Garry Murphy and Joe Duncan met when they were 12, soon after Murphy’s family moved to the United States from Ireland.
Now they are best friends at 31, their mutual love for disc golf having brought them closer together.
In May, they will bring their flying discs from northeastern Illinois to Rock Falls as they try to gain entry into the Guinness World Records book.
“The sport really has caught on here,” Murphy said. “There is only one disc golf course in all of Ireland, and it is maintained by two donkeys,” he added with a laugh.
Now they intend to shatter the current record for the number of holes played in 24 hours. But as they try, they’ll also be giving back to the community, accepting donations to share between the Coloma Township Park District and their home course, Sergeant Means Park in Olympia Fields south of Chicago.
Money raised will go toward park improvements, though not just for the disc golf courses, Duncan said.
“We really want to increase awareness of the sport, but [also] give back to these parks and communities,” he said.
Murphy and Duncan, of Crete, chose Nims Park for their record-setting try after doing a lot of research and trying out various courses.
“It is a very charming course, regardless of the size,” Murphy said. “It’s great for practice, putting and mid-range. I think the baskets are in very good condition, and with the canal right there, it’s a really nice park.”
Shawn McCarthy, who is director of the Basket Cases Club with which Murphy and Duncan are affiliated, said that Murphy and Duncan fell in love with the course when they came out to practice.
“Nims is so perfect for this record,” McCarthy said.”The holes are short, so you aren’t wasting time; all are straight-on shots, there’s not a long walk between holes. It is so accommodating. It’s just awesome.”
McCarthy said the two also feel a sense of community in Rock Falls.
“It got them stoked when some kids let them play through on the course,” he said. “They told them they were going to try to break the record, and then the kids cheered them on all the way through, which really just fueled their fire more.”