Starting over a week before the actual event was to begin, local sportscaster Mark Ovenden has completed what many thought was impossible, the 1000-hole challenge. “To be honest, this probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve had. All I can really say is I’m glad it’s finally over.”

Surviving purely on candy bars and Bud Light, Ovenden began the challenge 9 days ago and played straight through for the charity event. “I was able to get through the first 10 rounds with relative ease,” Ovenden said with a slight chuckle. “That sounds like a lot, but if you think about it, you still have 820 holes to go after that!”

“Things become a challenge after sunset. Holes are difficult to see and you spend more time searching for your ball than you actually do golfing.” Ovenden explained. “The blurred vision after the 8th day doesn’t help either.”

In addition to the darkness, other obstacles come out during the night. “Bobcats pose the greatest threat, but I make sure I spray male bobcat urine on myself after the sun goes down. I remind myself it’s for the kids!” While the bobcats are rare in this part of South Dakota, much more prevalent are the racoons, and they sometimes mistake golf balls for a quick snack.

To help expedite the challenge before succumbing to dehydration and exhaustion, temporary lighting was installed on day 5 to ease gameplay. Medical staff was also on hand to ensure no permanent medial harm fell upon anyone.

When all was said and done, Ovenden shot a 4512, or a 572 over par. “The first few rounds I was well under par, but once the blisters and heat exhaustion set it, my game really started to slip.”
In all, Ovenden was able to raise $2,500 for Junior Achievement. Expenses linked to the temporary lighting, medical staff and golf cart repair cost the charity $40,000 over the course of the event.

The Sioux Falls Headliner