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Junior golfer playing 50 courses in 50 days to raise funds for education

Letter from Arnold Palmer to Tyler.

May 14, 2013

By Nick Cammarota, The Gazette

This article has been reposted courtesy of TheGazette.net.

Quince Orchard High School junior Tyler Dunmyer (right) poses with Walt Whitman High School junior Andrew Barth (left) after finishing a round at Bethesda Country Club.
Photo credit: Laura Dunmyer

Generally speaking, golf courses aren’t the most altruistic establishments around.

There are fees to play, fees to become a member, fees to rent a cart or clubs, and a wide variety of food and drink available for purchase inside the clubhouse.

Which is why, when Quince Orchard High School junior Tyler Dunmyer dreamt up a once in a lifetime idea that involved soliciting the help and generosity of 50 golf courses in the Washington, D.C., area, their responses surprised him.

“With some of the courses, my dad and I were like, ‘There’s no way they’ll let us play for free,” Dunmyer said. “But I’ve been very surprised with their response. They’ve been so welcoming. When people do stuff like that, it feels great.”

Dunmyer’s quest, which is now more than halfway complete, is to play 50 area golf courses in 50 days and donate all the proceeds to Junior Achievement, a program that teaches financial literacy and entrepreneurship to students in kindergarten through 12th grade to prepare them for future economic success.

“The realization is how welcoming all the courses have been,” said Bob Dunmyer, Tyler’s father. “When we started this and got the green light from the TPC Potomac folks we never knew what the response was going to be from the different courses around.”

Tyler’s journey began on April 10 at Little Bennett in Clarksburg and is expected to end May 29 with a round during the Pro-Amateur day at the Web.com Tour's Mid-Atlantic Championship at TPC Potomac (Avenel). As a way to raise money in addition to donations, Dunmyer is selling tickets to the Mid-Atlantic Championship through the tournament’s Tickets for Charity program.

“I played P.B. Dye golf course in another tournament and it was probably the craziest course I’ve ever played,” Dunmyer said. “There’s railroad cross ties and these mounds with sand that look like volcanoes.

“When I realized how many different types of courses there are, I kind of wanted to check them all out, so that’s how I came up with 50 Courses in 50 Days, already knowing that I wanted to do something to help the community.”

Last week, Dunmyer played what he called one of the nicer courses he’s seen so far at Bethesda Country Club on a picturesque day for golf. As one might imagine, the days are long. Dunmyer leaves school and heads straight for that day’s scheduled course and won’t return home until about 8 p.m., depending on where the course is located. He then documents his experience on a self-created blog. On the weekends, he’ll sometimes play two courses in one day to give himself a much-needed break during the school week.

Bethesda Country Club was Dunmyer’s 23rd course and he’s now more than halfway through his march toward 50. He said his hands haven’t blistered much and he’s only a little sore from the constant playing. Without time to practice, however, his game has slipped a tad.

“My hands have been keeping up, but exhaustion has been something that’s awful,” he said. “And not being able to practice. Before this, I practiced every day, four hours a day, and played maybe once a week. So my consistency has gone out the door a little bit.”

So far, his finest moment — at least on the scorecard — was when he shot an even-par 72 at Musket Ridge in Myersville. That or the day when he lost his ball in a battle against a massive swan on the 13th green at Heritage Hunt Country Club in Gainesville, Va. He was forced to two-putt after the swan wouldn’t let him get close to his Titleist 4 ball.

Throughout his journey to this point, he’s met former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, former Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams, PGA Tour golfer Jason Gore and tons of local pros, managers and talented golfers.

Sometimes the courses will allow Dunmyer to play a round on his own, while other times they’ll pair him with members or in other groups. Throughout it all, Dunmyer remains inspired by the work of Junior Achievement and is hopeful he can reach his goal of raising $10,000.

“I’m very interested in business. That’s been something that I’ve liked,” Dunmyer said. “Every $100 I make in donations, [Junior Achievement] is able to teach one class. That was definitely my main goal ... because I wanted to do it and now I’m giving it back.”

To purchase tickets to the Mid-Atlantic Championship or make a donation to Dunmyer’s cause, visit www.50in50.info.

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