An amateur London golfer endured a grueling test of stamina and patience as he completed 18 holes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – traveling 1,200 miles in less than 18 hours.
To raise money for Sparks, the Children’s Medical Research Charity, Roger Southam, chief executive and chairman of property management firm Chainbow, completed the ‘Sparks Golf Challenge,’ sponsored by Royal & Awesome, in spectacular fashion by flying by helicopter, which had been generously donated, from country to country.
Wearing his eye-catching Royal & Awesome trousers and with less than three hours to complete each round, Southam had originally planned to play 2017 Irish Open venue Lough Erne, Northern Ireland; this year’s Ryder Cup venue, Gleneagles; former Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor, Wales; and The London Club, England, host of the 2014 Volvo World Match Play Championships.
Sporting his Paddy Par! Royal and Awesome trousers, Southam got off to a great start, completing the Faldo Course at Lough Erne in under three hours. The take-off from Northern Ireland was delayed by two hours because of poor weather conditions, however, time was made-up at Gleneagles where Southam played 18 holes at Gleneagles in under two hours.
The helicopter pilots were able to swiftly transport Southam down to Celtic Manor for the welsh leg of the challenge, where 18 holes on the Roman Road course were completed in just over two hours.
However, because of the time lost earlier in the day, the final leg, originally due to be played at The London Club, was switched to the Manor House Hotel & Golf Club, in Wiltshire, which saved the day by being a last-minute replacement for the England leg – saving around an hour of flight time – and enabling Southam to complete the challenge within 18 hours.
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.
He said: “I was a little nervous but extremely excited about the challenge – I have thought about doing it for a long time.
“The Sparks Golf Challenge is a great bit of fun and an excellent way for people to get involved and to help raise money so the charity can fund vital research – and when I was asked if I wanted to take part, I was keen to take it to the next level.
“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.”