Belfast Highland Greens is my spiritual golfing ground.
I played my first ever round here, back in July 2014, and I use it as a test of how my golf has improved. I always stop in when I return home to have a golf chat with General Manager, Keir White. Keir has been developing a junior golf program at Belfast and is putting the finishing touches on a driving range and practice shed, working in conjunction with Terry Hashimoto using Boditrak technology to help all golfers develop and improve their game.
I told Keir about Fairways and my plan in growing the game supporting juniors all over the world who cannot play purely because their families cannot afford it. Right away, Keir then said he'd like to host a golf day fundraiser to support Fairways.
Last year when Keir and I had golfed together, he told me about playing from sunrise to sunset on the Summer Solstice, so we decided that is exactly what we would do this year. The longest day this year was 20th June, and we started planning.
We both promoted the event on social media, were interviewed by the local paper and I printed off some sponsorship forms. I took them to work at Rodd Brudenell River Resort and chatted to golfers about my vision and what I plan to achieve for junior golf. Dozens of people donated. Mostly just single donations but a local businessman sponsored me $5 per hole and when I said I could play 70 holes his immediate response was, “Great! $350 for junior golf.” In the end, he donated $415. That will do nicely to cover the cost of lessons on simulators during Winter for the kids Fairways had already sponsored on Prince Edward Island (PEI).
On June 19th, I spent the day prior baking bags of treats for the golfers who came to play on the day. June 20th was an early start, I got out of bed at 4.30am (I don’t like getting up when the clock says 4 anything), packed all my treats and was at Belfast by 5am. I met Keir and also Ron Kennedy, a Belfast member, who were my playing partners for the day. We teed off at 5.12am just as dawn broke.
Belfast is a 9-hole course, so round and round and round we went. The ping of the driver in the early morning made us all smile and we estimated how many holes we thought we could get in before the sunset. I was hoping for 70 but we played 83. My golf got better the longer I played so I was very happy with that.
After our 36th hole another member, Ed, joined us for numerous laps in the gorgeous Canadian sunshine (which has finally arrived). We were lucky to have perfect weather and not a bug in sight. It may have been because it was quite windy by mid afternoon but we didn’t mind. Ed loved the idea of Fairways and everything we have achieved to date.
After 14 hours of golf, the boys were getting tired but I felt okay. A little after 7.30pm we met up with a couple of younger golfers, Cam and Curtis. Cam is a great junior golfer who recently qualified for the PEI Atlantic Golf Championships at Fox Meadow. We played a two team scramble with them until the sunset. It got darker and we were squinting in the late evening trying to read the line of the green.
The last three holes were phenomenal to play as the sun set over the water and I revelled in the fact we had golfed for over 15 hours for a cause I am very passionate about. We had lots of laughs, great snacks (made by me), good company, perfect weather and raised over $1,000 for Fairways. I can’t wait until next year.