Meet the Surrey man golfing the length of the country for charity
- Credit: David Sullivan
Some see the United Kingdom as an empire, some see it as an island and some see it as nul points. But one person sees it as the World’s Longest Golf Hole – namely Oxted’s David Sullivan, who will be spending the next 10 weeks golfing across the country to raise money for charity. We chat to him to find out about the cause with a whole lot of heart…
‘What’s the percentage of people that we save from cardiac arrest in the UK?’ David asks me. The cynic inside plays out, and I throw out seven. It’s a hole in one – 60,000 people are lost to cardiac arrest in our country every year, and only 4,000 are saved from this.
‘One of the reasons for this is because in those situations people are scared to help, are worried about getting sued, or simply don’t know what to do,’ David explains. ‘So we’re going to be travelling to 70 places across the country and not teaching people but showing them how to do CPR.’ The money raised from this event will go towards the British Heart Foundation to help put life-saving defibrillator in towns, villages and cities across the country.
SUBSCRIBE: To Surrey Life for the best stories from people in the county
Although he’s been a practising CPR teacher in the area for many years, he’s now heading Creating Life Savers so he can show as many people as possible what to do in case of an emergency. ‘If you’re in the position to help someone having cardiac arrest, you’re far better having that knowledge and trying to help them rather than not knowing what to do and them ending up dying.’
This passion for CPR comes from David saving a young man’s life with it alongside a defibrillator, and the inspiration for the journey comes from a cancer scare that made him eager to make his mark on the world. ‘The thought of not being able to see my children grow up and get married was awful, so I wanted to give back by doing what I know.’
But why will he be putting a golf ball across the country for this remarkable cause? ‘Over 400 people die on golf courses every year from cardiac arrests, which is such a high number, but then you look at the facts – the demographics of the average golfer, the fact they probably enjoy themselves too much and then go onto the golf courses having not exercised much, it is understandable why the heart doesn’t like it.’ With this in mind, David is hoping to help implement CPR training being mandatory for all golfers, even having already been in talks with the International Golf Federation to do so.
READ MORE: The best pay and play golf courses in Surrey
The challenge itself is mammoth, with David and his son Freddie physically walking the length of the journey, only taking breaks to pitch their tent at the respective locations to sleep. This totals over 1,000 miles on foot, with the pair set to walk between 14 and 30 miles per day. ‘I’ve done similar things in the past, and breaking down the journey into manageable chunks is key,’ David tells me. ‘I’ve also been cycling all around Surrey to help prepare physically too.’
From afar, this seems like it would be an overwhelming task to take on, so I ask how he’s feeling about the prospect. David is unflinching in his enthusiasm and excitement about it: ‘I think after a million golf shots I’ll have tennis elbow,’ he chuckles. ‘We’re going to stay overnight, we’re going to have food, and we’re going to meet people from all around the country and hear their stories.’
The only slight waver for him is the thought of going through London and Surrey and seeing his friends and family. ‘That will be really lovely, but then we’ll realise how much we still have to go from there!’ David smiles.
Regardless, David is thankful for the support of them, American Golf who are sponsoring the adventure, and everyone else who has backed him. ‘I’m very lucky to have so many people have egged me on to do this, and the phenomenal support for this and the fantastic cause is where my heart is.’ If you’re in one of the areas David and Freddie stop at, make sure to stop by, have a chat and learn life-saving CPR yourself.
Donate to David Sullivan’s World Longest Golf Hole challenge at justgiving.com