John Andrew, the owner of Bike-Shed.com and Direct Golf, made an eye-catching entrance at the 143rd Open Championship – after completing a 110-mile charity bike ride from Huddersfield to Hoylake.
Andrew was joined by Direct Golf managing director Neil Bell and stock controller Jonathan Brown for the challenging two-day journey from West Yorkshire to the Wirral in aid of the Seve Ballesteros Foundation
Having set-off from the Huddersfield Bike-Shed.com store early on Sunday morning, the trio’s undulating route took them along the towpath of the Leeds to Liverpool ship canal before heading through Blackburn to an overnight stop in Wigan.
After enjoying a well-earned rest, they again left at 8am, re-joining the canal, skirting Aintree – home of the Grand National – and then heading to Liverpool to catch a ferry across the Mersey before following the coastal path to Hoylake and eventually completing the challenge when they rode through the gates of Royal Liverpool GC at 2pm on Monday, 14 July.
Tired but happy, the trio posed for pictures in front of the group of television and print media that had gathered to greet them – and their efforts are on target to raise £10,000 for the Seve Ballesteros Foundation when all donations are received.
The ride had particular significance for Andrew as it helped him mark his 30th anniversary of qualifying as a member of the Professional Golfers’ Association.
Andrew, who is now a Class AA-qualified PGA professional, said: “I can’t believe it’s 30 years since I joined the PGA. The years have flown by.
“I really wanted to find a special way to commemorate the anniversary and, with the Seve Ballesteros Foundation a charity that’s very close to my heart, this was the ideal opportunity to raise some valuable funds for them and mark the achievement while combining two of my big passions: golf and cycling.
“The route had its challenges on the way but we made sure we encouraged each other and the stunning views that greeted us along the way more than made up for any tiredness we were feeling.
“It was a tremendous moment when we arrived at Hoylake and saw the group that was waiting to welcome us, and this was a fantastic way to launch the most exciting week of the year in the UK golf industry.”
The Seve Ballesteros Foundation honours the life, achievements and professional career of its eponymous founder and preserves his legacy, supporting his passion, golf, and what the sport can do for young people.
Ballesteros, who died in May 2011, following a battle with brain cancer, set up the foundation in 2009, with the commitment to contribute to the advancement of science for the benefit of those suffering from brain tumours. The foundation raises money for scientific research with the aim of helping to cure brain cancer, working with some of the best scientists and institutes in the world.
The five-time Major winner was also passionate about helping talented young players and developing their careers. The foundation also aims to introduce young children to golf and to use the game as a vehicle for social development, instilling the values associated to the practice of sport inherent in the founder: humility, effort, perseverance, resilient spirit, determination, integrity, tolerance and respect.
John Andrew founded Direct Golf in 1991, with one small shop in Huddersfield; but its philosophy of cutting manufacturers’ recommended retail prices proved to be very popular with the golfing public and it quickly gained the reputation for the best prices in the UK. Backed up with fast delivery and world-class customer service, Direct Golf UK grew quickly into one of the largest specialist golf retailers in the UK and Europe.
It now has 20 branches nationwide and was named ‘best mail order company’ for eight successive years in the Today’s Golfer reader awards.
Andrew launched his first Bike-Shed.com store in Huddersfield, earlier this year. The 4,000ft2 store, which has taken over part of the company’s flagship Direct Golf outlet, in Leeds Road, is open seven days a week and currently holds more than £150k-worth of stock to supply demand for the country’s fastest-growing participation sport.
To support the Direct Golf / Bike-Shed.com charity ride with a donation for the Seve Ballesteros Foundation, please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/hoylake.
● A map of the route may be viewed here and please click here for pictures of the charity ride.
www.Bike-Shed.com | www.direct-golf.co.uk