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FEATURE

The

Longest Hole

A 2,011km Golf Odyssey Across Mongolia Photography by Andrew King

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Former Hong Kong rugby player Adam Rolston with caddie-friend Ron Rutland covered 2,011km from the base camp of Khuiten Peak – the highest and most western point in Mongolia to finish at the 18th hole of the Mt Bogd Golf & Country Club in Ulan Bator. The epic odyssey took 80 days and more than 20,000 strokes, has defied logic to golf and played the pair into the Guinness Book of World Records. In this photo story series, Rolston recaps how the pair has completed what they named “The Longest Hole”.

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“It began when I met up with Ron in Kenya. We discussed Ron’s previous charity escapade: a 26,000km cycle through every country in Africa before arriving in Brighton, England to watch his beloved Springboks face Japan in the 2015 World Cup. I came up with the idea of a similar golfing challenge, and we settled on Mongolia because it was an enormous country with few people, no fences and the largest fairways in the world. Ron agreed to be my caddie, and eight months later we began our journey.” Ron Rutland (right) and Adam Rolston (left) are former rugby colleague in Hong Kong. TaylorMade sponsored the pairs golf equipment and balls.

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"We first went to Mongolia to plan our trip in March. We spent a lot of time on the route to make sure we would be prepared for what has to come, and the journey would possibly work out. Our biggest concerns were the grass length, water through the dessert and river crossing the cart."

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“I first teed off on June 29, 2017, in Khüiten Peak, the highest and most western point in Mongolia. We had a five-hour trek to the top of this glacier, and it just started chucking it down with sleet and snow. Up there we found a shrine from where I hit the first shot. That was the last time we saw the sun for four days…”

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“The first four days were the toughest thing I’ve ever done I think – the mountainous terrain and atrocious weather restricting me to mainly chip shots. We were only doing 10km a day, and our quota was 25km. This is real, is it even possible to keep playing golf? I told so many people I am going to do this. And now, we are so far behind after the first four days, how on earth are we ever going to catch up?”

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“We found this stray dog after two days, and it just followed us for 2,000km. We named him U.B after Ulan Bator, our finish point. He is probably ten years old, and he has just walked the whole country. He looks like a black wolf and fends for himself by hunting rabbits. He’s not domesticated in any way but still shows affection and love like any other dog. And he’s a great guard dog - we could leave the cart which is loaded with all our gear outside in any town, and we know it will be fine because U.B ferociously defends it.”

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“We stayed predominantly in tents and eating a mixture of dry food and local cuisine. I ate everything from horse and goat stew, and Ron is a vegan has lived on rice, noodles and as many vegs as they could find. I have also tried horse milk vodka, a home-made Mongolian alcoholic drink!â€? Rolston and Rutland have so far raised ÂŁ15,000 for charity Laureus Sport for Good, which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage and supports over 100 projects in 35 countries. They are awaiting verification from Guinness World Records to officially make it the Longest Hole in Golf after the European Tour gave it the rubber stamp as a single golf hole. The journey will be continued...

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