Bob Roth is a lifer. The Air Force veteran, insurance salesman and father of 1993 PGA club professional champion Jeff Roth, loves golf. Scratch that. He lives for golf. And last week he signed the scorecard on one hell of a personal milestone: His 10,000th round of golf.
Roth played his first round at Pennsylvania’s Newcastle Country Club at age 15, posting a modest 128 (yes, he is the kind of guy who would keep score on his first round). Since that fateful day in 1947, Roth has racked a calculator-frying amount of golf, dedicating 50,000 hours – that’s 2,083 1/3 days and 5.7 years – of his life to smacking a little white ball around a whopping 514 different courses.
“I maintain that no human has played more golf,” Jeff Roth told PGA of America historian Bob Denney. “Should someone argue that Gary Player has played more rounds than my dad, I say, OK, that’s nice. Please prove it.“
Now we’re sure Gary Player would have something to say about that – the man is a walking soundbite after all – but when you factor in Roth’s refusal to count any of his nine-hole rounds or par-3 courses in his total, it becomes awful tough to argue he isn’t the planet’s most
dedicated obsessed golfer. “It’s a love affair,” Bob says, before adding, “I’d like to see more young people taking up the game and putting down their hand-held tech devices.”
Perhaps the most inspiring part of this story for all of us currently chained to an office desk reading this on said hand-held tech devices, however, is that Roth didn’t begin playing his best golf until much later in life, shooting his all-time low round of 71 when he was 59. And his first hole-in-one came at age 74. If that doesn’t motivate you to silence your phone, we don’t know what will.