Posted: July 10, 2015 10:25 pm
[youtube id=”chuf9L9cyuk”]The question popped into my head earlier this week when I realized I was logging an average of about 15,000-plus steps a day — according to the Fitbit watch my wife surprised me with last Christmas — while out covering the U.S. Women’s Open along with my colleagues.
I wonder what it would be like for a spectator following one golfer for all 18 holes at Lancaster Country Club?
How many total steps — and miles — would that amount to from Hole No. 1 to Hole No. 18? After all, the official distance of the course on Friday was listed at 6,289 yards, which equals about three-and-a-half miles. But that’s the distance from the tees to the holes. Surely, for a fan walking from hole-to-hole, alongside the fairways, and traversing the hills and crowds, the distance has to be longer.
Well, on Friday I made the decision to find out by walking the entire course, and keeping track of the steps and mileage along the way — all I was missing was singer Nancy Sinatra providing the theme music.
I also chatted with several spectators during the trek, especially those wearing sandals, because Dr. Christine Stabler told LNP reporter Heather Stauffer earlier this week that many patients at the wellness pavilions were showing up with blisters. That was still the case Friday, according to Alice Yoder, the director of community health for Lancaster General Health, who was helping out at a wellness pavilion.
“We’re not seeing dehydration as much, but we’re probably moreso seeing people with blisters and bee stings,” Yoder told me after I finished my journey. “We had to give an epipen two days ago.”
Shockingly, of the dozen or so folks I chatted who were with wearing sandals, none complained of blisters — some pointing out they were wearing sandals already broken in. Yoder also stressed the importance of hydrating before arriving at LCC and continuing to drink water while at the course.
“We’ve had a few people say they don’t want to use porta-potties so they don’t drink,” she said.
There were those, however, who used common sense. Like Laura Duffy, a mom from Philadelphia who is in town with her husband, 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. Duffy was sitting in the grass next to the 15th fairway on Friday afternoon holding her son, Sean, in her arms while her daughter, Meghan, lay on the grass, both kids soundly asleep.
“We’re just taking a break,” Duffy said. “I hope they can sleep for another hour.”
Another mom and dad, Amy and Ryan Lewis, were in town from New Jersey with their 9-month-old son and 3-year-old daughter. They only caught my eye when I saw their daughter standing on a skateboard attached to the stroller dad was pushing around, a stroller I learned is designed by a company called Orbit. No, not the gum.
“Usually whenever we go to a tournament, (my daughter) is always looking for Stacy Lewis because we have the same last name,” Amy Lewis said.
There was also an older woman, a breast cancer patient from New Jersey, currently going through chemotherapy who found a tree to sit under Friday while her husband was out walking the course. And even a former elementary school classmate of mine, Ryan Keagy, who didn’t let a broken foot stop him from coming out. He was using a scooter and a pair of crutches to get around.
“I love sports, so if something like this is in town I gotta go to it,” Keagy said.
So no excuses for me as I walked all 18 holes Friday. In all, it took me roughly 11,000 steps — for a total of about five miles — to walk the entire LCC course (the longest hole being the beast that is No. 18, which took about 1,100 steps). Also, a full bottle of water. And don’t expect to have much gas left in the tank when you’re done — definitely had to work up the energy just to write this.
Oops. There goes that no excuses rule. At least I was finally able to live up my last name.
John Walk is a sports writer for LNP. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JWalkLNP.