Scottsdale resident Bob Kurtz already is known as “Golf’s Ironman” with a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records. At age 82, he will be attempting to achieve a record never attained in the 250-year history of golf. (David Minton/Progress Staff Photographer)

The saying in golf is that players don’t compete against each other but rather compete against the course. That won’t be the case for Guinness World Record holder and former sportscaster Bob Kurtz, better known as “Golf’s Ironman,” Monday, April 24. 

Kurtz, 82, of Scottsdale, will attempt to accomplish something that has never been accomplished in the over 250-year history of golf. He will compete against himself and attempt to shoot a score that totals his age or lower by shooting left-handed and right-handed. 

“It's so rare to shoot your age or lower your age or under your age – it's hardly ever done,” Kurtz confessed. “The older that people get, their golf skills don't necessarily stay with them. Or if they started late, they don't have the skills.” 

Kurtz previously completed the feat seven times in a day in 2012 at age 71 – which he admitted was a difficult accomplishment. 

Adding to the challenge, he will also be playing two full rounds of golf both left and right-handed – a total 72 holes in a day.

Though this may sound exhausting, Kurtz has done this before and set a Guinness World Record of playing 72 holes in three hours and five minutes. 

Now just over a decade older, Kurtz is attempting the challenge again. This time by shooting with two bags of clubs, one made for a left-handed golfer, the other for a right-handed golfer. 

Naturally a north paw, Kurtz came up with the idea after he aggravated a muscle in his right shoulder and went to his chiropractor seeking relief. 

“My chiropractor told me ‘You're out of balance’ and I said, ‘Well, what are we doing?’” Kurtz recalled. 

Undeterred, Kurtz and his chiropractor came up with the idea of hitting golf balls left-handed. 

This forced him to relearn the game he had played for nearly six decades, but also gave him a new perspective. 

“It's actually been a lot of fun to learn how to score out on the golf course with less skill and less abilities,” Kurtz said.

“I'm learning how to play differently; more defensively, more intelligently and to get a number by using the brain and staying within myself by doing what I can right.” 

It’s also had an impact on how Kurtz converses with fellow golfers. 

“It's changed the way I talk to very high handicappers, older golfers, women golfers and so forth because the difference (in skill) level between a professional and a skilled player and the average or little under average player is enormous gap in terms of the skills and being able to control the ball in the air,” he explained.

“The good golfer controls the ball in the air. Left-handed, I hit and I hope a good shot happens – especially with the irons,” he added with a laugh. 

After learning how to golf as a southpaw, Kurtz had an idea to test his skills, set a world record and raise some funds for two causes he and his wife Peggy are passionate about. 

“In November, I said you ‘know what? That's what I'm going to do. I'll be the first person ever the only person ever to shoot their age left hand and right-handed, same day, same tee time, same place,’” he said. 

Kurtz has devoted the past six months to a rigorous training program where he spends nearly an entire working day on the range and on the course. 

“I hit probably for five or six hours a day, maybe more and then I go out on the course in the evening when the course is empty by myself and I'll have the two bags on the golf cart,” Kurtz said.

“I'll play two balls right-handed and two balls left-handed. That way I'm not just hitting one shot and if I if I get into a position where I hit the wrong choice or just a poor shot, I’ll work on that.” 

He will also be getting some extra preparation in by putting 18 holes – nine left-handed and nine right-handed – at Putting World at Scottsdale Promenade today, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

However, tomorrow is Kurtz’s big day as he will not only aim to set a world record but also raise funds for two causes he is passionate about: Family Promise and New Leaf.

Funds were collected and distributed through Kurtz’s nonprofit Ministries To Children, Inc. 

“I'm always trying to figure out ways to raise money for charity and this is particularly meaningful to me because of homeless families,” Kurtz said. “That's such a growing problem in Scottsdale with homeless families mostly because of the cost of living.” 

Because of this, Kurtz is eager to pack up both bags of sticks and shoot for his eighth world record.

If You Go:

The Great Both Sides Charity Challenge: A 72 hole event

When: Noon Monday, April 24

Where: Ancala Country Club, 11700 E. Via Linda, Scottsdale

Cost: Free, donations are appreciated


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