Radio 1 DJ and Five Live football pundit Spoony took to the fairways at Stoke Park Club on 31st July alongside some of the European Tour’s finest young players and celebrities to help raise funds to teach more youngsters to play golf.
The golf day, followed by a glittering gala dinner, at which acclaimed R&B singer Craig David performed for guests, was followed by an auction, conducted by snooker champion Willie Thorne, raising £75,000 for junior golf development.
Before the game teed off, Spoony met up with eight local Buckinghamshire youngsters who have all started learning to play under the Golf Foundation charity’s Golf Roots initiative which brings a pared down version of the game to children in schools and other non-golfing venues.
As the bidding hit £75,000 for a variety of prizes including Wayne Rooney’s autographed shirt and a VIP football trip to Barcelona, Spoony (real name Jonathan Joseph) was overwhelmed. He said afterwards, “This is amazing it’s far more than we ever dreamed of raising. When we started this four years ago we managed just £12,000. I cannot believe the generosity of everyone.”
Spoony, who plays off a handicap of 9.5 was joined on Stoke Park Club’s classic fairways by a number of the young up and coming European Tour players lead by Ian Poulter and including David Park and Phil Golding, along with fcllow broadcasters Vernon Kay, Johnnie Vaughan and footballers, Jamie Redknapp, Ian Wright and Phil Babb.
Born and bred in Hackney, London, Spoony was hit by the golfing bug some years ago after watching the inspirational Tiger Woods and he soon decided to try and help open up what is often perceived as an elitist sport to youngsters from less privileged backgrounds.
Spoony commented, “Tiger is a great role model and inspired me to take up the game and pretty soon I knew I loved it and what was more, realised it was far more welcoming than I ever thought. Everyone thinks that golf is only for the rich man.
“I want to break that perception as golf offers youngsters not only a great lifestyle but it teaches them self-discipline and respect for others. If we can get less privileged kids playing it would be great. If we manage to discover the UK’s own Tiger Woods along the way – even better.”
Most of the proceeds will go to the Golf Foundation’s Golf Roots initiative for which Spoony is a Golf Ambassador and is very pro-active on their behalf with another smaller donation being made to a cancer charity.
The event, which consisted of teams of one celebrity to three guests, attracted 130 golfers and more than 100 extra guests, including TV presenter Tess Daly. Pop star Louise joined the golfers for dinner in a specially decorated pink and blue marquee at Stoke Park Club.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org