Let’s end a bizarre year (in and out of golf) on a feel-good note.
Meet Jack Collins of Coral Springs, Fla. A few days ago, Collins, a 69-year-old retired nuclear safety expert, became the first man to complete the Florida Historic Golf Trail one calendar year when he walked off the 18th green on the renovated Resort Course at The Boca Raton Resort & Club. www.bocaresort.com.
Do the math. That’s 53 courses in less than 365 days from Florida’s Panhandle (in the Central time zone) to Key West.
The Florida Historic Golf Trail, developed by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, is a collection of historic courses throughout Florida established between 1897 and 1949. Those include the Ocean Course at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club; Pinecrest Golf Club in Avon Park; El Campeon at Mission Inn Resort & Club and Babe Zaharias Golf Club in Tampa.
“Seventeen of the trips were at least one overnight trip,’’ said Collins. “I did a ton of day trips. Five of the overnight trips I camped.’’
A 13.1 handicap, Collins played as many six consecutive through rain, sunshine, Florida humidity, Hurricane Matthew and perhaps most impressive, a bout with vertigo.
“But I managed to get them all in,’’ Collins said. “I probably played a little better (than a 13.1) because to finish the challenge I didn’t need to worry about my sores. So I probably played a little more relaxed.’’
What’s next for Collins?
“Talk to my wife about that,’’ Collins said with a smile. “But I do want to find something just to motivate me.’’