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Area Golf: Luman's long day of golf for a cause

Preston Luman of Lake Shore tees off during his 141-hole golf marathon to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society June 22 at The Vintage at Staples.

Dressed in yellow to give fellow players fair warning he was coming, Preston Luman cruised to 141 holes of golf in one day.

The Lake Shore resident was three holes shy of playing eight full rounds Friday, June 22, at The Vintage at Staples. He wasn't doing it out of boredom or on a dare. Luman was doing it for his wife and the many others that suffer from multiple sclerosis.

"MS is a horrible, debilitating disease that affects your brain and your nervous system," Luman said. "My wife (Vicki) has had it for 30 years and we've been married for 39. She uses a cane now, but she gets fatigued very easily now. She can't stand very long and she can't walk very far. She has to have a rest in the morning and one in the afternoon, but to be honest she's very fortunate to have survived to be doing as well as she is for 30 years. There are a lot of people who go downhill quickly."

For each hole Luman played, he received donations for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. While the golf wasn't great, Luman's other statistics were. He took 36,230 steps. He traveled 21.75 miles, burned 3,963 calories and, most important, raised more than $16,000 for MS research.

On a side venture, someone said they would donate $100 for each birdie Luman carded. He received $100.

Luman is still looking for donations and asks people to visit his personal Do It Yourself MS fundraising page at https://tinyurl.com/LumanMS. He said checks can also be sent to him and made out to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Luman played all but a handful of those 141 holes by himself with a volunteer helping him keep a quick pace.

"I had one very, very kind man named Gaynard Brown, who offered up to run ahead of me and tee up my golf balls on the tee boxes and clean off my clubs and golf balls and just basically help me any way he could," Luman said. "He would jump off the cart and run to the next tee box because if I was off the cart, I was running or jogging.

"I was worried he would slow me down, but he was great. He saved me from having to bend over 150 times. He watched my awful game from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. He is just a wonderful man."

Luman packed food for the entire day so he didn't have to take a lunch break. He did take 15 minutes off to hit social media and remind everyone what he was doing.

Luman said he finished three rounds before all the greens were mowed. While he carded just one birdie, he only lost seven balls.

Luman's philanthropy for the MS cause started with the MS 150, which he completed four times. The bike ride consisted of biking 75 miles, camping and then biking another 75 miles. He did it once from Houston to Austin, Texas, and three times from Duluth to Minneapolis.

He switched to the golf marathon three years ago because he was afraid training for the bike ride would cut into his golfing.

"I'm passionate about the stupid game of golf so I had this brainstorm, this epiphany, that I'll golf as many holes as I can and get people, the brave ones, to support me for each hole."

His original goal was to reach $1,000. He finished that inaugural day with $12,000 raised.

"I just came across some sugar daddies and one guy donated $20 a hole and I was off to the races," Luman said. I'm not comfortable holding my hand out so I didn't want to go back to those guys the next year because they felt obligated. That's why I haven't done it in three years.

"But MS is such a horrible disease and I truly believe that it's one of those things that if you throw enough money at it they're going to cure it one of these days. They've done just wonderful research over these past few years.

Friday was his second links marathon for MS. His first attempt traveled 126 holes. He said his goal this time was just 100 holes because he wasn't sure if his body would hold up, but this time he had help.

As a member of Grand View Lodge, Luman said he established some wonderful relationships with other members there, and with the help of head golf professional Jack Wawro, word spread of Luman's golf fundraising fun. Luman and his wife winter in Arizona and he joined a club in Tonto Verde, where 40 percent of the membership has Minnesota ties.

"They are a very generous bunch there, and there are just so many kind and generous people in this world," Luman said. "With the theme of golf, all those people just wanted to help. It makes you feel good.

"All the times you get irritated about somebody who does something stupid, like cutting you off in traffic or just pull something on you, but this just restores your faith in humanity."

Luman played 18 holes Monday at the Preserve at Grand View Lodge and afterward was poised with this witty 19th-hole joke.

"I asked if anybody wanted to go play another 123 holes with me."

Jeremy Millsop
My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University. My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.
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