Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Retiree, 78, to play 50 courses in 50 states

IF IT'S A day ending in "y," then it must be . . . well, one more round of golf in yet another state.

IF IT'S A day ending in "y," then it must be . . . well, one more round of golf in yet another state.

Remember Harry Scott? Three years ago the retired CPA from Somers Point, N.J., attended baseball games in all 30 major league stadiums in as many days, 14 years after he'd done the 28 at that time in 28 days.

Now, at 78, he's in the process of playing a golf course in each state in 50 days. Fore please.

"I like to do things," Scott said. "It just seems like a fun thing to do.

"It's not going to be easy."

You think?

This journey began May 1 at Connecticut National in Putnam. The New Jersey stop was Tuesday at McCullough's Emerald Links in Egg Harbor Township, where he works as a part-time ranger and also plays three times a week. On Wednesday, he'll be in Northeast Philadelphia, at Torresdale-Frankford Country Club, the lone private facility on the list.

His penultimate tee time is in Hawaii at Ko'olau, some 20 minutes from Waikiki in eastern Oahu. According to its website, Ko'olau is considered one of the country's toughest courses. Then he'll finish on June 19 in Alaska at Settlers Bay in Sarah Palin's hometown of Wasilla, a suburb of Anchorage. Since that's one of the longest days of the year, he's not starting until 8 p.m. But up there the sun won't go down until about 1 a.m.

"I know if I get there, everybody else is going to be there," Scott said. "I'm sure [Palin] will make a cameo appearance at least. Especially if there's TV cameras. Two famous people, right?"

Except for Hawaii and Alaska, he's driving the entire way. He'll put nearly 11,000 miles on the odometer, most of it in a rental car, with the longest stretch being 644 from South Lake Tahoe, Calif., to Portland, Ore. The shortest was 13, last week from Putnam to Mapleville, R.I. And he'll fly 5,448 more, which doesn't even count the additional 1,449 getting back to Seattle from Alaska, or the 2,616-mile drive home from there. Good thing his sister Gladys is accompanying him on that part of the trip.

"She wants to see Mount Rushmore, which I've seen," Scott said. "She's looking forward to it. If Kansas City or the Cubs or Indians are home, I'd probably stop and watch a ballgame. But with her, maybe not.

"A lot of my tee times are at 8 in the morning. After that I jump in the car and go to the next city. If I get there in time, maybe I'll catch a minor league game."

Virtually the whole time, he's going to have somebody by his side.

"It's different people," said Scott, who lost his wife 5 years ago but has five daughters, three sons, 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. "I just signed up another guy, at church, who's going to do like 12 days through the middle of it. I'm playing with my brother's brother-in-law in Maryland and Virginia. When I get to Georgia I'm staying at my granddaughter's house and playing with her husband. In North Carolina I have a grandson who's a chef at a golf course. So I'll stay with him one night and play with him."

When Scott - who has almost every Sporting News from 1964 to '85 autographed by the people on the cover - came up with this idea, it wasn't exactly endorsed by some family members.

"They said, 'You can't do that. You'll kill yourself. It's not good for you,' " he recalled. "I was just sitting around the house thinking what I was going to do this spring and summer, you know. I can't tell you why. It's just something different. I know I can play golf 50 days in a row. When I get toward the end, the adrenaline's going to be flowing.

"People think I'm going to get tired. The last 10, I think it'll be just the opposite. Maybe if I was older. That's why I want to do this while I'm still young, if you know what I mean."

He says this was easier than scheduling those baseball itineraries.

"Because of the [starting] times and teams only being home half the time," he explained. "You can't go to KC if the Royals are playing in Anaheim. For this I just went to each state and looked for golf in the city I wanted to play near. I picked courses where the white [member] tees were about 6,000 [yards]. I don't have a tee time at every course. I contacted them all, but a lot wouldn't let me make one this far out.

"A lot of them are happy I'm coming. I'm not sure all of them quite understand the enormity of what I'm doing yet. Some said to call a day or two before. There's all kinds of situations. The guy in North Dakota wants me to come on his radio show. I guess I'll get a lot of different receptions."

It would obviously help if Mother Nature cooperated. Should we bring up that priest scene from "Caddyshack"?

"If it rains, I'm [still] playing," he said. "The only time I'm not is if they close the course because it's too wet. Then I've got a problem. Lightning only keeps it closed for awhile. If the guy I'm with doesn't want to play, he can wait."

Scott has had shirts made, with the name of every course, for his playing partners. But the only souvenir he wants is a scorecard signed by the pro at every course.

"I'm not going to embarrass myself," said Scott, who admits to shooting in the low 90s. "I may pick up after a double [bogey] or triple. I'm not just showing up to play three or four holes. I just refuse to play the senior tees. Except for the one in Honolulu. It's supposed to be real stout. So I'll do the golds for that course only.

"I haven't asked anyone for a comp. Some have said they will. If they do they do. However, when they see their name on the back of the shirt, and they're going to be famous, maybe they'll change their mind."

We'll have to see if Sarah agrees.