Local businessman and friends taking on 24 hours of golf for ailing Spicewood girl

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

MEADOWLAKES — Three years ago, local businessman and avid golfer Mike McClung took up his golf clubs and hit the course for 24 hours to raise money for a family whose child was suffering from leukemia. So a few weeks ago, when he read about 15-year-old Katelyn Norton battling a rare brain tumor called schwannoma tumor, he decided to shoulder his golf bag for another 24-hour marathon.

Only this time, he’s bringing along a few friends.

“That last one, I played 370 holes of golf,” McClung said. “It’s extremely hard.”

On June 1, starting at 6 p.m. at Hidden Falls Golf Club in Meadowlakes, McClung and 11 of his friends will start playing golf. As the crew plays into June 2, they will be playing the entire day that Katelyn undergoes one of her first treatments in Iowa.

Joining McClung are Donnie Zavala, Dent Offut, Brandon Gatton, Dave Klotz, Ty Thompson, Mike Tepper, Mike Thelen, John Wagner, John Ford, Lee Beuershausen and Dale Wieweck.

Physicians first diagnosed Katelyn with the brain tumor several years ago. She underwent brain surgery in 2011 to remove the disease, and surgeons believed it was successful. Followup exams seemed to support that conclusion.

But earlier this year, Katelyn began complaining of headaches, so her mother, Debbie, scheduled a check-up. Physicians discovered the tumor had returned.

In April, the family traveled to Iowa to meet with surgeons who specialize in this type of brain tumor. It now looks as if Katelyn is facing many more treatments and surgeries.

Friends and supporters have begun a fundraising campaign through www.youcaring.com (type in Katelyn Norton’s name to find her page.)

People can make a pledge based on how many holes the 12 men play or just make a flat donation.

The 24-hour format isn’t just all 12 going out and playing round after round. McClung is dividing them up into four teams of three. At the start of the marathon, one team will begin at the first hole, the second team at the second hole and so on.

“So, at the first hole, a member of the first team will tee off to another team member on the fairway who will then hit it up near or on the green,” McClung said.

At that point, the third team member will take over.

The second team waiting on the second tee won’t go until the first team sinks the putt. That team and the ensuing teams will follow the same format.

“And when we finish the first hole, we’ll jump around to the fifth hole,” McClung said. The teams will spend the marathon using this format. McClung discovered in his three previous solo 24-hour golf marathons that playing hole after hole just wears a person out. Using this three-member team format with the leapfrogging gives the players a little rest, making it a bit more bearable and a lot more fun.

Call McClung at (512) 755-0782 or the Hidden Falls Golf Club at (830) 693-3300 for more information or to donate. Donations also may be made through Katelyn’s page listed above.

daniel@thepicayune.com