as told to Bill McCuddy
Happy New Year. If you’re planning on playing more golf this year, you’re probably already behind Rob Tidgewell of Leesburg, Virginia. In 2018 he played 365 rounds. Not a round a day. Some days more than three rounds. Other days he was resting right? Nope. Skiing. He credits a patient wife, a lot of golf buddies who played with him and “three of four pairs of Foot Joy DNAs.” Rob is also a Golfoholic fan. We feel the same way about him. Don’t hate him too much, he’s actually to be envied. But believe it or not, this Ripley worthy tale was “easy” according to him. We sat down with him recently to hear the game plan that got him to this admirable goal. Still, we had to start with the obvious question.
GA: Rob, what the hell were you thinking?
RT: (Laughs) Well I retired at the end of last year. And we played golf on New Year’s Day like we do every year. And January and February ended up being pretty good weather here so I played like 40 rounds of golf by the end of February. And I said ‘you know, I might be able to play 350 rounds this year.’ So I started thinking about it and focusing on that. And a month or so later one of my friends’ wives said ‘where are you at?’ and I said ‘oh I’m at 65 or so’ trying to get to 350 and she said ‘well if you can do 350 you should do 365, that’s a much better number.’ And so she sort of challenged me.
GA: But you need a specific game plan, don’t you?
RT: Yes. I started saying ‘how do I get there? What do I do?’ We had a golf trip planned in the summertime. We were going over to Scotland and Ireland for four weeks. So I managed to play 43 rounds in 27 days while I was there. And it got momentum.
GA: Through any conditions?
RT: I played through all types of weather. Snow, rain, wind and it just sort of became something to do.
GA: Do you consider this a sickness or a cure?
RT: (Laughs) Well as a ‘Golfoholic’ it’s just everyday life. I have some of the gear and stuff. I’ve followed Golfoholics for several years. I’m 63, I’m retired, I’m healthy and I like to play golf. It’s the only competitive juices I get flowing. So it was actually easy to do. Other than a few days of pain and all that. I just get up every day and say ‘okay, what time am I playing golf today?’ And I have a couple buddies who are retired who play with me a lot. They probably played 200 of the 365 rounds with me.
GA: So it’s a collective insanity?
RT: Yeah, one of the guys said ‘I’m at 230 rounds. I’m 135 rounds behind you. And I played a lot!’
GA: By the way of all the statements you’ve made during this interview, the words ‘I like to play golf’ were probably not necessary.
RT: (Laughs) That’s the truth.
GA: How many lost balls?
RT: I didn’t get that detailed in the analysis but I would guess four dozen over the year.
GA: That’s what I lose in a round. Of all the gear what took the biggest beating?
RT: Well lets start with my body. My left elbow had some tendonitis. Equipment wise the shoes took the biggest beating. But my wedges have the most wear on them. Really noticeable.
I hit a lot of wedges over the course of a year. And I went through three of four pairs of Foot Joy DNA golf shoes.
GA: What was your best shot of the year? Any holes in one?
RT: No holes in one. Couple of eagles.
GA: What was your favorite course of the year?
RT: The Machrihanish Golf Club in Argyll, Scotland.
GA: Weather that day?
RT: We had raincoats on. Not too windy but definitely some drizzle. We played 18, I went into the pro shop and I said ‘Can I go back out there?’ and they said ‘sure you can.’ So I got something to eat and went right back out because it was such a great course.
GA: What was the worst weather you played in all year?
RT: January 1st of 2018 there was snow on the ground and it was 17 degrees at my home course River Creek in Leesburg, Virginia. There was 3 inches of snow one other day when we played.
GA: Do you play with a black ball?
RT: No, a white ball. When no one else is out there you can see where a white ball goes. You follow the track and find your ball.
GA: That’s why your wedges are so worn they had to go through ice.
RT: (Laughs) They went through a lot of different things. Then I played one day in Bermuda where the winds were blowing 55 miles and hour. So 55 miles an hour is the worst, 17 degrees is the lowest and probably 50 rounds over the year I had to wear rain gear.
GA: And what was the most holes in a day?
RT: I played 45 a couple times. Never went to 54.
GA: What’s the closest and furthest you travelled to play?
RT: The third tee of River Creek is about 250 yards from my garage. That’s the closest course. The furthest was Aberdeen or St. Andrews. One of those is the furthest.
GA: What was the luckiest thing that happened?
RT: We didn’t have a tee time at the old course at St. Andrews. And the gods were looking after me. We hit the ballot got out on the old course.
GA: And this year? You going for 366?
RT: That’s the question everyone asks. I want to ski more this year. Maybe 20 days, which will impact the golf. I figure I’ll do at least 300 rounds for the year.
Until someone challenges him. Rob Tidgewell is unstoppable. And yes, he’s a Golfoholic.