A variety of things built up during the week before our Macmillan Longest Day Golf Challenge.
- Our excitement. We love playing golf and even though we knew this would be gruelling we were pretty happy with the thought of playing all day
- The number of Titleist clubs in Paul and Stuarts Bags – They’ve both become titleist converts this year and both had a new three wood to get to know during the 4 rounds
- Our Just Giving Page was getting more and more money donated
- The collection bucket in the pro shop – which was already half full before we kicked off – thanks to the pro and members at Littlehampton Golf Club
- Our collection of Bunker Mentality gear – as the wonderful crew at Bunker Mentality supported our quest with a shirt and a cap each from the performance golf range
- The Wind!! Matt always keeps a close eye on the forecast and noticed it getting ever more windy as the week progressed. Friday was blowy but nothing compared to what we faced on the 15th!
As the alarms went off around 4am the rain was lashing down and the 4 of us shared a couple of wattsapp conversations as we readied ourselves without waking the rest of our respective houses up. On arrival at the club the greenkeepers had opened early so we could tee off at 4:45. We didn’t quite manage it but were on our way by 5am.
We needed to keep a full scorecard for all 4 rounds for Macmillan (best 2 stableford scores from 4). But we wanted to ensure each and every one of us was focused and trying hard for the team, so we also set up 4 team events. Matt and Paul were 3-1 down to Neal and Stuart at the start of the day and so were hoping to pull some back over these 4 rounds.
The wind was howling but the rain had stopped and an empty course and rested bodies meant we could whizz round the first round in just 3 hours. We played straight better ball matchplay with each player taking shots off Paul on a ¾ handicap basis. Matt and Paul triumphed in this one with a couple to play. It was a pretty fair game but 3 birdies in 4 holes from the 15th from Paul pretty much shut the door on the first match.
We’d played a medal the week before on our home course at Littlehampton and the wind was up which prepared us somewhat for the barrage on the 15th.
The wind was nuts, at times when gusting it was easily a 4 club wind – if the ball went up into the air with any backspin it was coming down backwards even with a wood in your hand. Shoreham weather centre reported between 26 and 30mph all day and gusts up to 45mph. We reckon the exposed Links on Littlehampton’s West Beach was even worse than that – it was truly gruelling and didn’t let up all day.
Our second round got underway at just gone 8am and the members of the club let us play through where possible and were very accommodating. This as a result of the PR our club had given us during the week and posters we’d made up for 9 of 18 tees explaining what we were doing. We played skins this time and again Paul and Matt closed the match out on the 15th gathering enough skins after a few roll overs.
Round 3 took 4 ½ hours and that was with the support of family who came to walk the course and even caddy for us! We played a Daytona format on this one and again Matt and Paul Triumphed.. It was becoming a good day for the guys as they took the lead in the team tournament for the first time. It’s a great format and the scores and swing massively but it was level on the 17th tee and only a steady 2 holes saw Paul and Matt take enough points to win the match.
As the clock passed 8.30pm and 4 hours into our for the final round, we came down the 18th and were greeted with a round of applause from the only 2 surviving members left supporting us from the balcony.
You try walking about 20 miles in some of the strongest winds, concentrating hard on a game of golf and being on your feet for 15 hours ! Needless to say every penny donated has certainly been earned and will undoubtedly be appreciated by Macmillan.
Upon looking at the screen for the days show and go results and only seeing 4 names finish we realised further what a tough day we’d chosen to complete our challenge.
The stableford team scores were not much to really write home about but the course was playing 4-5 shots harder than the card suggests so we may do ok. We also managed to pick a date just 7 days before the club championship so the rough was up and this combined with the wind made it every bit tougher than it could have been 3 weeks ago. We are really proud of our achievements as a team and just wonder how we are going to trump this next year. 4 courses / 4 counties perhaps? Ideas welcome
A special mention to Littlehampton Golf Club who not only supported the challenge but also provided a voucher for 4 rounds of golf as a prize in the forthcoming raffle and national clothing retailer Bunker Mentality who provided us with clothing for the challenge.
If you would like to donate to this worthwhile cause please visit www.justgiving.com/3mib
If you are thinking about entering the challenge take a peek here