I am Luke Willett, a London-based PGA professional known as ‘The Iron Golfer’, and I am aiming to complete a unique ten-day golfing challenge to cycle to all 14 Open Championship venues carrying my clubs on my back and playing a full 18 holes on each course.
This golfing challenge may seem Everest-like as I highlight the adventures that golf can offer to people of all ages, but my cause I am working for could not be more grounded. I will be fundraising for the Golf Foundation as the national charity works to change the lives of young people by introducing them to golf. All funds raised will go directly to helping more young people from all backgrounds to Start, Learn and Stay in the sport.
I am a successful PGA coach, based for the last three years at Hampstead Golf Club in north London. Meanwhile, I have carved out a reputation for taking on remarkable ironman-style golfing tests and my latest goal is to play 252 Open Championship holes during an 804-mile bike journey around Britain. The odyssey will start at Carnoustie in Scotland on 18 October and end a week later at Royal St Georges Golf Club in Kent. Supported by the Golf Foundation’s team, I hope to play each 18 holes with a mix of junior players, top amateurs, professionals and club members.
I ask that golfers who have links with each venue might support me with a donation as I play; I hope that all golf-lovers who have a connection with the wider game, and who understand the need to encourage the next generation of young players, can support me through this page.
I am a great believer that golf is more than just walking around a course and playing 18 holes, Adventure is waiting to be added to the whole experience either before, during or afterwards. I believe that this challenge will help make the sport more appealing to young prospective players and will ignite their imaginations. I’m delighted that I will be able to raise valuable funds for the Golf Foundation; we all want more young golfers in Britain and all the money I collect will go towards getting them playing the sport.
Vanessa Bell, Head of Fundraising at the Golf Foundation, said: “Luke has a vision to introduce golf as more than a game: it’s an adventure. His efforts to make golf fun and appealing to entice more youngsters into the game fits exactly with the values of our charity. We are thrilled that Luke is undertaking this new challenge in support of the Golf Foundation and the funds raised will go into supporting our activities to engage with more youngsters through golf at the grass roots level. It would be fantastic for as many people as possible to support Luke and donate to this cause.”
My golfing career is full of adventurous accomplishments. I have long-been a speed golfer and have even made an attempt at the Speedgolf world record – my personal best is 121 (time in minutes plus score) – and some of my adventurous golfing exploits have become the stuff of legend. In 2018 I putted and chipped through famous London streets such as Oxford Circus and then completed The Three Peaks Golfing Challenge – climbing Scotlands, Englands, and Wales highest peaks and playing a round of golf at the base of each mountain, all continuous without sleep.
In addition, I achieved my own version of the ‘Golfing Coast to Coast’, a cycling and golfing marathon that covered 130 miles from Silloth on Solway Golf Club in Cumbria to Goswick Golf Club by the North Sea, and many more.
My new challenge is through three countries and travelling on two ferries across the Irish Sea: 18 October, Carnoustie and the home of Golf St Andrews; 19 October, Musselburgh and Muirfield; 20 October, Royal Troon and Prestwick; 21 October, Turnberry; 22 October, Royal Portrush; 23 October, Royal Lytham St Annes; 24 October, Royal Birkdale and Royal Liverpool; 26 October, Royal Cinque Ports; 27 October, Princes and Royal St Georges.