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Montana’s Longest Drive fueled by a deeper passion

Posted at 8:54 PM, Jun 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 16:52:32-04

THREE FORKS – Sean Ryan is certainly living out every golf junkie’s dream. All summer long he will be playing every golf course in the Treasure State. Come August, that will be 104 courses in 85 days, all on foot.

“I’ve learned it’s a lot harder than I thought to walk every course in Montana,” Ryan said.

But it is his preferred method of travel.

“I think you get a better appreciation of the golf course, when you don’t fly through it, sitting in the seat of a golf cart. You get to kind of feel the earth under your feet,” said Ryan.

Appreciate the golf course is exactly what Ryan wanted to do. He came up with the idea for his master’s thesis at Montana Tech, calling the journey Montana’s Longest Drive.

“It’s a master’s in technical communication kind of focused on public relations, so I’ve been working on this project, designing my website, business cards and logos, sending letters out to every course in Montana,” Ryan said.

“Just trying to tell the story of every course when I write my book, meeting new people and telling the story of every town,” he smiled.

However, Ryan has a story of his own that he is telling along the way.

“My dad had a best friend, Jay Baumberger, he passed away from pancreatic cancer last summer and I never got to say goodbye. We had always been planning a golf trip, we’d plan it and plan it and never pull the trigger, and I really wish we had gone on that trip,” Ryan said.

So Ryan made the trip they always wanted together a reality.

“I decided to do this trip and I took his obituary and his picture and I folded it up in my golf bag and I said, ‘If I’m going on the best golf trip in Montana he’s going with me,'” Ryan said.

And he does. Every mile Ryan walks, every ball he loses, every beer he drinks, they do it together.

“Thirty-five days, 46 courses, 612 holes in, 218.51 miles, 2,621 strokes, 69 birdies, two eagles, 40 lost golf balls, and I’ve drank 141 beers on the trip,” Ryan recounted.

Despite the results, at the end of the round, the message Ryan hopes to share is always the same.

“Don’t be afraid to let it happen, come up with an idea, set your start date, and just go,” Ryan said. “Montana is the best state in the world, because of the people that are around, and you meet some great people around the state. People are willing to help, just as long as you put yourself out there.”