Am I in the right place?
I’m sat in the reception area of the Iveridge Health Club, in Leeds, reeling off a list of complaints more suited to a doctor’s surgery.
I’ve got a bad neck, bad shoulders, something is growing out of my shoulder – Rachael Tibbs winces at this and I realise I’ve gone too far.
Basically, I’m 40 and a physical mess.
Rachael runs Dynamic Golf and specialises in training programmes that increase fitness and enhance golf performance.
She works with a number of elite players, including European Tour professional Chris Hanson.
I’m about to play 100 holes in a day, on Monday at my club Sandburn Hall, and the prospect of walking almost 30 miles and hitting around 500 shots is not only way out of my comfort zone, it’s starting to terrify me.
So where better to go and get some top notch advice?
Rachael sits me down and gives it to me straight. Prepare to feel pain.
“You are going to fatigue as you going along,” she explains. “Walking 100 holes, which is going to be an average of 27 or 28 miles, is not something you are used to doing.
“You are going to have a natural fatigue from that. The main thing, for me, is the amount of swings you are going to put in over that period.
“It’s going to be 300 swings at least, probably. It’s the impact of every swing and every practice swing on your body. That’s going to wear it down and fatigue it.
“What’s going to happen then is that your movement patterns are going to change. You might start really fresh, and you’re really rotating well and using the muscles that you should be using.
“As fatigue kicks in, your weaker muscles will get tired and they will stop working and then you’ll be relying on some of your stronger muscles. They are not necessarily the right ones.
“You’re going to stop moving as well and that’s going to impact your body. So if you have got problems with your shoulders, they are probably going to get quite stressed and tired, really.”
“It affects everybody differently. Everybody moves differently. Stay hydrated, make sure that you are eating plenty of carbohydrates as you go round and that will keep your energy levels up and getting it to your muscles.
“For me, it’s more about the repetitiveness of the swing and how that will impact on you. For a lot of golfers, who just play 18 holes, that can have a massive impact. If you are multiplying that by five and a half…”
I’ll see some changes to my swing, I won’t be able to swing as well, my score will increase with every round.
This is all quite sobering stuff, particularly as I’ve got club members betting on what score I’ll finish in.
So it seems I’m not just racing the sun, I’m racing infirmity and the imminent collapse of all my muscles.
I’m feeling pretty resigned at this moment to being scraped off the course, a blistered, decrepit fool.
Is there anything I can do to stop it – something that doesn’t involve abandoning the challenge?
“I guess it’s finding some stretches you can do on the way round, just to release the muscles a little bit,” Rachael adds. “They are going to get tight anyway just from walking round and especially if you are carrying a bag over your shoulder.
“I think that’s just going to happen, unfortunately.”
So it’s going to be tough then?
“I think it will be. I don’t think the walking is going to difficult, it depends what the weather is like. It will be more about the upper back, lower back, spine, maybe the knees. As you get fatigued, you’re going to get a little bit of aching in your joints. You’re going to get lethargic and a little bit slow.
“I think you’re going to probably feel it the next day. You’re going to be a little bit sore. But they will be the areas that pinpoint where you need to work on for your golf.”
God, help me. Here we go. 100 holes in a day. I’ll see you on the other side.
With thanks to…
Raising money doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It needs people to donate their hard-earned cash and companies to support your cause.
So I am hugely indebted to friends and colleagues in the golf industry, who have dug deep and provided prizes for a range of events during my year as Sandburn Hall captain that I hope will raise precious pounds.
Huge thanks go to Titleist, who donated three dozen each of Pro V1 and ProV1x – check out our review here – and FootJoy, whose voucher to custom design a pair of MyJoy shoes is the star prize of an one-the-day raffle to guess my score.
Thanks to Moortown, who donated a fourball voucher for their stunning course. Having had the pleasure of playing this Alister MacKenzie classic, I know whoever secures the prize is in for a right treat.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to play it, check out what my colleague Mark Townsend thinks of the Ryder Cup venue.
Last, but by no means least, thanks to Headingley for supporting me with a fourball to play their excellent Leeds layout. It’s a course up there with the best in the area, so why don’t drop in and find out for yourself?