EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Jeff Locke aims to play fast this Friday, but do so for an excessively long time.
He also has a goal of upping the $6,000 he raised for "Tee It Up for the Troops" by participating in the "Longest Day of Golf for the Troops" for the third straight year. He has created this** fundraising page*** *to collect online donations through June 30.
Locke will join others for a group photo at 6:45 a.m., then hit the Bunker Hills Golf Club tee boxes by 7 a.m. Friday, the start of solstice weekend. Locke is hoping to take advantage of the most-plentiful daylight finish 72 holes. He and group members were two shy of that mark last year when darkness descended.
It's become an enlightening experience for Locke, who was born in an American military hospital while his father was serving in Germany, and a way to help a cause he cares deeply about.
"The first year I did it, I had no idea what to expect," Locke said. "Once I got out there, it was awesome. I only stayed for maybe half the time because I had an afternoon flight. I've got to stay for everything next year."
The golf event has fallen on the calendar the day after Vikings wrap up mandatory minicamp each year, and Locke began altering his travel schedule last year.
"It works out perfect," Locke said. "I can stick around for another day and don't have to worry about my body being totally destroyed from all this golf and have practice the next day, so it works out great."
Locke is expecting his lower back, front shoulder and feet to be sore if history is an indicator. He said they are small side effects, compared to the sacrifices made by members of the military and their families.
"You kind of get the whole array of people who have been in the military or had family in the military, or people who want to support the military," Locke said. "One of the coolest parts of the day is interacting with the veterans. I usually rotate groups so I get to meet people that have seen all different types of things."
The golf will be a mixture of individual and scramble play. He said his wedge game, about 125 yards in, is "usually" his strongest aspect of his game.
"The driver has actually been behaving lately," Locke said. "We'll see. It helps [speed up the pace of play] when you can hit the ball deep off the tee."