Eat. Sleep. Golf: The incredible story of Nolan Krentz
By Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist
Nolan Krentz plays golf on Thanksgiving. He has played, during a couple of relatively balmy Wisconsin winters, on Christmas Day. He plays on his birthday, he plays when it’s raining and when the wind is howling, he plays when he’s tired, and, perhaps most remarkable of all for a diehard golf nut, he plays on Masters Sunday. Both before the final round at Augusta, and again afterward.
To date, he has never played on Super Bowl Sunday, but yeah, you can probably guess where this is going: "I would if I could," Krentz told me, via telephone. "There’s always too much snow."
Krentz likes playing golf, which is just as well because he does virtually nothing else.
Already an obsessively devoted player, the 29-year-old from Mount Horeb, Wisconsin kicked things up a notch during the pandemic, getting in a scarcely believable average of 69.4 holes per day.
Nolan Krentz, a 29-year-old male from Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, played an average of 69.4 holes of golf per day.
He often spends more time at the course than he does sleeping, or at his job in the e-commerce department of a grocery store in nearby Fitchburg. Fortunately, he lives only two minutes from his preferred course – Norsk Golf Club – and he even manages to fit in a second job, coaching two high school golf teams, that correlates with his hobby.
"I don’t really have a social life," Krentz said. "I don’t have a significant other. A lot of people think I’m crazy but this is what I do – and it’s what I love to do."
This job I have, of writing about sports, has made me fortunate enough to meet countless athletes who play for varied reasons, sometimes several at once. They play to win, they play to get paid, they play for the recognition and some play because they don’t know what they’d do otherwise.
Krentz isn’t a professional but he’s really good by normal people standards. He doesn’t have an official handicap but plays to around a five, so he isn’t doing this to break into the ranks of the PGA Tour and start teeing it up next to Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.
He’s doing it because he truly adores it, the activity, the endeavor, the peace and the outdoors, so much so that he went through three pull carts over the past summer and kept on going even when shin splints threatened to slow him down.
Last year, Nolan Krentz did not skip a day of playing golf from April 1 to Dec. 12, totaling 1,974 rounds and 17,766 holes.
Last year, Krentz did not skip a day of playing from April 1 to Dec. 12, when a blanket of snow fell on Southern Wisconsin and forced his clubs into storage for a while.
His annual tally ended up at 1,974 rounds and 17,766 holes (Norsk is a nine-hole course). That’s a lot of golf. And a lot of walking.
It could be that Krentz’s efforts are good enough for a world record, but he’s not quite sure. Texan Barry Gibbons set a Guinness mark with 15,804 holes in 2016, which was bettered in 2019 by retired serviceman Yancy Methvien of Louisiana, who played 16,398 holes as part of a battle to cope with PTSD following active duty.
At last word, Gibbons was attempting to recapture the record and was approaching 18,000 holes last year, but then the website he used to record his rounds went down and updates have not been forthcoming.
Krentz isn’t too worried about records anyways.
He once played 135 holes in a day, mixing Norsk and another local course, Dodge Point Country Club. "I started early," he said. "And I just kept going."
Playing by himself he gets around swiftly, speeding along under his own steam. Krentz doesn’t take a single practice swing. He just locates his ball, steps up to it, and swings away. He’s played Norsk so many times he doesn’t feel the need to read his putts anymore, figuring he knows every blade of grass on the greens.
"Most players are very good about waving me through, they’ve come to know me," Krentz added. "It gets kind of funny, they’ll wave me through on the second hole and I’ll catch up to them again by the sixth."
Nolan Krentz poses in front of Norsk Golf Club, which is just two minutes from his home and is his preferred course.
Krentz’s tale came to my attention when he was first featured by outstanding veteran sportswriter Gary D’Amato, with whom I shared a press box at numerous Olympic Games and other major events for more than a decade.
D’Amato writes for Killarney Golf Media, a Wisconsin-based website and magazine devoted to the sport, and admitted he did not believe Krentz’s claims when he was first informed of them.
"I did the math and I’m thinking ‘how is this possible?’" D’Amato said. "I’m playing a 100-hole marathon next week for charity and I don’t know if I will finish it. He’s doing almost as much as that every day."
D’Amato noted that while the Wisconsin weather – with around 16 hours of midsummer daylight – likely helped Krentz during the middle part of the year, he endured some extremities in April and December.
"We are not talking about Bahamas weather out here," D’Amato added. "He’ll have been out there in 40 degrees, with the sleet coming in."
It would be cool for the story if Krentz had an "a-ha" moment that led to his decision to embark on such a quest, some dramatic happening that caused him to pursue the mission.
In truth, it wasn’t like that, and maybe it’s for the best. Krentz plays golf because he wants to, and his extraordinary tale of endurance began with a simple and organic thought.
"Well, the pandemic hit and I had to figure out what to do," he said. "I thought, ‘hmm, let’s just get in as many holes as we can.’"
Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider Newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.