard to do that. We all are volunteers, and we work hard for it. We've already changed so many women’s lives through our events that we do."

The event has picked up momentum in recent years. In its eight years of existence, 100 Holes of Golf have every time doubled the amount Brown and company aimed to make. This year, though it's still crunching numbers, is expected to double the predetermined goal yet again.

The event is sponsored by companies such as Riverhorse, Saltz Plastic Surgery, Sportsman Warehouse and UPS, to name a few, and each is willing to donate a certain amount for the results of the four golfers.

"We have a lot of sponsors right now, which is why every shot is important," Brown said. "We're being sponsored for pars, birdies, eagles and hole-in-ones."

In its 12th year of fundraising, the Playing for Life Foundation, which will also host its Swinging for Life Greatest Race on Aug. 2 and the 19th Hole Gala at Riverhorse on Aug. 3, hopes to reach a significant milestone in terms of money raised after all its fundraisers are complete.

"[The Swinging for Life Greatest Race and 19th Hole Gala] are our final fundraisers and we're hopefully going to hit a million dollars this year," Brown said. "That would be our total since we started raising money for our causes."

With the loyal sponsors who have relationships with the Playing for Life Foundation, the Park City community and the nature of breast cancer, the events will continue for years to come, Brown expects.

"This is a cause that's very near and dear to so many people," Brown said. "One in seven people will be stricken with this disease in their lifetime. The chances of you knowing someone — your parents or your sister — there's always going to be someone.

"I think that that's why this has such momentum. It hits home hard."