WESTFIELD, NJ – Playing 100 holes of golf takes a lot of walking – about 35 miles of it – but a local man is going to do it for the seventh consecutive year, and he’ll have two other golfers with him.
Kevin Vedder began “The Hundred Hole Hike” in 2013 in support Els for Autism, a fundraiser created by golfer Ernie Els. More recently, Vedder localized the effort by dedicating a portion of the proceeds to the Crossroads School in Westfield, which is for children on the autism spectrum.
Vedder, 48, like golfer Ernie Els, has a son who is on the autism spectrum. Vedder’s son, Seamus, is now 10 years old.
“I wanted to try to do something to raise awareness and funds,” Vedder told TAPinto Westfield. “What I found out is that while funds are a big part of it, the awareness and the acceptance is the reason we keep going.”
On July 29, Vedder will begin his massive round of golf at around 5:30 a.m. and stay on the course for around 15 hours, he said. “You’re playing 100 holes of golf in a day where most people will only play 18 or 36 if they’re crazy,” he said.
There’s a reason it’s called a hike.
“Your back hurts for sure,” Vedder said. “For me, it's my back and my feet. Think about it. It’s walking about 30 to 35 miles in a day. That’s a long walk.”
But the cause is worth the effort.
“The event serves as a great vehicle to raise awareness for children and adults with autism as many people come out to the course on the day of the event to caddy or simply walk with us, getting an opportunity to meet my son and others from Crossroads School,” Vedder said.
This year, he said, two other golfers will be joining in the effort: Sean Taylor and Shaun Murphy.
Taylor, a Westfield High School graduate, had been one of the Westfield High School students from the golf team who helped to caddy for Vedder in prior years. Now, he is going to be a part of the play.
“He’s a great kid,” said Vedder. “He was all-state at Westfield High School, and now he’s playing instead of just helping out as a caddy.”
Since he has started the effort, Vedder said, more and more people have lent support.
“I and my partners have raised north of $80,000 to date for Els for Autism and are looking to crack $100,000 cumulatively raised this year,” he said.
To learn more about supporting the cause, visit the Els for Autism 2019 team "100 Hole Hike" page here.
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at email@example.com; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh