Seven hours and 126 holes later, John Lindert's back was aching. It was a labor to pick the ball from the cup after each made putt. But when the going got tough, he would think about why he had risen early, gobbled down a McDonald's Egg McMuffin and drove to the Country Club of Lansing at 7:30 a.m.
"I keep going back and thinking about the men and women who are in bunkers or are in sandstorms or are in tanks," the club's Director of Golf said. "And I'm out on a beautiful golf course playing through some aches and pains. They give their lives so we can have our freedom."
So Lindert picked his ball off the 18th green, and proceeded to the first tee box for another round.
Lindert played the 18-hole course eight times Sunday -- a total of 144 holes -- to raise money for the Folds of Honor Foundation, which benefits the families of soldiers who were killed or injured in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"I couldn't be more proud of him today," said his wife Wendy. "It amazes me that he continues, even with the pain in his back but what's in his soul. He's doing this for other people, the right reason, to help families that have lost their fathers or their mothers, and I'm so proud of him."
Country Club members pledged money to the cause, coinciding 5,000 facilities across the country for Patriot Golf Weekend. Some members pledged a flat amount to Lindert. Others pledged by the hole, which is what drove Lindert to best the 126 holes he played the last two years.
By the end of the day, he had raised approximately $4,400.
With the help of his wife and John Chapman, a volunteer, Lindert zipped around the links on souped-up golf carts to increase their speed. Chapman raked sand traps and filled divots as Lindert went along and alerted players that the club pro would be playing through. Those factors helped him average around 45 minutes per round.
"It kind of goes on autopilot after a while," Lindert said. "The aches and pains become kind of a constant and hopefully tomorrow morning I'll be able to get out of bed and come to work here tomorrow morning."