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Montana’s Longest Drive comes to satisfying end in Great Falls

Posted at 11:03 PM, Aug 03, 2018

GREAT FALLS — Sean Ryan compiled some eye-popping stats this summer:

  • 86 days
  • 112 golf courses
  • 1,503 holes played
  • 512.29 miles walked
  • 193 hours driven
  • 8,507.3 miles driven
  • 6,206 strokes
  • 425 over par
  • 175 birdies made
  • 6 eagles
  • 90 lost golf balls
  • 281 beers drank
  • 1 hole-in-one witnessed

The Great Falls golfer teed off at Hickory Swing golf course on May 9, aiming to play every golf course in Montana in one summer.

And Friday, his trip came full circle. Wrapping up his golf odyssey with 18 holes at Eagle Falls – the course he grew up playing.

“It is crazy to come back and play your home course as your last course,” Ryan said right before his final round. “It’s funny because this is the first time I’ll play this course this summer and it’s kind of where I grew up playing all the time. To come back and kind of have the trip come to completion is really very exciting and very surreal.”

So how does the body hold up after 1,500+ holes of golf?

“I’m definitely sore,” he laughed. “The 512 miles walked, it catches up to you. Mostly feet and ankles and all those things. I keep joking with people that I’m going to get a golf bag kind of like Rodney Dangerfield’s in Caddyshack so I don’t have to walk anymore. It will be fun when I get to a golf course after this trip and someone says, ‘Do you want to walk or ride?’ And I’ll say, ‘Let’s take a cart, I’ve walked this one before.’”

Ryan is believed to be the first golfer to play every course in the state, and if not, he’s certainly the first to play them all in one summer. But from the onset, the trip was about more than golf. It was about meeting people from all walks of life, in all 56 counties, and bringing exposure to the great courses and state of golf in Montana.

Mission accomplished.

“I had a number of people who let me stay on their couch or take me out for a round of golf or get me a burger, all of those things that are very much distinctly Montana,” Ryan said. “Because everywhere that I went to play golf, I met somebody and I made a friend that I will have for the rest of my life. The best trip of my life, and the best summer of my life.”

So is a break from the links in Ryan’s future? Not exactly.

He chuckled.

“I got tricked into playing a tournament this Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “But then I’m going to take couple days off, sit down, enjoy it, kind of collect my thoughts and take some of the notes and things that I’ve accrued from all the courses and then start trying to write my book.”

One summer of golf. A lifetime of memories.

Sean Ryan poses for a photo before his final round of golf at Eagle Falls in Great Falls. (TOM WYLIE/MTN Sports)