Heggie's marathon 493 holes in 7 days
Like most club professionals, Moortown's Martin Heggie plays a lot less golf than most members might imagine. About 40 rounds a year, by his reckoning. So to decide to take on just over 27 rounds, or 493 holes to be precise, in seven days seemed a tad optimistic even though – at 57 – he keeps himself fit with the aid of hot yoga. But add in that he was going to travel to and play at all 28 courses in the Leeds & District Union in that week and the challenge assumes even greater proportions. However, Heggie did it and so far has almost doubled his intended target of £10,000 by raising in excess of £18,000 in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. The last seven holes were played at his home club in the company of former Ryder Cup player and captain Mark James, who had seen what Heggie was tackling and texted him, offering his services as a ball spotter or caddie for the final stages. “I thought, 'we can probably get a bit more out of the past Ryder Cup captain and senior major winner than caddying', so I asked him to play and he was more than happy to,” said Heggie, who astonishingly completed his feat without a single blister to his feet although he did suffer golfer's elbow. He had been inspired to do something to raise funds for the MNDA after seeing Kevin Sinfield's fundraising efforts in support of his stricken former Leeds Rhinos teammate Rob Burrow extend to running 101 miles in 24 hours. “The 493 holes I played came about because of me doing a bit of research and thinking, 'what did Rob do in his career?' and he played 493 times for Leeds,” explained Heggie. “The seven was the number shirt he wore. I got the calculator out and thought, 'Hmm, 28 rounds'. “I was going to do it all here at Moortown and then suddenly I thought, 'well, we did it 10 years ago when we did one hole at each of the Leeds & District Union golf courses. I know South Leeds has closed, I wonder how many there are now?' “I got the Leeds & District website up and counted down, saw there were 28 clubs and thought, 'perhaps we can do that'.” Moortown member and last year's Leeds Union President, Geoff Mortimer, worked out a schedule for the challenge, based on what courses were near each other, and then Heggie's wife Jo took on the task of contacting each club to make arrangements. “She's been phenomenal,” he said, “ringing all the golf clubs and the pros. Everyone's got something big going on at this time of the year, so to try to fit in around the club's big events the key was the early morning rounds. “I think the alarm calls got a little bit later as we got closer to home, but 3.00, 3.15 the alarm was going off. I was getting to bed about half nine, ten and I slept very well. I always do sleep well, but not for very long. “Everywhere has been really accommodating, the members at all the clubs have just been fantastic, not just with their monetary support, but with their actual support, people turning up to cheer you on along the way and every club where you've been people calling you through. When people are trying to play a medal you feel a bit bad going through, but they've all been really great.” Heggie's son George caddied for the last seven holes, his eldest daughter Jessica carried for the first round at Woolley Park, and George's twin sister, Kate, a film producer, originally intended to caddy at Wakefield, but instead oversaw filming of the occasion. “I've always tried to do something,” said Heggie. “I'm in a very privileged position of being a pro at a great club with great members, I have a lovely wife with three great kids and I think sometimes you've got to look and try to give something back.” He has certainly done that and if anyone would like to move him towards doubling his initial ambition by reaching £20,000, go to his Just Giving page, which can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/martin-heggie2.
Pictured are Heggie's brother Richard, Mark James, Martin Heggie and Heggie's son George