Teeing off for LIFEbeat

about 1 month ago Stuart Bonner

Golf

As determined as I was to get in my usual hours of sleep before a big day of golf, the sound of my alarm going off at 4am was particularly grating, I won’t lie.

​The journey to Sweetwoods Golf Club on the Sussex/Kent border was only 30 minutes for me, so at least I had the comfort of my own bed the night before. My three partners had to stay in a local hotel the night before and to my utter smugness, seemed to have had a worse night’s sleep than me!

​The gates to the club opened at 5:30am and we were first in. We quickly made our way to the first tee with nervous excitement. A 70-degree gradient to even reach the first tee from the car park should have been a stark warning for what was to come, and we were heavy breathing by the time we were ready to swing the club for the first time.

​Classic first tee disaster, three out of the four going wayward and the first of many balls lost on the day! @Martin Humphrey and @Matthew Bewick were playing partners for the first 18 holes, versus the Property boys, me and @Luke Joy. Finding ourselves behind five holes in, after I’d scuffed another one into the trees, Martin confidently exclaimed “I don’t think I want to change the teams for the next rounds, let’s keep it as it is…” Now, I don’t know if it was this statement or my idea that we should play for money which affected the concentration of our highly esteemed Head of Credit Control, but needless to say his game capitulated and Luke and I won the first match thanks to some great play from Luke in the main. I don’t know if the win was more satisfying, or the moment Matt went into “full management mode” and asked Martin, “What’s changed and led to this downturn in performance, Martin? Shall we discuss it”? (You probably had to be there, it was funny at the time!)

​Martin failed to recover in the next round and lost again. Unfortunately, this time he was my partner as the pairing of Bewick and Joy beat us by one hole.

​Despite a huge amount of ribbing about the fact Martin was the only individual without a win to his name on the day so far, he came through the next 18 holes in flying colours and won our singles game with a fine performance (30 Stableford points playing off 18 for those that are really interested.)

​We’d had a quick 30-minute break after the first two games, taking us to about 1:30pm, and I won’t lie, this was the hardest bit. I was feeling exhausted, already having walked 25,000 steps and knowing we had to do it all again in the afternoon and evening. It’s why I personally took my foot off the gas and let Martin win the third round, of course. By the time we’d finished the third round there were complaints of hips hurting and blisters popping, but even Matt playing in his socks didn’t stop us completing the four rounds. At the same time as all this, we had torrential rain, a fox watching us play (and taking food out of our hands), enough energy food and drink to sink a battleship, and multiple hills to ascend and descend (I still don’t know which was harder.) We finally finished round four, and 72 holes, at 9:45pm. 50,000 steps and 36km completed. What an achievement. And if anyone has walked or played the course, you’ll know what an achievement this was. Hilly is an understatement!!!

​I must say I was feeling smug again about my 30-minute journey home whilst others got stuck in traffic and didn’t get in until past midnight. It was an experience I think only Martin was desperate to repeat (“next year then lads”) seconds after finishing. Although our initial reaction was “no Martin, no!” I know I speak for all four of us when I say I’m glad we did it, and all for an amazing charity, LIFEbeat. We managed to raise over £2,000.

​I implore you to put your hands in your pockets and support LIFEbeat further by donating to this wonderful small charity. 100% of what you contribute goes directly to LIFEbeat, though you might need to set aside just a small amount to cover the plasters and visits to the osteopath. I joke of course. Thank you for reading and thank you for your support. ​