A ball, its journey and golf's Mecca
BY Bruce Young | 07 Apr 2014
“The threads on the forums of iseekgolf.com are often as bizarre as they are varied and many develop a life of their own at the expense of many other threads that appear, on the surface at least, to have far more substance.
Thus has been the case of the thread entitled “The Longest Travelling Ball (TLTB) – we will create it”
First established more than three years ago in February 2011 by an avid iseekgolf regular to document the travels of a single golf ball, the thread has attracted more than 58,000 views and nearly 2000 posts as the ball has made its way around the world.
The ball in question has now travelled more than 215,000 kilometres, played more than 80 holes and is currently 41 over par.
The ball has had trips to Britain, three visits to mainland USA, Hawaii, Japan, Thailand, and Fiji, and countless trips around Australia including all States and Territories other than the Northern Territory and all this without being lost.
The longest single journey the ball has undertaken is some 17,000 kilometres between New South Wales and Northumberland in England, the shortest between two courses in Thailand.
The ball has experienced all sorts of scores from birdies to triple bogies along with all sorts of weather conditions and golfing techniques and has survived to tell the tale but this week TLTB takes on its greatest test.
At Augusta National on the eve of the Masters, Australian golfer Steven Bowditch, a great friend of iseekgolf and many of those who frequent it, has said he will briefly play the ball during a practice round as he prepares for his Masters debut.
Bowditch has already played a hole with the ball when joining several iseekgolf members in a social round a year or so ago and has indicated that if it could be arranged to have the ball at Augusta National by no later than Wednesday then he would put it into play during practice at golf’s Holy Grail, perhaps even bouncing it across the lake at the 16th.
A good friend of Bowditch’s, who is traveling to Augusta to see his mate make his debut at the Masters, has agreed to take the ball with him, the logistics of what may well turn out to be TLTB’s final journey being hurriedly put together by those who have grown close to the ball and the legend that has grown around it.
That speed became necessary due to the late inclusion of Bowditch in the field and the thought that this might be a fitting end to a golf ball that has, until now, survived the test of time.
To date, the ball has managed to avoid being lost by many players of far less of a standard than Steven Bowditch but if it was to find a watery grave at the 12th or 16th holes at Augusta National then there would be no more fitting final destination for one of the “great journeys” of our fantastic game.
Either way it adds yet another chapter to an intriguing story.
Steven Bowditch had the chance to hit the TLTB at the 12th hole on Wednesday at Augusta National while his practice playing partner Boo Weekly hit it at the 16th and the ball survived to tell the tale. It will now become a feature of the ISG National Golf Day in September where it is likely to become a trophy for the annual winner.