Golfing across Mongolia -

1,230km in!

Ron Rutland, Chamber Roving Ambassador reporting.

"It's incredible when you're completely engaged and involved so absolutely in something just how rewarding and fulfilling the experience can be, but it's also important to step back from time to time to evaluate and appreciate the journey to date; or more simply, find an excuse for a day off!

 

 

Yesterday, day 48 since our T-Off on 29 June high up in the Altai Mountains of Tavan Bogd National Park, at the base camp of Mongolia's highest and most western peak, marked the first day in 25 that we have managed a much needed day off from the relentlessness of hauling, hacking, and otherwise chipping away at our goal of completing The Longest Hole in Golf.

On the subject of numbers, we've now golfed over 1,200km (of the estimated 2,000km final hole length), in 48 of the 80 days planned, played 13,000 shots, and lost (only!!) 71 balls.

Most rewardingly though, is that over $12,000 has now been raised for Laureus Sport for Good, and the SA Golf Development Board, by the incredible efforts and generosity of so many people and organisations that have bought a charity golf ball via our website.  It's humbling beyond words, and an incredible boost to team spirits when the going gets tough!

In terms of the expedition itself, as with any adventure big or small, it's certainly had some extreme highs and some testing times. The highs of being able to walk across time zones of a country as vast as Mongolia and truly experience some of the most awe inspiring and changing landscapes imaginable, night after night of sleeping under cloudless light-pollution free skies, countless 'conversations' and interactions and meals with generous and warm locals, meeting people from all over the world living life via adventures of their own, and the joy in some small way of spreading the gospel of golf and sport in general!

The challenges of hauling fully laden carts and golfing up and down treacherous and rocky mountain passes, trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to avoid the mid day desert heat, for me at least, being a vegan in one of the most carnivorous countries on the planet, battling swarms of mosquitos, and the general fatigue and aches and pains brought on by the sheer volume of work required to complete the expedition before our visas expire, are all long forgotten and fortunately ultimately outweighed by the highs! Although at times, this is easy to forget!

We're also delighted to welcome back Andrew King onto the expedition for the next week, who is filming content for a documentary we're working hard at putting together (any distribution ideas and leads gratefully received by the way!), and will also be adding enormous value with his photographic genius...so keep an eye on our social media pages detailed at the end of this email.
 

Team of 3 - and more

As mentioned in previous updates, the 'we' in The Longest Hole team, now includes not only a caddy and golfer, but also an adopted dog we've imaginatively named UB (after Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Monogolia and the location of the Mt Bogd Golf Club, where we'll be putting out on 16 Sept, and to where at this stage anyway, it seems UB will walk with us to!). He's certainly got a lot of grit and determination for an old boy, and other than the fact that he hasn't yet learned to find golf balls, certainly adds value as a guard dog when we leave our cart alone!

We've also though been overwhelmed by the support of so many sponsors, partners, charity stakeholders, and incredible individuals, both at home and here on the ground in Mongolia, without whose support this challenge would not only be a lot harder, but impossible to have taken on in it's current format...so to the wider Team Longest Hole, thank you again a 1,000 times over!

 

Upcoming events

Without getting ahead of ourselves, for anyone who happens to be in UB over the weekend of the 16/17 Sept, or who'd like to come out to Monogolia to experience some of this most incredible country, and experience some 'extreme golf' and other countless adventures available out here, please do join us for the final few km's of our expedition into Mt Bogd Golf Club on the 16th September (and subsequent celebrations of course!). There is already an enthusiastic team coming out from Hong Kong earlier in the week to join the local UB contingent for the weekend, so should be good fun! Drop me a mail with any questions!

And for anyone in South Africa keen on golf, please keep the 6th Oct free...more news to follow in next newsletter!

 

Stay in touch and more pics

Putting this newsletter together on a mobile phone isn't easy for a technophobe like myself, so excuse the lack of pics, but Adam, our social media lead, has been great at updating our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram stuff, so please visit The Longest Hole on any of those platforms for more visuals from Mongolia...and as always, please feel free to reply or stay in comms via email, and will reply as and when have connectivity!"