Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Andre Tolme ends tour on a 1,985km, 11,880 par course

AP , NEW YORK

Andre Tolme has just finished a round of golf with an eagle on the 18th hole. But his score was 506.

That's because Tolme's course is the entire length of Mongolia, where each "hole" is up to 196,000 yards. After nine months of traversing the Mongolian steppe with nothing but a Jeep, a tent and a 3-iron, Tolme has completed his golf journey across the land once ruled by Genghis Khan.

The 35-year-old Tolme is a civil engineer from New Hampshire. Dividing the Mongolian countryside into 18 holes, he has completed an expedition of 1,985km -- a course he estimated with a par of 11,880. His final scorecard shows a total of 290-over par -- and 509 lost balls.

"It was a pretty exhausting round of golf," Tolme told AP by phone Monday from Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

With his caddie, Khatanbaatar, driving the Jeep and supplying water, Tolme slept in a tent along the way. He fended off bubonic plague-carrying marmots, constant heat and 64kph gusts of wind that, fittingly, ``never blow from behind you.''

While Tiger Woods might complain of camera shutters going off during his backswing, Tolme encountered slightly different distractions: "The sound of howling wolves is a little unsettling."

Why did he do this? "Because I wanted to," says the adventure-golfer. But he does have other reasons in mind: to raise awareness of Mongolia, to pioneer the sport of "extreme golf" and to "expand the artistic imagination."

Tolme now plans to write a book about his experience and search for another suitable landscape to golf across.

"There may be another great golf adventure in my future," he said.

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