After playing the Golf Digest's top American courses, Mike and Marilyn Allen released a book about their journey.
After playing the Golf Digest's top American courses, Mike and Marilyn Allen released a book about their journey. (photo submitted)

COLUMBUS GROVE — Mike Allen, Columbus Grove, has loved golf since he was a young boy and built his 80-yard hole using a tin can as the cup. Now Mike and his wife Marilyn have achieved a unique goal in the world of golf. They have played every single golf course posted by the Golf Digest in their top 100 golf courses in America. This is not from one list, but from every public golf course that has ever appeared in the publication’s since they first appeared in 2003.

This achievement by the couple has included golfing at 194 golf courses, traveling 55,000 miles, and playing 3,492 holes of golf. The journey began in 2013 and ended in November 2018 when they walked off the 18th hole of the Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, California.

The couple’s journey, though, didn’t end in California. Dave Hanneman, Ottawa, a sportswriter for the Courier, encouraged the Allens to write a book about their unique achievement. Hanneman knew Mike while he was coaching a high school basketball team.

Mike, with the assistance of his wife, wrote about each golf course. He describes the layout along with the scenery and difficulty of the golf course. His favorite part, though, was writing about the unique experiences he and Marilyn had during their travels across the country.

“I think the experiences and the people we were paired with was more memorable than the golf,” Marilyn said. “We met some great people.” Marilyn had taken the color pictures included in the book, “From Tee to Shining Tee.”

“I wrote the book so that non-golfers could enjoy it as well,” Mike said.

The couple is likely the only couple to have played on all of the Golf Digest’s biennial list of America’s 100 Great Public Courses through 2018.

It was in 2006 when the idea for the journey came about. Mike and Marilyn’s son Scott gave them a unique pegboard. The pegboard included the top 100 public courses for the Golf Digest’s magazine. Mike noticed he had already played 12 of the courses. Over the next two years, he checked off nine more courses on the pegboard list.

Marilyn, who shares Mike’s enthusiasm for golf, joined him in 2013, committing to the “Ultimate Buddy Trip.”

After completing and publishing the book, the couple has decided to donate all of the proceeds from the sale of the book to two charities related to military special forces, including The Pat Tillman Foundation and Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

The books are available for purchase from the website, Carl’s Hardware and Ooh La Latte coffee shop, and Strategic Financial Offices, all in Columbus Grove. You can also order an e-book or read reviews of the book on Amazon.

The couple plan to continue golfing. “We look forward to the next rankings and hope for new courses to conquer,” Mike said.