World Record Broken to Raise Money for College Team
The University of Cailifornia at Santa Barbara had qualified for the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships, but they still had another feat ahead of them. The NCDGC is hosted in North Augusta, South Carolina. They needed to help raise money so they could make the trip. Team Captain, Mike Sale, had an idea to help the Gauchos. There was a world record out there that he had been thinking about, the most disc golf holes played in one day. What better way accomplish this great feat than doing it to help get your team to the crowning event of collegiate disc golf. There was a lot more involved than he initially thought, but he kept at it and organized the event and his attempt. Sale captured the experience in this first hand account of one amazing day playing this sport we all love.
The event helped raise the necessary funding and the UCSB Gauchos made it to the National Championships. The team finished tied for 15th and Mike finished 2nd in the Individual Competition, earning First-Team All-American honors.
First Hand World Record Attempt
by Mike Sale
The day before the event, I spent the entire day in Isla Vista, at my teammate, Mike Schnell’s house. All I did was hydrate, rest, eat pasta, and watch movies all day long. I headed back to my dorm around 11:00 PM to try to fall asleep and rest before the attempt, but did not end up falling asleep until around 2:00 AM.
Morning arrived quickly, and anticipation was running high. My ride arrived at around 7:30, and the event was scheduled to start at 9. While my teammates set up all of our materials at the picnic table and got everything we needed for evidence gathering, I sat in the car, eating one final bowl of pasta for breakfast and mentally preparing myself. While there, I listened to some music to get me pumped up, and focused myself on the goal for the day, 1306 holes. I also wrote four things on my arm to carry with me for the day.
- “The only limit is the one you set for yourself.”
- “The will to win comes from within.”
- “#76” (Wedding Crashers – Rule Number 76, no excuses, play like a champion)
- Lastly, I drew a cross, right on my wrist.
Those were carried with me all day, and mentally helped me immensely.
The course was laid out in two loops essentially. There is loop 1-5; here I used a Discraft Z Comet. There is about a 350 foot gap between holes 5 and 6, which, by PDGA rules I had to walk during the round. But, on the way back, between holes 9 and 1, I was allowed to use a bicycle, this was crucial to my success. This took me off my feet for 8 miles of the 78 miles I traveled over the day. The other loop, 6-9 was set up so that 6 and 9 are parallel. And across the street from 6, 7 and 8 sit parallel as well. A Discraft Z Predator was my disc of choice for the second loop.
When it came to start, I simply stretched and stepped up to my first hole, ready to go. There was nothing to be nervous about now. This was a marathon not a sprint. The first five holes I played actually didn’t count because we had some time trouble getting the right camera documentation. Five birdies wiped out really quick. But, it was a good warm-up and it got any jitters out that I may have had. I ran the first four hours of the event, then walked for the next hour (for rest) and I was cruising. In the first six hours, I played 433 holes (72 holes/hour). At any point where I needed water, food, etc., I would ask my teammates. When I passed the picnic table between holes 5 and 6, I would grab anything I needed from them.
For the most part, throughout the day we always had volunteers helping out and taking some of the work off the shoulders of my teammates. Volunteers each had a putter. They would go to the basket at which I was throwing at, and wherever my disc landed, they would run to it. There, they would mark my lie, hand me my putter, and pick my disc up for me. If I made the putt, they would hand me back either my Comet or Predator, then clear the putter from the basket, then go to the next hole that they were helping out on. The wonderful volunteers were the biggest boost that I had throughout the day. Everyone was extraordinarily helpful and really kept me inspired.
The Sunset was scheduled for 5:32 PM that day. We officially started at 9:18 AM, giving me around eight hours of daylight. I managed to run about 6 of the 8 hours of daylight I was given, taking full advantage. I wanted to be way ahead of pace going into nighttime, so that I could walk my way until sunrise.
The first eight hours were a lot of fun. My primary motivation was to pile on as many aces as I could possibly manage. My first came within 100 holes of the start, which was awesome and made the rest of the day look like there would be many more to come. Unfortunately, all day I was chaining out and hitting metal, nothing would stick. My next ace actually didn’t come until it was dark. After the sun went down, my trek got much more difficult. I wasn’t in it for the aces anymore; I just wanted to press on as far as I possibly could. At night, we taped lights to the bottom of my discs and had lights on the baskets.
The first few hours of night weren’t at all bad; I rolled through them with the help of several volunteers keeping me going. I was walking from then on, but still taking very minimal breaks, constantly playing as much golf as I could sustain. Difficulty began at around 9 o’clock. It had been twelve hours, I was starting to feel fatigue, and I was about 750 holes through. Mentally, I was starting to fade. Volunteers became more scarce, only one or two at a time. My teammates were still decently fresh, but they were fading as well.
I remember thinking to myself that there is no way I’m only half way through this journey, and I have another 12 hours to go. I thought to myself that I was insane. How did I ever put myself in this position? Why did I want to put my body through this? I put these thoughts behind me, and carried on. There is no way I can stop now. I have so many people supporting me and pushing me to the finish line; if I stopped then I wouldn’t only be disappointing myself, I would be letting down everyone who had faith in me during this process. Plus, there was no way that I was about to throw away 12 hours of work. If I believed I could do it; there was nothing stopping me.
I stayed strong until about 4:30 AM. This was the absolute low point of my 24 hour attempt. I felt dead. My legs were reluctant to move, the blisters on my feet were unimaginably painful to walk on. Every step brought pain. My muscles were tightening up and resisting any movement I wanted to make. Stepping on my feet felt like I was being stabbed by little needles. It was extraordinarily difficult. I had no volunteers from 3:30-5:00 AM. It was only me and my three other teammates. They were as dead as I was. They took shifts of sleeping and helping me get through the course. It was as difficult to press through the course for them as it was for me. The words of encouragement and motivation had run out. I couldn’t form any sentences at this point, and responded to people only by nodding my head yes or no. My deliriousness was setting in, fast.
At 5:00, I was saved by two of my friends showing up. First, was my friend Chandler who I often play rounds with. He was stopped by as he was heading to work at 6:00 AM, and showed up just as I was crashing. 5 o’clock brought my longest break of the day, a whopping seven minutes. In those seven minutes, Chandler asked me how I was doing, and if I was going to do it. I simply put my head into my hands and shook my head, responding “I don’t know.” The uncertainty dominated in my head. I didn’t know whether I had the mental or physical strength to carry on anymore. Chandler came next to me, told me I was 20 hours through and that I had 20 more rounds to complete, and four hours to do it. He loosened me up with a little massage, gave me a pep talk, and after those seven minutes passed, I mustered enough strength to get off the bench, and was determined to finish these last four hours strong.
After taking the break, my teammates came alive because of Chandler, they saw how much I was struggling, and started to pep up and bring me to the finish. One round after Chandler’s reviving appearance, my teammate from the UCSB Ultimate team, Black Tide, showed up. It was around 5:15 when Bill got there, ready to run and help out as much as he could. Bill brought me alive and kept me going until sunrise. He echoed words of encouragement that I had been hearing all day, just urging me to make it to sunrise, claiming that the sun would give me the energy to finish. He was right.
Sunrise came at 6:42 AM, Monday morning. The light almost made it seem like I was waking up. It signified the beginning of the end of this journey and it gave me another burst. The sun’s rays were getting brighter, and at the pace I was going, it was clear that as long as I carried on, the record would be mine. At about 7:00 AM, I had eight rounds to go, which meant that all I had to do was maintain a fifteen minute per round pace, and I would be the new world record holder. Around this time, some volunteers started to gather once again. For the last five or so rounds, I had about a half dozen volunteers out there to help me finish. The emotional and mental support was overwhelming. I was severely limping but the only thing I could do was carry on.
Those last rounds were very difficult physically, but mentally I knew that I was about to break a world record. Something not many people can say they’ve done. When I finally got to the last round, about 10-15 people had gathered. My teammates were taking tons of pictures, and videotaping the whole thing. It was a struggle, but I actually got 8 out of 9 birdies in that final round. I was now throwing with my torso and arms only. My teammates told me that it looked like I was solely spinning around, and just using the leverage to let the disc fly, rather than actually throwing.
The record breaking hole came on the first hole of round 146. I put my drive about 25 feet short of the hole. After hobbling to my disc, I lined up for my putt. I nailed it! The 25-footer for deuce came with an overwhelming rush of emotions. What I had just done hadn’t really sunk in yet, but the relief that I could sit down for more than seven minutes, and relax was an amazing thought. My original gameplan was that I was going to beat the record by one hole, then stop due to exhaustion. But, I finished the loop of 5 instead, carding birdies on three of them. There was still fifteen minutes left in the 24-hour window, but I had broken the record and couldn’t go any longer. I sat down, letting the lactic acid sit in my muscles, and relaxed for the first time in a full day as the last few minutes ticked off the clock. At this point, I was legitimately fully exhausted. I could not stand up on my own. I almost fell asleep at the picnic bench, but there was too much energy in the crowd and the adrenaline of accomplishment kept me up.
I called my mom to tell her I had broken the record. She could only talk briefly as she was just starting her day in a meeting at work. I told her that it was the hardest thing I had ever done and that there was no way I’d ever do it again. She told me how proud she was and thanked me for calling. My teammates, the volunteers, and I hung out for a few minutes. We we’re all extremely tired, but it seemed like we needed to stay, at least for a few minutes. After everything was packed up, we were ready to go and the longest day of my life was done.
I had to be carried to the car, and later, carried from the car to the couch. It took me around an hour to fall asleep. I was so physically exhausted that I was shaking for about thirty minutes before my body calmed down and allowed me to go to sleep. At about 10:30, I drifted off for the first nap. I slept in sporadic spurts for the majority of the day. I did not move unless I had to go to the bathroom, which I also had to be carried to. At around 11:00 PM that night, we went to Jack-In-The-Box to get something to eat. I used a baseball bat as a cane, and that was the first time I had stood up since finishing the feat that morning.
The support that my friends and teammates provided me with was the main reason I achieved what I was after. Without them, I would have been lucky to get to 1,000 holes. I am truly eternally grateful to every single person who helped in the process, and I could never repay the motivation that they provided me.
Although the world record attempt was meant to raise money for our trip to the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships, it was more an attempt for me. I believe that the human body has so much potential that we never tap and I wanted to prove that. I wanted to show people that if you set your mind to something that you want, it doesn’t matter how difficult it is, it is obtainable. You can achieve the impossible, and when it really comes down to it, it’s really all about how much you will fight for it, and what you’re willing to do to reach your goal. I was presented with this chance. Many people told me that it was impossible, that I was crazy to even think that I could achieve this. But if you never go for the chances you are presented in life, you never know what your life could’ve been like or how it would’ve changed if you had taken those chances.
- Start - 9:18 AM 2/10/13
- Stop - 9:03 AM 2/11/13
- Length of Daylight - 10 hours 59 minutes
- Sunset 2/10/13 - 5:32 PM
- Sunrise 2/11/13 - 6:42 AM
- Holes Played -1310
- Bogeys - 16
- Birdies -1009
- Pars - 283
- Aces - 2 (Hole 94 and 631)
- Chain-Outs - 11
- Metal Hits - 6
- Worst Round - 2 under
- Best Round - 10 under (Round 11)
- Average Round - 20.06
- Birdies Averaged Per Round - 6.939
- Total Score - 998 Under
- Total Throws - 2932
- Distance Traveled - 78.1 Miles
- Distanced Biked - 8 Miles
- Perfect Rounds - 9, 11 (-10), 15, 35, 36, 43, 61, 73, 75, 92, 108, 131 (12 total)
- -8 Rounds - 45
- -7 Rounds - 34
- -6 Rounds - 30
- -5 Rounds - 14
- -4 Rounds - 7
- -3 Rounds - 3 (including last round which I only played 5 holes)
- -2 Rounds - 1
- Longest Break - 7 Minutes
- Times I wanted to quit - 12 hours in, 17 hours in, and most especially 20 hours in.
- Pairs of Socks used - 3 (1 short cut, 2 smart wool)
- Pairs of Shoes used - 1
- Discs Used - 2 (Comet (1-5) and Predator (6-9) up until the last 4 hours, then Predator all 9 holes + Putters that were being handed to me by Volunteers
- Volunteers Used ~ 20
- Most Birdies in a row - 22 (round 34-36)
- Hole Birdied most consecutive rounds - 35 times, hole 8, round 62-97
- 8 Bogeys, 40 Pars, 97 Birdies, 1 Ace. Total Throws - 346 Avg Score - 2.37
- 1 Bogey, 44 Pars, 101 Birdies. Total Throws - 338 Avg Score - 2.31
- 1 Bogey, 31 Pars, 114 Birdies. Total Throws - 325 Avg Score - 2.22
- 1 Bogey, 23 Pars, 122 Birdies, 1 Ace. Total Throws - 315 Avg Score - 2.15
- 30 Pars, 116 Birdies. Total Throws - 322. Avg Score - 2.20
- 4 Bogeys, 54 Pars, 87 Birdies. Total Throws - 352. Avg Score - 2.42
- 30 Pars, 115 Birdies. Total Throws - 320. Avg Score - 2.20
- 9 Pars, 136 Birdies. Total Throws - 299. Avg Score - 2.06
- 1 Bogey, 45 Pars, 99 Birdies. Total Throws - 337. Avg Score - 2.32
Score on Record Breaking Hole - Birdie!!