DAVE Whiteley achieved his target of playing every course in the North East – and managed to raise more than £2,000 for charity as a result.
Dave teamed up with Hartlepool’s European Tour professional and former French Open Champion Graeme Storm to complete his final round at Rockliffe Hall and they were joined by Mike Beattie, managing director of Gateshead-based MBE (Electrical Contractors) Ltd, who donated £1,811 to Dave’s charity fund.
Why £1,811? Because that’s the number of holes Dave has played in his quest and the 58-year-old from Tynemouth, who works as a facilities manager at Northumbrian Water’s head office at Pity Me, has raised £2,050 for WaterAid, a charity which provides clean drinking water, safe sanitation and hygiene education for people in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region.
Mike said: “Dave asked us to sponsor him but didn’t reveal how many holes he was going to play, so I agreed £1 a hole. But it’s for a good cause, so when the figure was announced we did it.”
Dave, who is chairman of Tynemouth Golf Club and plays off a handicap of 14, said: “A few years ago I realised I had played 75% of the golf courses in the region, and as I like a challenge, I decided I would make it my aim to complete every round by the end of 2010.
“I’ve completed 14 rounds before work this year, waiting for daybreak to get started. It has been worth it as had it not been for the challenge, there are many courses and new holes I wouldn’t have played.
“The last course I played before Rockliffe was the nine-hole course at Ingleby Barwick golf club, where members made me very welcome.”
Just for the record Dave’s golfing journey of 111 courses and 1,811 holes included 8,500 shots approximately – and he reckons he had around 800 pars, walked more than 500 miles and holed in one at Wynyard’s third hole.
He’s actually played 329 golf courses and his fund-raising exploits have helped bring in around £4m for WaterAid. These include climbing 5,895 metres to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2001 and building a toilet bike – a bicycle with a real toilet and cistern attached as the seat, which is used by the water company to pedal for pounds.
In a previous golf challenge, again for WaterAid, Dave played six rounds (108 holes) at Tynemouth in one day, starting at 4.30am and finishing at 9.10pm.
Not content with completing his challenge, Dave will now head for Portugal, where he will play seven new golf courses with 11 friends and fellow golf fanatics.
Graeme, who turned on a small display of his own with five birdies around the Rockliffe course while partnering Dave and Mike, said: “It’s a great thing that he’s done and it was good to get involved and play a round at Rockliffe which is a fabulous venue for him to finish it off.
“I had never met Dave before but having played his final round of the 111 courses across the region at Rockliffe Hall, I have to pay tribute to his achievement.
“The golf course was in the best shape I have ever seen it and both Mike and Dave really enjoyed it. I haven’t played half the courses Dave has.
“I hadn’t even heard of half of them. It was embarrassing when he was telling me some of the names and I didn’t even know where they were.”