The Manor House Golf Club is celebrating its part in an extraordinary golf marathon, after stepping in at the last-minute to help an amateur golfer complete 72 holes of golf across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in less than 18 hours.
Roger Southam, chief executive and chairman of property management firm Chainbow, travelled more than 1,200 miles by helicopter on Tuesday (June 17), playing 18 holes at four different courses across the UK along the way, to raise money for Sparks, the Children’s Medical Research Charity.
Wearing a pair of eye-catching Paddy Par! trousers, courtesy of event sponsors Royal and Awesome, Southam, 52, had originally planned to play 2017 Irish Open venue Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, followed by this year’s Ryder Cup venue, Gleneagles, 2010 Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor, Wales, and The London Club, England, host of the 2014 Volvo World Match Play Championships.
But, after completing the first leg of his journey at Lough Erne’s Faldo Course in less than three hours, his chopper flight to Gleneagles was delayed by two hours because of poor weather.
In an attempt to recoup the time lost to the weather, Southam, a 23-handicap golfer, was forced to race around Gleneagles in two hours, before flying on to the Welsh leg of his journey at Celtic Manor, where he negotiated 18 holes on the Roman Road course in a fraction over 120 minutes.
But despite his efforts, Roger was still running behind schedule, which meant his final round, originally due to be played at The London Club, had to be switched to the Manor House Hotel & Golf Club, Wiltshire.
By stepping in as a last-minute replacement, Manor House saved Roger a crucial hour of flight time, enabling him to complete The Sparks Golf Challenge within his 18-hour target.
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.
Speaking after his final round, he said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to the Manor House Hotel & Golf Club – they stepped into the breach and helped me complete the four rounds.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without their generosity. The club has made it possible for me to raise a nice sum for Sparks, so I’m incredibly grateful – and it was a pleasure to finish this challenge on such a wonderful course, too.
“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.”
Andrew Ryan, head professional and golf operations and retail manager at The Manor House, said: “We’re very proud that the Manor House was able to step in at the last minute to help Roger over the finish line. It’s a great achievement, and all for a very worthy cause. He’s welcome back anytime.”
The Sparks Golf Challenge, which is open to all golfers, requires participants to organise a team of two to four players to play a minimum of 72 holes on a given day this summer – with Royal & Awesome rewarding teams who raise a minimum £400 for the charity with a free pair of trousers for each team member.
Players should play a minimum of four rounds on one or more courses, and, whether the golfers score well or play quickly, there will be a challenge for everyone.
Three teams will be invited to play in the popular Sparks Open at The Oxfordshire on October 8 – the teams which played the most holes in a day, raised the most money, and recorded the best Stableford score over 72 holes – providing they complete the challenge by September 1, 2014, and register on the charity’s website.
Royal & Awesome’s range of eye-catching golf trousers, shorts and hats is ‘perfect for the pars and the bars’. The brand also boasts a collection of plus-twos as well as women’s trousers, shorts and skorts in dazzling designs, complemented by a selection of shirts, socks and belts.
To make a donation, please visit www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/Roger-Southam1
Sparks Golf Challenge, visit www.sparks.org.uk/golf
Manor House Golf Club www.manorhousegolf.co.uk.