Club pros take ultimate trek: To top of Kilimanjaro
Because it was there, of course.
That’s why they climbed Mount Kilimanjaro? Well, partly. But it was also discovered that Erik Robinson and Devin Beck also share an insatiable desire to give back. It’s just remarkable to consider the extreme to which they went to demonstrate their kind-heartedness. How about eight days to trek up and down the world’s highest free-standing mountain, at about 19,000 feet?
“There is something incredibly mystifying about it,” Robinson said. “It felt like we were on the moon for a week.”
Said Beck: “It was very deep, very awesome. Unbelievable.”
Assistant professionals at Wollaston GC in Milton, Mass., (Robinson) and Wannamoisett CC in Rumford, R.I. (Beck), they met and became fast friends while enrolled in the Professional Golf Management program at Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C.
But while golf is their passion and their livelihood, they grasp life’s bigger picture. When Beck decided in the winter of 2012 to ride a bike cross-country to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association of Rhode Island, Robinson nearly went. He regretted not doing so. When the next extreme idea came along – to hike Kilimanjaro – Robinson jumped.
“He was as eager as me, very willing,” Beck said.
Turns out, Robinson, who grew up in Sandwich, Mass., said he “always had a thing about Kilimanjaro. I don’t know why, but I did.”
They flew to Tanzania and after a few days for a safari, they drove six hours to begin their climb on Feb. 1. “They call it ‘Everyman’s Everest,’ " Robinson said, but while it doesn’t involve the dangers of earth’s highest mountain, the men and seven other climbers encountered rain, snow, hail and precipitation every day.
Sadly, Robinson, who raised money for the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund, suffered a ruptured ear drum at 18,000 feet and couldn’t get to the peak. He did, however, put to use a special tool he brought with him – his first 5-iron. “It barely went to my knee, but I brought four golf balls with me, wrote things on them and hit shots from (near) the top.”
Beck – a native of Tiverton, R.I., who walked on behalf of a “Trash to Cash” program in Haiti administered by the Executives Without Borders – got married in April and said his “extreme days” may be over. “Kilimanjaro,” he said, “might have been my last hurrah.”