16 Nov 2021 | Feature stories |

McLoughlin chasing world record

by Dane Heverin

Mick McLaughlin is chasing a world record and raising a lot of money for charity in the process.

18 holes of golf, every hour for 16 hours a day for seven consecutive days.

That is the challenge ahead of Brisbane businessman and philanthropist Mick McLoughlin next week.

At 4am on Sunday morning, McLoughlin will tee off at Wynnum Golf Club in Brisbane’s bayside to begin his attempt to break the world record of 2000 holes of golf in seven days (cart assisted).

The 56-year-old will be racing down the fairways to raise $250,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities South East Queensland - more than $145,000 has been raised so far.

McLoughlin is a board member and proud supporter of the organisation that provides essential accommodation and support services to seriously ill children and their families, and he decided that he needed to do something after the pandemic had hit fundraising events hard.

“I was sitting in a RMHC SEQ Board meeting in late 2020 listening to how difficult COVID-19 was making operations and fundraising. Our usual fundraising events weren’t an option, and the biggest event of the year – the annual ball – was cancelled. So, I made myself think outside the square, and decided to challenge myself as an individual and make the charity the beneficiary. I just needed the idea,” McLoughlin said.

“Then a little later, I was in Tenterfield in November 2020 and saw memorabilia on the wall of a golfer from that area, who created a World Record of 1800 golf holes in seven days (cart assisted), and thought, that’s it, that’s me.

“I investigated the record further and found it had been broken by a golfer from Idaho, Geno Bonnalie, who holds the current record of 2000 holes. I decided then and there that’s my idea, I’m going to go for the world record and raise money along the way.

“I called the current record holder Geno Bonnalie and he said, ‘while I don’t want to lose my world record title, if I have to, then I want to lose it to you in raising funds for Ronald McDonald House,’ which made me even more determined.”

McLoughlin has been involved in charity initiatives in Australia, his native Ireland and New Zealand before, but nothing like this.

To prepare for this challenge he has put his career on hold for twelve months.

He has spent the past year grinding away at Golf Central - a driving range and mini golf at Brisbane Airport - hitting up to 1200 balls a day and undertaking sessions with coach Quinton Howe.

His handicap has lowered from 18 to 12 as a result, but his main focus has been on speed.

In practice rounds, he has completed 18 holes in between 53 and 58 minutes - timings that will get him to the record if he can maintain them.

Along for the ride is McLoughlin’s best mate, manager and self-proclaimed “shadow minister” Mike Hutchinson.

“I call myself his ‘shadow minister’ because I’m always in his shadow picking up the little bits and pieces because it’s the little things that make a difference,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson is a golf tragic who retired three years ago and will be out on course with McLoughlin for the entire week.

“He’s an inspiring individual,” Hutchinson said.

“His number one priority is to raise as much funds as possible for Ronald McDonald House Charities. The bonus to him is to achieve his goal of more than 2000 holes.”

The pair, labelled the ‘M&Ms’ by friends, boosted the fundraising process earlier in the year by undertaking a two week tour along the Queensland coast to the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone and then in-land to Chinchilla.

The trip raised a lot of money, informed the local communities on what Ronald McDonald House Charities do and they had a ball along the way.

“We had a lot of laughs and smiles. There needs to be more smiles in the world,” Hutchinson said.

The duo are determined to continue putting smiles on faces well beyond this world record attempt and raise more money in the future.

“There’ll be golf tournaments every year for Ronald McDonald House Charities,” Hutchinson said.

“Not world record attempts every year, but some events to raise money.”

For more information or to support Mick’s World Record Challenge (21-27 November 2021), visit www.micksgolfchallenge.org.au

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