After 96 days of whacking a golf ball, Luke Bielawski will hit a final shot into the Atlantic Ocean Saturday.
The student from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law has spent the better part of his summer teeing off from California to South Carolina as a fundraiser for Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis.
Bielawski and his team followed a trek along the southern half of the United States, going through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi before arriving in Charleston. He spent anywhere from six to 14 hours each day hitting the ball from wherever it landed, along a highway, in a field, on a mountain, on the beach. As Bielawski used a John Deere Gator as his golf cart to get from shot to shot, his team followed behind in a recreational vehicle.
“I don’t remember a single shot really stood out, but it’s the landscapes I remember the most,” Bielawski said, recalling the red rocks in Arizona, the long straight roads in Texas, the swamps in Louisiana and Mississippi, and finally the coast of the Palmetto State.
While in Tucson, Ariz., and Birmingham, Ala., Bielawski got a fresh dose of inspiration from the Cristo Rey schools in those communities. He got to mingle with the students there and talk about his 2,900-mile journey.
The whole purpose of Bielawski’s “From Tee to Shining Tee” was to raise money for scholarships for the economically disadvantaged students at Providence Cristo Rey in his hometown. He is unsure how much money he has collected to date but he plans to continue raising money by auctioning off his clubs and other items used during the cross-country trip.
To conclude the summer golf fundraising odyssey, Bielawski will step onto The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C., and swing, sending a biodegradable ball sailing into the Atlantic Ocean. He will be joined by friends and family as well as people he met along the way.
“It’s actually very surreal,” Bielawski said about finishing.
He has had a lot of fun this summer but, he said, he is ready to return to law school for his final semester.
“I’m very passionate about golf but I’m also very passionate about the law,” Bielawski said. “I am looking forward to going to class, seeing my professors and reading cases.”