By R.J. Smiley
The scene, July 26th, 2018, Breezy Point, Minnesota. As Rick Aulie’s driver head made that “smack sound” and perfect contact with the golf ball, the stop watch was clicked and the race to set a World Record was on!
Aulie grabbed his quiver-like golf bag, containing four clubs: his driver, 3-wood, gap wedge and putter, and raced down the 5th fairway at Breezy Point’s Whitebirch Golf Course. The Guinness World Record for the fastest hole of golf by an individual was on the line. It was Aulie’s 34th birthday and his third attempt to break Steve Jeffs’ world record of 1 minute 50.6 seconds. Jeff set his record on January 4th at the Tiverton Golf Course in the United Kingdom.
Golf carts filled with the family members, friends and golf course members raced down the fairway attempting to keep up with Aulie who was sprinting toward his perfectly placed tee shot. On his first attempt to break the record he hit a perfect drive, but Aulie’s 3-wood clipped a pine tree in the fairway and kicked into the rough. On to the second attempt to break the record, Aulie’s tee shot found the rough, making the record impossible. But the record setting third attempt tee shot was perfect. Aulie said, “As I raced up to my ball, Breezy Point Golf Professional and good friend, Mark Johnson, told me to slow down a bit and make a smooth swing with my 3-wood.”
With the gallery clapping for the great shot, Aulie was off like an Olympic sprinter out of the blocks. He was pulling his gap wedge out of the bag before he arrived at his ball only 20 yards off the green on the 503 yard par-5. The chip, with deft touch, left Aulie only four feet from the cup for a birdie and the record. As the putt found the center of the cup Aulie raised his arms to the sky then looked up towards the heavens and screamed, “Thank You Jesus!”
Rick Aulie is the principal at Pine River-Backus elementary school and lives in Pequot Lakes near the course. “I want to thank Mark Johnson and the owners of Breezy Point. But especially I want to thank my wife, Rachel. I have taken her on a very weird journey over the last 10 years. She has always stood with me.”
Last winter while watching a video of Jeffs’ record, Rick said, “I could do that. I love to run. I love to play golf. I love a challenge.” He went on to say, “I’m not a track star. Speed is not my forte, but as you can see I’ve got the endurance. I did it three times today, and was able to keep up the intensity. I’m not fast, but I keep going.”
Aulie, said he recorded a better time than Jeffs record when he did two practice runs. “Two days ago I birdied just like I did here,” Aulie said. “In fact, I did it today faster than I had done it after trying it twice. So I don’t know what the deal with that was.”
Golfers who attempt to break the record must start and finish the hole with the same clubs in their bag. The hole must be at least 500 yards in length and all witnesses must sign an affidavit.
Before the record time of 1 minute 39.2 seconds becomes official there is a lot of paperwork to do.
“About a year ago we got this all set in motion,” Aulie said. “I picked this day because I knew it would be just a party.” And, it was afterward for Aulie, his family and friends.
Rick Aulie is the son of Rich Aulie, longtime teacher and golf coach at Aitkin High School. In recent years diabetes has taken its toll on Rich Aulie’s body, but not his enthusiasm for the game he loves. As you watch the video of the record setting performance you will see father, Rich, sitting in a golf cart with a huge smile. “To have the opportunity to watch my son break the world record on his birthday was more exciting for me than it was for him.”