Guest writer

Off the Fringe


Sunday, December 23, 2001

Playing 126 holes in 1 day
is a story worth telling

Some of the best things about the game of golf, much like fishing, aren't really a part of the sport itself. There's the camaraderie with friends, a lovely day in the outdoors, and of course, as Bill Murray would say, the stories.

This one is almost 50 years old, which means, since it's still around, it's a good one indeed. It's one to tell after getting the group warmed up --- you can't just jump into something like this. You might hurt something. It's that good.

It comes from 1954, and it comes from Renin Werner, who still tells the story of the day his brother Didi and a friend played the most holes ever at the Kahuku Golf Course. And Renin, the old Marine, who keeps his graying hair buzzed short, still tells it with a brother's pride after all these years.

Didi (official name Stanley) was probably 19 or 20, and we're not sure which, but that's not really important. His friend Billy Perry was 17 or 18, still in high school. The two were sitting around talking story, and they had heard that local golf great Jimmy Ukauka had set a record for playing the most holes in one day (was it at Kaneohe?).

"Eh!" Didi said. "I think we can go more holes than him!"

"We can go more holes than that!" Billy said.

For most of us, the story ends here. We tell another lie, move on to the next topic. But these guys were excited. They were ready. Maybe most of all, they were young. They were really going to do it.

So they picked a day, picked up their clubs. Didi and Billy set out to go where no man had gone before. They started early in the morning, 5:30 in the morning, just as first light was coming up over the North Shore.

"No," Renin corrected himself. "That buggah was still dark."

You could hear the waves crashing on the shore.

They started. They hit ball after ball, chased it down, hit it again. They were going for speed.

"They averaged 35, 40 minutes for nine holes," Renin said.

They were moving.

And it was fun.

And it was crazy.

They played for hours, all day. Before long, it was like the scene at the end of "Caddyshack," where everybody in town found out what was going on, and buzz by buzz, the gallery grew.

Soon, there was a crowd trailing the pair to see history made. The gathering kept a respectful distance.

They played on and on. Was it nine hours? More? Didi and Billy hacked away, determined, youthful fixation spurring them on. The flock keeping them trudging onward through hole after hole.

Then, after 125 holes straight, something happened.

"Billy sat down," Renin said.

He couldn't get up. He just couldn't get up. He was pau. He couldn't move. He'd stopped at a bench just before the next tee, and that had been a mistake. He wasn't going anywhere.

"When he sat," Renin Werner remembered, "cramps set in."

Didi played the next hole, the final one, the 126th without stopping. The most ever in one day at Kahuku.

The legend lives on.

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