ESCANABA – Former sports editor Denny Grall has completed a goal to golf in all 50 states. He completed the 50th state last week on a trip to Hawaii.
He got the idea to play golf in all 50 states when someone he was golfing with told him he had just golfed his 600th course. When Grall realized he had already golfed in 34 states he took on the challenge to golf in the remaining 16 states.
“I hadn’t a clue how many states I had played” Grall said. “When I realized I had 34 states played, 16 to go, I thought that’s easy.”
That was 2008. After retiring in 2012 from the Daily Press in Escanaba, he and his wife, Sally, headed to New England to play golf in eight states. He was on his was way to competing his goal.
Grall didn’t start playing golf until 1974. He doesn’t claim to be a great golfer but does love the game.
“The challenge of just hitting the ball, trying to do better on the next shot and that’s probably not hard to do because the last shot probably wasn’t that good,” he joked.
Does he get frustrated with the game or just go with the flow?
Of course I get frustrated. I think that’s part of the game of golf. You have to get frustrated playing it,” he claimed.
What’s enjoyable about that? He had to think a moment.
“That’s a good question. I don’t know,” he said with a laugh. “It’s just a lot of fun.”
His most fun game of golf ended up being his last one, a round of golf at the Kaneobe Klipper at a military base in Hawaii. A Vietnam War veteran, Grall said it was special to play at the base. His trip to Alaska also tops his list. He played golf in the middle of the night in bright summer sun.
“I’m just one of those guys lucky enough or dumb enough to be able to pay to do it,” he said. “I’ve been goofy about sports all my life.”
His next goal is to watch a ballgame at each Major League park.
Despite his travels, Grall says his favorite golf course is right here in the U.P. – Timberstone in Iron Mountain. He should know a thing or two about the golf courses in the Upper Peninsula, he’s played at all them. Something else he is not sure has been done before.