Sir Steven Redgrave is to lead a midsummer attempt to set a new golfing world record at St Andrews Bay in June.
The five times Olympic gold medallist and keen golfer will spearhead an effort to see the greatest number of players complete a round, on the same course, in one day. The current record stands at 605 but organisers of the event are hoping to get 650 players around the Torrance Course at St Andrews Bay (pictured) between dawn and dusk. The first group will tee off at 3.30am and the last group is due out at 7.30pm.
But not only will the day hopefully set a new world record for golf at the home of golf, it will also raise a significant amount of money for terminally ill children, and help to build a hospice at Loch Lomond.
Sir Steve Redgrave, who is currently sidelined from golf after breaking his right collarbone in a skiing accident in March, told ScottishGolf: 'I hope to swing a club by the end of May but will playing in this event, whatever.
'Rachel House in Kinross is a hospice that has already been established and with this event we will hopefully get another one up and running. I have been to a number of hospices over the years and this one that I've visited is very special.
'People have a view that hospices are sad, depressing places but it's not like that at all. They look to help people live. If you speak with people who don't know about hospices they think it's a place where you go to die but they can be positive, uplifting places for those involved.'
Event organiser Paul Coffey said: 'We're looking to raise £100,000 towards the £5 million that Sir Steve wants to raise for various children's charities and this initiative is specifically linked with the Children's Hospice Association of Scotland [CHAS]. We're therefore looking for 163 fourball teams to help him.'
The existing record was set in 1998 at Rhodes Ranch Golf Cub, Las Vegas, Nevada when 605 players completed the course on June 21. Paul Coffey was also hoping for the same date - longest day - but the Torrance Course at St Andrews Bay was already booked, so June 8th was selected. Each competitor will be asked for a minimum donation of £50 as an entry fee but sponsorship forms are also available for those who want to raise more cash. In addition, three places in game 152, the match in which Sir Steve Redgrave will play and which it is hoped will establish the new record, are up for auction to the highest bidders.
Competitors do not need an official handicap or to be members of an established golf club but they will be playing individual strokeplay to the Rules of Golf. Nevertheless, they are asked to ignore individual performance or glory for the sake of the record attempt, and in pursuit of this, each competitor will be given half a dozen balls on the first tee, so they won't worry about losing them. In addition, they will be given guidance notes before starting, such as don't search for lost balls and don't wait for the green to clear but lay up short of it.
To help them keep on schedule there will be ball spotters on every hole, and helpers available to rake bunkers, repair pitch marks and replace divots. All of this means that each fourball is expected to get round in three hours, starting at six-minute intervals but if things look to be lagging behind world record schedule, players may be sent out in fiveballs later in the day.
Competitors must, however, register before the event, they will not be allowed to turn up on the day and participate on a 'pay and play' basis.
St Andrews Bay has donated the Torrance course free of charge and has also made an offer, to all who take part in the event, for a four-for-three price on the Torrance or Devlin courses. This is to enable people to come back and play the course again at a more leisurely pace and is available from June 9 - December 31, Monday to Friday.
Two representatives from the Guinness Book of Records will be in attendance on June 8 to verify the record and there are enough competitors to ensure that the record will still be broken if one or two succumb to ill-health or injury on the day.
Sir Steve Redgrave, a 14-handicap golfer, said: 'Visiting a hospice for children is very inspirational and the first thing you want do is raise money to help them continue doing the work they do. Everybody who comes along to play in this record-breaking attempt will be helping these kids - kids that need a particular kind of care.'
For more information on the day, and details of how to enter, visit www.worldrecordgolf.com.
|| 14 - APRIL 2003