Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man's 2,000km drive across Mongolia

NI golfer to play history's longest hole for charity

By Rachel Martin

A rugby playing Northern Ireland man plans to golf his way around Mongolia in a bid to raise money for sporting charities.

'The Longest Hole' will see Coleraine native Adam Rolston, a keen amateur, join South African adventurer Ron Rutland on the lengthiest ever recorded round of golf.

The pair will hike unsupported over mountains and wade across rivers as they travel through the rugged Asian nation on their club-swinging crusade.

They tee off on June 28 from Mongolia's highest peak, hopefully find the ball, and use it for as long as possible.

The pair estimate they will go through up to 400 balls over the 82-day trek.

The pair intend selling the balls for $100 (£77) and hope to raise around $100,000 (£77,000) for a good cause.

Adam's caddy Ron is a veteran of epic journeys.

Adam explained: "The guy I'm doing it with spent three-and-a-half years cycling from South Africa to the Rugby World Cup in England, passing through every African country on the way, and got there and handed the team their South African jerseys - only to see them defeated by Japan!

"We knew each other and bumped into each other in Kenya and got talking over a coffee about it all.

"It was a crazy idea but the more we talked about it the more the plan started to come together. It took three to four months of planning."

The money raised will be split between projects run by the South African Golf Development Board to establish the sport in Africa, and Laureus Sport for Good, a charity that uses sport to help young people.

"The really unique thing is that it will be the first 2,000km golf hole recorded - if we achieve it, it'll be a world record," Adam added.

The current record is 12 hours covering 76km.

The game will finish in the 18th hole of Mongolia's only golf course.

The pair travelled out six weeks ago for a recce. "It's the last real frontier - Mongolia is known as the land of no fences because it's so sparsely populated, so it's the ideal place to try out something like this," he added.

"The strategy is for me to aim for 150-160 yard swings to keep the ball at a distance that's easy to find - that's the aim of the game - to keep the ball in play for as long as possible.

"And along the way we will be following all the ethics and rules of golf, so if I drop it in the water I'll record a penalty stroke."

Adam was born in Hong Kong, living there with his family until he was eight, but spent a lot of time in Northern Ireland.

He and brother Edmund learned to play golf in Ballycastle when they were teens. Adam even shot a hole-in-one at Portstewart Golf Club.

He played rugby for Hong Kong, most recently as part of the men's XV in Kenya last year.

He returned to the family home in Northern Ireland in 1997 and lived here until 2003, when he returned to Hong Kong.

The 28-year-old is the nephew of TV presenter Pamela Ballantine.

His father Peter Rolston is a former Sky News, ITN and CNN correspondent.

When based in Hong Kong, Peter was the evening news anchor for ATV, one of its main broadcasters, for 10 years.

The family home is in Coleraine.

Belfast Telegraph

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