British Army Captain Stuart Ball has set a new unofficial world record of 432 golf holes played on foot in five days, to raise money for children who have lost parents in the forces.
By playing 24 rounds of golf – the equivalent of six Open Championships – in a single working week, Capt. Ball walked over 150 miles, hitting his trusty TaylorMade Burner 2.0 6-iron well over 1,000 times. He beat his original target – 360 holes – by a full 72 holes.
Leading golf group Crown Golf backed the venture by offering its golf facilities free of charge, and by supplying golf equipment and refreshments for Capt. Ball and his support team throughout the week.
The Enduro Golf 360 Challenge marathon climaxed at 21:15 at Hampton Court Palace GC on Friday 6th July, where Capt. Ball, an officer in the Royal Logistic Corps, ignored pain from blisters and an injured left knee to play the final round accompanied by high-ranking Army officers and other friends and supporters.
Also in attendance were a team from Scotty’s Little Soldiers (www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk) led by Army Widow Nikki Scott, whose husband Corporal Lee Scott was killed in Afghanistan in July 2009, leaving two young children.
“It’s fantastic to have achieved what we think is a world record,” said Ball, aged 32 from Odiham. “But it means nothing unless people donate to Scotty’s Little Soldiers and also to Help For Heroes. Scotty’s in particular needs to raise awareness, so please donate what you can at www.bmycharity.com/Stuball79.
“I have two young children myself, so Scotty’s Little Solders is very close to my heart. They are doing amazing work to help families who have lost loved ones on the front line. My own wife Debra, who has been incredibly supportive throughout, feels the same as I do about Scotty’s, and the love of your family is what keeps a soldier going – whether on the front line, or doing something like I have just done.”
The record attempt took place between the 2nd and the 6th of July 2012, on five different golf courses owned by Crown Golf – Cams Hall Estate GC, South Winchester GC and Sherfield Oaks GC, all in Hampshire; Blue Mountain GC in Berkshire; and Hampton Court Palace GC, in Surrey. Dozens of Crown Golf staff helped to organise the event.
“We get a large number of calls from worthwhile causes who are looking for sponsorship and support, but unfortunately it’s impossible to help all of them,” said Crown Golf Director of Operations, Rob Climas. “However, when Stuart called and told the compelling story of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, we immediately wanted to get involved. His determination throughout the week has inspired countless golfers and staff at Crown Golf clubs. We hope that this galvanises people to donate to the charities he has chosen.”
Capt Ball travelled between clubs in a 2012 Swift Lifestyle 624 Motorhome, lent to him for the week by Marquis. Other assistance came from SkyCaddie, who lent two wireless SGXW units to ensure Capt. Ball wasted no time finding a correct yardage; Sunwise British Eyewear, who supplied Capt Ball with a pair of Windrush White golf sunglasses; and from Bridge Golf Scotland, who supplied a bespoke golf bag.
Nikki Scott, from Scotty’s Little Soldiers, said: “What Stuart has done is amazing, and we were proud to be there to support him as he played his last round. We hope that this event will galvanise people to visit Stuart’s charity page, or www.scottyslittlesolders.co.uk, and donate. Every single penny helps us to look after the families of the fallen.”
Major General Andrew Gregory Late RA, President of the Army Golf Association, played 18 holes at dawn with Captain Ball on the final day. He said: “In playing 432 holes of golf in only 5 days – over 86 holes a day – Stuart’s physical achievement is incredible in itself. But more important are both the monies he has raised for two extremely important and inspirational charities and also the greater awareness he has brought to the wonderful activities being undertaken particularly by ‘Scotty’s Little Soldiers’. Those are really fine legacies for his blisters and aching joints. Very many congratulations, Stuart; you have much to be proud of.”
Once his blisters have recovered, Capt Ball will start to plan an even bigger fundraising golfing marathon to take place in 2013. “I’m so proud to support Scotty’s, and I hope that golfers will be inspired by my efforts. Next year, I’ll be doing something bigger, better and even tougher!”
Capt Stuart Ball celebrates his final putt – and 2,151st shot – at 21:15 on Friday 6th July 2012, at Crown Golf’s Hampton Court Palace GC, on the final day of his five-day marathon