The Cradle Solstice – A Great Cause and Some Remarkable Numbers
December 27, 2018


#InPinehurst | Golf

As incredible as Kelly Mitchum’s first Cradle Solstice event was in 2017, this year proved to be infinitely more remarkable. A year ago, Mitchum mentioned he hoped to add a charitable component to the event in 2018 where he played Pinehurst’s shortest course, The Cradle, on the year’s shortest day, the Winter Solstice.

And so last week, nine other people – including country star and American Idol Scotty McCreery – sought pledges and joined Mitchum on Dec. 21 to celebrate the Winter Solstice by playing The Cradle from the dawn of sunrise at 7:21 a.m. to the dusk of sunset at precisely 5:09 p.m. For those scoring at home, that’s a total of 9 hours, 48 minutes of golf.

It was a special day, made more so by the opportunity to raise money for the North Carolina Food Bank and Young Life of the Sandhills.

And while we don’t yet have the final tally of just how much money was raised – we’re estimating around $12,000 and will know for sure in January – the other numbers from the day are just staggering. (You can still donate online here.)

So, below we have the totals for the group and then individually, just so you can get a true sense of how exceptional the day was and what these great golfers – and even better people – accomplished for the duration of daylight.

Let’s start with totals for the entire group, and a few fun notes:

Total Players Who Started at Sunrise: 10

Total Players who Finished at Sunset: Remarkably, still 10

Total Number of Rounds Played: 223

Total Number of Holes Played: 2,025

Total Number of Birdies: 326

Total Number of Aces: 4 (3 by Robert Hoadley, includingtwo within the first 26 minutes of play)

The most birdies came on the 6th Hole, with51. The 8th hole had 50, and The Punch Bowl, the 3rdhole, was next at 49. The full list:

  • 1st Hole: 19
  • 2nd Hole: 43
  • 3rd Hole: 49, including aces by Hoadley,Justin Bode
  • 4th Hole: 19
  • 5th Hole: 36
  • 6th Hole: 51
  • 7th Hole: 29, including ace by Hoadley
  • 8th Hole: 50, including ace by Hoadley
  • 9th Hole: 21

Three players had 10 or more birdies on at least one hole for the day:

  • Hoadley had three holes with 10 or more birdies – the 2nd(12), the 6th (10) and the 8th (10). Hoadley had ninebirds on the 3rd.
  • Mitchum had 11 birdies on the 2nd hole.
  • Matt Barksdale had 10 birdies on the 3rd hole.

Birdie leaders:

  • Hoadley: 65
  • Mitchum: 61
  • Robbie Zalzneck: 47
  • Ben Bridgers: 39
  • Barksdale: 39

Let’s take a look at each individual, ranked in order by total number of holes he or she played:

Robbie Zalzneck, USGA Championship Director of the 2019 U.S. Amateur

  • Total Holes: 293 Holes
  • Total Rounds: 32, with five extra holes
  • Total strokes: 872
  • Scoring Average: 2.976
  • Total Birdies: 47
  • Zalzneck also led the group in costume changes with five, with ensembles including a Cubs jersey and an Ugly Christmas sweater and Santa hat.

Kelly Mitchum, Lead Instructor, Pinehurst Golf Academy

  • Total Holes: 279
  • Total Rounds: 31
  • Total strokes: 816
  • Scoring Average: 2.925
  • Total Birdies: 61
  • Mitchum beat his 2017 mark of 234 holes.

Robert Hoadley, Golf Professional Padgett Learning Center

  • Total Holes: 270
  • Total Rounds: 30
  • Total strokes: 772
  • Scoring Average: 2.859
  • Total Birdies: 65
  • Aces: 3

Matt Barksdale, Head Golf Professional, Pinehurst Resort

  • Total Holes: 210
  • Total Rounds: 23, three extra holes
  • Total strokes: 626
  • Scoring Average: 2.981
  • Total Birdies: 39

Robyn Humphrey, Pinehurst Country Club Member

  • Total Holes: 185
  • Total Rounds: 20, five extra holes
  • Total strokes: 705
  • Scoring Average: 3.811
  • Total Birdies: 4

Lee Pace, Author

  • Total Holes: 180
  • Total Rounds: 20
  • Total strokes: 568
  • Scoring Average: 3.156
  • Total Birdies: 17

Ben Bridgers, Pinehurst Resort Director of Golf

  • Total Holes: 176
  • Total Rounds: 19, five extra holes
  • Total strokes: 515
  • Scoring Average: 2.926
  • Total Birdies: 39

Eric Kuester, Pinehurst Resort Vice President

  • Total Holes: 144
  • Total Rounds: 16
  • Total strokes: 437
  • Scoring Average: 3.035
  • Total Birdies: 18

Justin Bode, Bode Chiropractic Center

  • Total Holes: 144
  • Total Rounds: 16
  • Total strokes: 420
  • Scoring Average: 2.917
  • Total Birdies: 27
  • Aces: 1

Scotty McCreery, Country Star, American Idol

  • Total Holes: 144
  • Total Rounds: 16
  • Total strokes: N/A
  • Scoring Average: N/A
  • Total Birdies: 9
  • Near Aces: 1, See above Video
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