There is a special feeling in knowing that you have topped everyone who has ever lived in doing something or other. Alex Freeman, a Roslyn teenager, can report that it is even better when your world record continues a family heritage.
Freeman followed the path of his father, Eric, into the Guinness Book of World Records by making the most putts ever recorded in an hour. With Eric, an orthopedic surgeon, handling the stop watch, Alex sank 972 15-foot putts on the practice green at Glen Head Country Club last September. The 17-year-old was notified recently that he will be included Guinness’ 2020 publication.
“It was a record that nobody had done before. I just thought it would be unique, plus it pertains to golf and would be somewhat similar to what my dad did,” the younger Freeman said. “Back in the ‘90s, he set a record for most holes played, two different times in two different years.”
In September 1997, Eric Freeman told Newsday’s Joe Krupinski that he had to use crutches to get to work the day after having played 467 holes in a 12-hour period — one hole short of 26 full rounds, at Glen Head. The mark has since been broken, as was Freeman’s standard of 429 holes in 1993.
Trying to eclipse that would not have been healthy for a then-16-year-old, who plays on the Roslyn High School team and occasionally competes in club tournaments. Alex wanted to try something shorter, so he came up with the putting idea.
“You have to submit it to Guinness and they give you a response as to what they think is doable,” he said. “At first, they wanted me to do eight hours, but I thought it was too much time. After going back and forth with them, we agreed on one hour. The Guinness guy gave us a benchmark of what I needed to pass, which was about 400. To get in Guinness, I had to go over 400.”
The record-keeping company also insisted that all of the putts had to be from at least 15 feet and that the whole attempt had to be videotaped. Freeman then had to get approval from Glen Head pro Scott Hawkins and superintendent Ken Lochridge. “Alex is a super sweet kid. He came to me with this idea and I said sure,” Hawkins said. “It was pretty cool to watch, I must say.”
Freeman practiced his putting, but never for more than 45 minutes, so he didn’t know what to expect. He estimates that during the hour of the official attempt, he hit 3,000 golf balls, and he credits his mother, Brooke, for helping in the conveyer-belt system that kept the supply coming.
Guinness officials reviewed the tape and this year sent a certificate that said, “The most golf balls putted in one hour [golf course] is 972, and was achieved by Alex Freeman (USA) in Glen Head, New York (USA), on 2 September 2018.”
It was just like the notifications his father had received. Also like his dad, the teen solicited donation pledges from fellow members and other friends. Eric said that Alex’s feat raised $12,000 for the United Jewish Appeal and local police and fire department charities.
“I don’t know what will be going through my mind when the book comes out,” Alex said. “I’m just proud of myself, and relieved, that I was able to do it.”
Pete’s Golf in Mineola will celebrate its 40th anniversary by hosting a charity tournament for Donate Life on Monday, July 29 at Wheatley Hills Golf Club in East Williston. Details are at petesgolf.com.
Switching nines, and gears
The front nine at Swan Lake Golf Club is now the back nine, and vice versa. It was done not as a proverbial “change of pace” — a baseball phrase that means doing something different to spice things up — but for a literal change of pace. Mike Zguris, head pro at the course in Manorville, made the switch this season to get play moving more quickly.
“My reasoning was that players would slice off the first tee and look for their ball in the water hazard. The tee would get backed up,” he said. “Also, around the old fourth and fifth, there would be a bottle neck. Now, the first three holes are on the longer side, the players are spread out, therefore the pace of play has been quicker. So, I am happy with this, but more important, the players are happier. It has been a win-win situation.”
David Lazer, Pine Hollow CC, second hole, 170 yards, 3-wood
James Mosca, Swan Lake GC, 16th hole, 132 yards, 8-iron
Eric Swenson, Swan Lake GC, 14th hole, 200 yards, 3-rescue
Bob Reimann, Swan Lake GC, seventh hole, 110 yards, pitching wedge
Douglas Tewksbury, Woodside Club, third hole, 149 yards, 8-iron
Mitch Cohen, Old Westbury Bluegrass, seventh hole, 170 yards, 6-iron
Mie Stricoff, Timber Point White, sixth hole, 97 yards, 9-iron
Paul Soren, Cold Spring CC, 17th hole, 182 yards, 3-hybrid
Steve Denkberg, Lake Success GC, eighth hole, 165 yards, 4-hybrid
Linda Handsman, Lake Success GC, sixth hole, 120 yards, 5-wood
Rick Sposta, Lake Success GC, 17th hole, 165 yards, 5-wood