David Griffiths is golf’s marathon man after playing 150 holes in a day for charity, writes Tony Rushmer.
The one-time European Tour ace chose June 21 to attempt his feat at West Herts where he is part of the club’s team of PGA professionals.
Griffiths, 39, undertook the challenge to raise funds for the Isabel Hospice (providing palliative support in Hertfordshire) and the Brain Tumour Research Campaign. He was stirred into action by two deaths in quick succession as he explained.
Grifffiths said: “I lost my sister-in-law to cancer towards the end of last year. Then, the daughter of the captain at West Herts passed away a few months ago from a similar thing.
“I just felt like I needed to do something to have a bit of peace of mind, really. I was just lying in bed, not sleeping very well and I thought I’d do something golf related.”
Griffiths knew about the Macmillan Longest Day Golf Challenge and that people had completed 108 holes. So, one morning he played West Herts at 6am and was intrigued to discover that he got round all 18 holes in an hour and 25 minutes.
That just set his mind ticking as to the possibilities of how many holes he could actually cram into the 17 or so hours of daylight available on June 21. The figure of 150 holes in a day seemed achievable if ‘fairly ridiculous’ to Griffiths.
He started to prepare for it and about a fortnight before the big day completed 50 holes in three hour s and 45 minutes at even par. Deep down he believed he could break par for 150 holes – and so it proved.
Teeing off at 4.40am with a few West Herts members for company he embarked on an eight-round and six-hole epic. With five or six caddies to help with the bag through the day, as well as a couple of marshals to clear the way, he put one foot in front of the other and hit shot after shot after shot (no practice swings and barely a waggle)
Just over 39 miles later shortly before 8pm, Griffiths, loudly encouraged by a large throng of supporters through the final six holes, signed off at two-under-par for his day’s efforts. More importantly he raised thousands of pounds – £7,500 and counting – for his chosen charities.
Griffiths added: “It was brilliant. There was so many people watching throughout the day, cheering me on – there must have been 100-odd walking the last bit and probably the same at the clubhouse at the end. It was an absolutely incredible experience.”
You might think after 74,000-plus steps Griffiths’ feet would be a mess of blisters etc. However, having taken advice from long-distance runners in advance, he changed his shoes after every round and socks after every other round.
He said: “That stood me in really good stead. It was just every other joint above my feet that were sore – shins, ankles and knees. The two days after were pretty tough.”
Indeed the night after his 15-hour heroics Griffiths was in bed shortly after 7pm, perhaps too tired to dream about much.
However, the memories of his amazing 150-hole blockbuster are sure to endure for the rest of his lifetime. To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/teams/150holes