Golfers schedule 24-hour marathon

Kirk Beilke (left) and friend Steve Meyer are playing a 24-hour golf marathon to raise funds for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Kirk did a solo marathon in 2011 as a fund-raiser three years after his son Cliff (center) was diagnosed with leukemia. Provided.

Most golfers consider 36 holes a marathon day. But that's nothing compared to what Kirk Beilke and Steve Meyer have planned next week as a fundraiser for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Beginning at 6 p.m. Monday at Daniel Island Club and continuing until 6 p.m. Tuesday, Beilke and Myer, who both have 3 handicaps, are going to play golf for 24 hours straight, walking (carts will transport their clubs) approximately 125 holes. That's the equivalent of seven rounds of golf.

Meyer, a wealth adviser for UBS, was nominated for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's man and woman of the year, and one of the criteria was a fundraiser. Meyer's mother died three years ago as a result of cancer and he remembered the battle waged by his former next-door neighbors' son, Cliff Beilke, who was diagnosed in 2008 at age 8 with leukemia but is now in remission.

Kirk Beilke completed a 24-hour golf marathon in 2011 as a fundraiser for Cliff's Cause.

"I remembered Kirk doing (a 24-hour golf marathon for Cliff's cause in 2011) through Wando High School and asked him if we could duplicate it. We will be raising money by the number of holes we play and the number of birdies we have," Meyer said.

He said after watching his mother battle and seeing the fight others have waged against cancer, the 24 hours of golf is pretty easy.

Beilke, a teacher, said his Wando students began Cliff's Cause as a way to raise funds for cancer research. They held a walkathon in 2009 and a danceathon in 2010. The third year Beilke, a former college golfer, decided he wanted to do something on a more personal level and asked Daniel Island Club, where he is a member, if he could do the golf marathon.

"They embraced it. That year we raised a little over $17,000 that was donated to MUSC, Courageous Kids and Camp Happy Days, three organizations that helped us through the worst times," Beilke said. He walked 24 hours straight and played 148 holes, or 8.2 rounds. Beilke made 18 birdies and lost six golf balls and six pounds.

"I learned a lot the first time. Keep better scores and statistics because everybody wants to know how you did. I really wasn't keeping up with pars. If I can find the golf ball and hit it again, that's enough. A couple of guys played with me at night and Steve played the last 18 with me," Beilke said, noting there more than 100 different volunteers who accompanied him at some point.

"Looking back it seems like time passed relatively quickly. It's just one of those things you try not to think about. Don't look at your watch, just keep hammering away until you finish," Beilke said.

When it gets too dark to find a regular golf ball - Beilke estimates this will be between 9:30 and 10 p.m. until 5 to 5:30 a.m. - they will use glow balls that light up for a few minutes after being struck.

"But you had better know which direction you're hitting it or you're going to have to trip over it to find it," Beilke said.

Meyer said he had played nine-hole events using a glow ball, but playing this long would be uncharted territory.

"You just have to trust your swing, let it fly and when you get out there you'll hopefully find it glowing in the fairway," Meyer said.

For anyone interested in supporting the marathon, visit or call Julie Holton at (404)-790-3060.