x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Teachers to putter around in bid for world record

Two men will hit the links for 24 hours at Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club to raise money and set a world record.

Andrew Morley, left, and Stephen Jenks have been training for today's bid for a place in the Guinness World Records. Sarah Dea / The National
Andrew Morley, left, and Stephen Jenks have been training for today's bid for a place in the Guinness World Records. Sarah Dea / The National

DUBAI //Most groundskeepers would shudder about a round of golf lasting more than five hours, but two Britons will spend 24 hours on the course in a record quest.

Andrew Morley, 41, and Stephen Jenks, 37, will tee off at 9pm tonight at the Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, and their lengthy play will not be due to bad swings. Instead, they are trying to play as many holes as possible.

To get into the Guinness World Records, the pair must play at least 150 holes unaided by golf carts and can hit the ball only when it is not in motion.

"It is about the achievement of doing something so hard on an endurance thing and getting a Guinness world record," Mr Morley said. An adjudicator from the Emirates Golf Foundation will be with them along most of the course.

Yet more than the record book, the challenge is about raising funds for a children's eye hospital in Bangladesh via Sharjah Charity International.

"Any small amount will make a massive difference," Mr Morley said.

The men, who teach at Wellington International School in Dubai, will feel a difference in their game by midday tomorrow when they will be more than halfway through the challenge.

"An average round of golf is around 4 hours, 20 minutes for 18 holes and we plan to halve that to 2 hours, 10 minutes," Mr Jenks said.

There are no rules for the number of times they hit the ball.

"But we can't be losing it or sticking it in deep grass, bunkers or the water. We want to play quickly but there is a trade-off and we have to play carefully," said Mr Morley, whose handicap is seven. Mr Jenks's handicap is 17.

Both have been training for the past few months.

"We've done small things, played golf for four hours at a time walking, but nothing of this scale," Mr Morley said.

The charity challenge was Mr Morley's idea. "It was a bit of a bucket list and I came up with the idea about nine months ago. I think it was when I turned 40," he said.

It is not the only challenge of its type but Mr Morley still had to get approval from Guinness officials.

A record already stands for the number of holes in 24 hours with the aid of a golf cart. Robb James, of Canada, played 851 holes at the nine-hole, 3,002-yard Victoria Golf Course at Edmonton, Alberta, on June 21-22, 2004.

But "there is not a 24-hour [record] as a pair walking", Mr Morley said. "That's how they gave us the guidelines for the 150 holes."

The Britons have golfed together for three years, and know it will not be easy once the midday sun strikes.

"I think a lot will come down to after the halfway mark and then it will be down to willpower," Mr Jenks said.

While Mr Morley admitted taking on a challenge like this may have something to do with a midlife crisis, Mr Jenks had another idea. "Hopefully, it won't be an end-of-life crisis."

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eharnan@thenational.ae