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Student hits golf ball across America

ESPN staff
July 30, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

A law student from America is literally hitting the ball across the United States, playing it as it lies, in order to raise money for charity

Luke Bielawskie is nearing the end of his gigantic effort, which he is doing to raise money for scholarships for at-risk youths from his Indianapolis community. Travelling across testing terrain in the South West, he is hitting the ball from the west coast to the east coast - and has already lost over 4000 golf balls.

"This is one of our biggest difficulties, conveying what we are doing," Bielawskie told the Golf Channel's Morning Drive. "We're not playing golf courses -we're playing the actual country.

"So, we're hitting along old dirt roads and back country roads through the desert, actually hitting it across the entire country playing it as it lies."

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Bielawskie admitted the idea arose after he watched Forrest Gump, where the lead character played by Tom Hanks runs across the United States for no apparent reason.

"I was trying to come up with different ways to raise money and awareness for a good cause in my community, and also integrate my passion and skills with golf," Bielawskie said.

"This was the idea that came with watching Forrest Gump. I saw him running across the country and thought: 'Why can't I hit a golf ball across the country?'

"It's a little bit more challenging logistically, though. There are a lot of different variables. You've got to pack enough golf balls and golf clubs and have a support crew.

"You've got to pick out the most appropriate route to hit down. You can't just go down Interstate 20 and hit the golf ball across the country that way, there's too much traffic. So it's been a logistical challenge.

"I've lost 4,640 golf balls so far and about had 42,000 and change swings so far, so combined with the lost balls I'm about 46,000 and change swings."

Bielawskie stated he hit plenty of balls in preparation for the journey, and had not suffered a blister with only two weeks of the trip remaining. However, he admitted there were bigger dangers, particularly when tackling some of the tougher landscapes.

"The bigger issue has been the back and the joints, especially on the rocky roads," Bielawskie said. "In Arizona and New Mexico and Texas, that was a big concern hitting through the rocks. Because even if you have a good lie, you still want to be able to compress the ball and take a divot out.

"You've got to be very conscientious about hitting rocks that you can't see, because as you all know that's very dangerous for a golfer and you can potentially break a wrist and have more injuries.

"Luckily we got past it and now we're into deep, thick rough in the east. It's a little less strain on the body but a little bit more difficult to hit out of."

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