image - long golf game
Athlete Eric Byrnes has been doing a lot of running with his gold clubs lately in advance of a unique 24-hour challenge beginning early on Monday. Photo courtesy of Eric Byrnes

Former major league baseball player turned ultra-endurance athlete Eric Byrnes has a new goal, and it’s almost as exhausting as his last.

This time he will attempt to break a 47-year-old speed golf record set by Ian Colston, who, at 35, played 401 holes in a 24-hour period. Byrnes, who lives in Half Moon Bay, will make his attempt at the Half Moon Bay Golf Links Ocean Course.

Cheering him on will be representatives from local youth sports organizations, including the Coastside boys basketball program, Our Lady of the Pillar girls basketball program, Half Moon Bay Little League, Half Moon Bay Pirates, the Kids Super Tri, as well as the Half Moon Bay Marathon and various Half Moon Bay High School athletic programs. In return for their support, which includes young athletes running team relays, each of these organizations will be given a grant to further facilitate youth sports on the coast. 

The grants are made possible by a partnership between HighFive, an online video conferencing platform, and the Let Them Play Foundation, which was started by Byrnes and his wife, Tarah, in an effort to get kids back outside and playing.

According to the Let Them Play Foundation website, Byrnes will use the 24-hour world record attempt as a way to bring awareness to the increasing lack of youth activity and to raise funds for grants which will continue to be delivered to a variety of different youth activity organizations across the nation. Byrnes has already broken the 12-hour speed golf world record set in 2016 by playing 245 holes of golf without a cart last April. 

“He did the 12-hour speed golf challenge last year at an event in Napa to raise money for nontoxic treatments for lymphoma,” said Tarah Byrnes. “About six weeks out, he discovered a new way to hit the ball. While he is running, he drops his 8-iron and polo-chucks the ball. He stays in motion the whole time.” 

The Coastside community is invited to join in supporting Byrnes as he attempts his latest feat. The Let Them Play 24-Hour World Record Speed Golf Challenge is open to the public and will feature a long-drive contest, a DJ, food, drinks and more. Hole sponsorship as well as individual sponsorship opportunities are still available. 

“Eric’s been training like crazy,” said Tarah Byrnes. “It’s great for us to connect with our local community. It’s also goofy, which is Eric in a nutshell.” 

The event is scheduled from 5 a.m. on April 22 to 5 a.m. on April 23 at the Ocean Course. For more information, visit letthemplayfoundation.org/golf.

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