THIS is the stirring story of golf’s longest day...
It was a case of a marathon mission accomplished after Mike Bradshaw and his friend Gary Coleman completed the challenging task of playing nine holes of golf at Fylde’s nine courses, beginning at St Annes Old Links at the unearthly hour of 4am!
The final hole was not completed until 9pm at Knott End, the club where Mike is the captain.
And it’s hardly surprising that the duo got a rousing reception when they returned to Knott End after completing the ‘set’ on their charity track, lasting no less than 17 hours.
In between the start at Old Links and the finale at Knott End, the pair played nine holes at Royal Lytham and St Annes, Fairhaven, Lytham Green Drive, Blackpool Park, Blackpool North Shore, Fleetwood and Poulton.
At the end of it all, Mike and Gary reckon they have raised well in excess of £3,000 for Trinity Hospice, making all the hard yards and endeavour worthwhile.
Mike, who works as a building contractor and property developer, chose this cause as the hospice helped his late wife Beverley through her final illness, and he wanted to express his gratitude.
The duo even had a matchplay event based on their trek around the courses, Gary coming out on top by six-and-a-half courses to two-and-a-half!
Mike said: “Gary played some awesome golf.”
Old Links captain Stuart Wells was there at the off, teeing off with the pair, and he was just one of the helpers, who gave invaluable support.
Despite the early hour, Mike said there was enough light to enable them to play as early as 4am.
Mike said: “We walked the whole way round, and I have sore shoulders and a sore back.
“I was so tired that I slept all day afterwards.
“But Gary was at the course at Knott End at noon the following day because he still needed to qualify for my own captain’s competition!
“Thankfully, he managed it.”
Mike added: “The impact of what we achieved didn’t really hit home until we arrived at Knott End in the evening when they were holding a charity function, and everyone gave us a standing ovation.
“We are very grateful for the people who helped us and kept us fed and watered throughout the day, among them Gordon Rae, the captain of the Fylde Society of Golf Captains and his daughter Fiona, who drove us around the courses, as well as Stuart Wells, who got up at 3am to see us off at Old Links.”