Westfield resident Kevin Vedder proved he has what it takes to go the distance to raise funds and awareness for the disorder, which his son Seamus was diagnosed with at the age of three.
On July 1, the father of three played 108 holes of golf as part of the Hundred Hole Hike, a national network of golf marathons during which participants plan to walk 100 or more holes of golf in one day to raise money for a variety of charitable causes. Vedder surpassed his goal of raising $9,000 for Els for Autism by more than 20 percent.
"It was a great day," said Vedder, who started the Hike shortly after 4:30 a.m. at Rockaway River Country Club in Denville amid light rain and completed it just before 8 p.m. "Having family and friends on hand made the day very special."
Joining the golfer on the course, family members and friends caddied for him and kept him company. Vedder's wife, Suzanne, decorated the course with inspirational signs as well as a 2 ft x 3 ft photo collage of pictures of Seamus, the inspiration for his Hike.
On his blog recapping the experience, Vedder shared some interesting statistics about his near-15-hour golf experience:
Holes played: 108
Average score: 93.8
High score: 98
Low score: 90
Slowest Round: 2hrs, 13 min
Fastest Round: 1 hr, 58 min
Balls lost: 11
Balls in Rockaway River: 1
Three putts: stopped counting
Shirt changes: 4
Sock changes: 4
Shoe changes: 2
Showers taken: 2
Total elapsed time: 14 hrs, 43 min
20 oz Gatorades consumed: 7
Weight lost in preparation: 21 lbs
"All in all, it was a great day," Vedder wrote on the site. "I’m extremely thankful for the support Suzanne gave me both in preparation and on Hike day, as well as that of my loopers. I literally would not have been able to do it without them. I salute the folks who walked with me or stopped by throughout the day to offer encouragement. It meant a lot. I’d like to also thank the management and staff of Rockaway River Country Club, who allowed me the use of their beautiful course for the day."
Despite aches in his feet and back, and severe unanticipated shin splints, the golfer is unwavering in his commitment to the cause. He concluded his blog by asking, "How long till the 2014 Hike?"