AN amateur golfer endured a gruelling test of stamina and patience as he completed 18 holes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in less than 18 hours.
Londoner Roger Southam travelled 1,200 miles on Tuesday, playing at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland, Gleneagles in Scotland, Newport’s Celtic Manor and the Manor House Golf Club in Wiltshire all to raise money for children’s medical research charity Sparks.
Despite weather-enforced delays, Southam completed the Sparks Golf Challenge, sponsored by Royal & Awesome, in spectacular fashion by flying in a helicopter, which had been generously donated, from country to country.
Wearing his eye-catching Royal & Awesome trousers and with less than three hours to complete each round, Southam had originally planned to play 2017 Irish Open venue Lough Erne; this year’s Ryder Cup venue, Gleneagles; former Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor and The London Club, host of the 2014 Volvo World Match Play Championships.
He got off to a great start, completing the Faldo Course at Lough Erne in less than three hours but the take-off from Northern Ireland was delayed by two hours because of poor weather conditions.
Time was made up at Gleneagles, however, where Southam played 18 holes in less than two hours.
The helicopter pilots were able to swiftly transport Southam down to Celtic Manor for the Welsh leg of the challenge, where 18 holes on the Roman Road course were completed in just over two hours.
However, because of the time lost earlier in the day, the final leg was switched to the Manor House Golf Club.
That saved around an hour of flight time and enabled Southam to complete the challenge within 18 hours.
Since 1991, Sparks has raised more than £27m through fundraising initiatives used for pioneering children’s medical research, and Southam is aiming to add £50,000 to the funds with this challenge.
He said: “I was a little nervous but extremely excited about the challenge – I have thought about doing it for a long time.
“The Sparks Golf Challenge is a great bit of fun and an excellent way for people to get involved and to help raise money so the charity can fund vital research – and when I was asked if I wanted to take part, I was keen to take it to the next level.
“With the support of Royal & Awesome, and the four host courses, the challenge is a dream come true – but to make a real difference to Sparks, an extremely worthwhile cause, is what it is all about.”
To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/Roger-Southam1
To register for the Spark Golf Challenge, visit www.sparks.org.uk/golf