Blog: Taking part in NCG's Longest Day Golf Challenge

The Scoop

It was a hard day on the course, but all for an amazing cause...

I didn’t know what to expect of my first 72-hole Longest Day Golf Challenge. I guess I thought it was going to be quite a relaxing stroll. Sadly I was wrong.

My dad Nick, Wayne Bell and I agreed to take part in this year’s longest day golf challenge and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity that is very close to my heart who do fantastic work and offer incredible support to sufferers all over the country.

On Sunday evening, we decided to stay up and watch the conclusion of the US Open. What better way to draw inspiration than to watch the best in the world show us how it’s done. The only problem was that it finished at 1:30am and we had to be up and out by 4:30am for our first round. First piece of advice… go to bed at a reasonable hour to be fully awake and ready to play four rounds.

We made the short journey to Moor Allerton Golf Club, a 27-hole course in North Leeds area that the NCG offices back on to. As the sun was just showing itself at 4:50am through the misty clouds, my dad teed it up on the 430 yard par 4 1st hole, and hit it….20 yards into the rough. This could be a long day…

We made it through the first 18 holes in 3 hours 15 minutes with no real difficulty. A cup of tea and a toasted teacake later and we were ready for round two. We decided on this 18 to play holes 19-27 twice as it was a bit easier on the legs than holes 1-18 are, and we didn’t want to burn ourselves out before the last 36 holes.

My dad started us off again by topping five shots straight into the water, something he wasn’t too pleased about. Still carrying my bag I was starting to feel a bit sluggish but as we were walking towards the 25th green there in the distance was James, our equipment editor, with the new Powakaddy Touch electric trolley in hand for me.

That gave me the lift I needed, and on the next tee I hit my best drive of the day, 260 yards down the middle. Overall the second 18 holes was a bit of an effort from all three of us. We had about five birdie putts between us all and didn’t do the course any real justice. We were let through by four members on the 32nd hole who wished us well for the remaining 36 holes, a nice gesture from them.

We finished our second round at 12:30 and had the sudden realisation that we were now half way through our Longest Day Golf Challenge. We packed the cars and after a quick stop off for a bite to eat headed to Sand Moor Golf Club to begin our third round.

We were all starting to feel a little leggy, but when we arrived at Sand Moor Golf Club we were instantly lifted by the sight of the magnificent course. A quick change of clothes and the addition of a few plasters to the feet and we were ready to go again.

The third round started really well for us all. We were making plenty of pars and a couple of unlikely birdies were made too. The greens were running really smoothly and the rough wasn’t too thick. Once we finished the front nine, tiredness was really starting to set in. Maybe staying up until the small hours was not such a good idea after all. We had a couple of energy bars to try and give us that bit of a boost that we needed. Despite the tiredness and sluggishness setting in we were all actually playing quite well. We made a few birdies and easy pars which is always convenient when you are trying to squeeze in 72 holes in one day. The quicker you can finish a hole the better!

By 4:45pm we had completed 54 holes and had just one more round to complete. Fatigue had well and truly set in now and the thought of another 18 holes really didn’t seem all that appealing. But we knew it was all for a good cause so we trudged back out for the final time.

The energy drinks and bars were in short supply but luckily the water fountains at Sand Moor were there for us to use. If I had to describe the final round in one word it would have to be ‘effort’.

It truly was an effort to get around and all I can really say is that without the Powakaddy trolley and FootJoy shoes I may not have made it around in one piece. We shared a few birdies between us all, maybe due to the fact we could hit the ball straighter thanks to the loss of 30mph in swing speed. There were plenty of tired swings and duffed chips shots, but when we finished that 72nd hole there was relief all around!

The final shot of the day was at 8:10pm and we had been playing golf for over 15 hours with a couple of short breaks in between. It was a great experience and something I wouldn’t hesistae to do again, especially when you are raising money for such a worthwhile cause.

If you are thinking about doing the challenge, make sure you have the below in large quantities before you start:

  • Energy drinks
  • Energy bars
  • Plasters
  • Sun cream
  • Vaseline (trust me)
  • Plenty of golf balls
  • A comfortable pair of golf shoes

Special thanks go to Moor Allerton and Sand Moor for letting us do this challenge on their brilliant courses, FootJoy for sending me a pair of Contour Casuals for the occasion which unsurprisingly didn’t let me down and of course everyone who has kindly donated so far.

Finally, thanks to my dad Nick Middleton and Wayne Bell for agreeing to represent National Club Golfer and take part in this challenge for Macmillan Cancer Support charity. For two self-employed tilers over the age of 40 with dodgy knees you can’t question their commitment to the cause!

Through generous online and sponsor form donations we currently have raised close to £400 and we are still hoping to raise more in the coming weeks. So if you can, please donate on our Just Giving page, any contribution will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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