Cole Hetzel has been fascinated by the Guinness World Records book since he was little.
Since graduating from Beechwood High School in 2021, the former two-sport star with the Tigers has found ways to combine his love of sports with his love of records and helping others.
For the past two summers, Hetzel and her dad, Chris, have held a marathon day-long session of Wiffle ball for more than 30 hours in their backyard to break a Guinness World Record and raise money for charity.
They’ll be doing something similar next month, but on a bigger scale, in another popular pastime: miniature golf.
The Hetzels will attempt to set a Guinness World Records-recognized mark for most mini-golf holes played by a foursome in 24 hours beginning Sunday, July 31.
The record is 1,440 holes, totaling 80 laps, and was set in 2005 on an indoor course in Germany.
“We do that,” Cole Hetzel said. “We raise money for charity. Also, we love Putt-Putt and we want to push ourselves to the limit to see what we can do, try to break a world record.
The attempt will begin at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 31 and continue until 8 a.m. on Monday morning, August 1.
Hetzel ran cross country and played tennis for Beechwood, finishing 40th in the 2020 State 1A cross country meet. He is a member of the DePauw University cross country and track teams, a NCAA Division III school in Greencastle, Indiana, where he will be a sophomore this fall.
The Hetzels play weekly tournaments on the course and will team up with fellow competitors Bob Schoettinger and Tony Centers to complete the foursome.
“It’s a great place, a great environment,” Hetzel said. “A lot of good people. Great place for families. It brings out the best in me athletically.
The event will be a fundraiser for Matthew 25: Ministries, a Blue Ash-based organization that works with the poor and disaster-stricken.
Supporters can make donations on the organization’s website. Enter the code “PUTT” in the special purpose field to have the Hetzels credited with it.
Donations will also be collected on the course on the day of the event. The group also plans to solicit hole sponsors from local businesses.
Course owner Kevin Shea said the primary motivation for working with Matthew 25: Ministries is providing relief to areas of western Kentucky devastated by tornadoes several months ago.
The record attempt will take place on one of the establishment’s two 18-hole courses, which also host professional tours every year. The other 18-hole course will be open to the public during the day.
Shea said her class will feature live music and other festivities throughout the day.
“Part of the reason we were doing it is because we’re one of the oldest courses in the country,” he said. “I thought why don’t we try to get the record and coordinate it with some sort of charity. We’re always trying to do something with the community.
The Hetzels had been working on it for several months when they first applied with Guinness World Records and were approved.
Guinness World Records is notoriously strict when it comes to new entries in its book of world records. The Hetzels have been working with Guinness World Records officials for weeks to make sure everything is according to the book and the record is sanctioned if they break it.
As part of the requirements, the Hetzels must give Guinness an exact measurement of the course they are going to play. Several witnesses must be present and watch each hole they play, and the players must count the points. Cameras should also be installed for video evidence.
The quartet will have to average nearly 3.5 laps per hour to break the record. They will cover at least 11 miles in their 80 trips around the course in addition to standing for 24 hours.
“It’s pretty serious but it’s also a lot of fun,” Hetzel said. “We’re having a great time here trying to break a world record, but it’s about raising money for a good cause.”
Shea has held similar charity events in recent years, including a fundraiser for her nephew Alex Shea, a St. Henry District High School graduate who survived cancer several years ago and is now part of the team at University of Cincinnati baseball.
“It gets a lot of attention,” Kevin Shea said. “Cole and his dad did 95% of the work. I think it will be really good and a lot of fun.
Hetzel and his dad raised about $1,000 last year with the Wiffle Ball event and finally realized they could do things on a larger scale with miniature golf at a public facility.
“A few years ago my dad and I built a makeshift Wiffle ball court in our backyard,” he said. “We loved playing there. We both wanted to be in the Guinness Book of World Records and we thought about what we could do. Then we found out there was a wiffle ball record, we chased it down and broke it.