Luke Willett spreads joyful vibe in ‘Marathons of Golf’: A quick update from Royal Liverpool with the Golf FoundationGolf’s great adventurer Luke Willett is set to complete his ‘Marathons of Golf’ grand challenge this Sunday (July 3) at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, aiming to bring a smile to golfers young and old in the build-up to The Open.
Known as The Iron Golfer, this leading UK Speedgolfer, cyclist, multiple marathon runner, PGA Professional golfer and coach has so far this year played rapid speedgolf rounds at 13 of golf’s 14 venues for The Open, welcomed each time by the members of these world-famous clubs.
But that is half the story. On each occasion Luke then takes to the streets to run, up to a marathon in length, around every Open town, meeting the public and spreading the positive vibe about the historic championship, while inspiring his followers on Instagram (@lukewillettgolf) to think a little differently about the game. All while Luke trained and practised with 5am starts to take a shot at qualifying for The Open itself.
This Sunday, Luke will visit Royal Liverpool Golf Club, his 14th and final Open Championship course and local golf community. Following in the footsteps of recent Open winners here such as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, Luke is seeking to create his own piece of history as he aims for his best combined score (strokes and time) for his unique Marathons of Golf series, before coaching some of the club’s young junior players.
Previous highlights in Luke’s series include playing Muirfield in 40 minutes and in just 80 shots; a 58 minute round at Prince’s to score 79; Royal Portrush in 45 minutes to score 82; flying around Royal Lytham & St Annes in 45 minutes to score 79 before running 22 miles around the neighbourhood; and after spending just 40 minutes to mark a 78 on his scorecard at Royal Cinque Ports, Luke ran a full 26.2 mile marathon around Deal. From Prestwick to Prince’s, Luke has run 167 miles in towns after his 13 Speedgolf sprints!
Supporting the Golf Foundation
Luke is dedicating his final round at Royal Liverpool to fundraise for national charity the Golf Foundation because he wants more children from different backgrounds to experience the joy that golf can offer all of us, however we choose to play the game.
Readers can support Luke’s brilliant endeavor and donate to the Golf Foundation at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marathonsofgolf, while catching up with previous Marathons of Golf on Instagram. Golf Foundation projects offer young people the chance to develop life skills such as resilience, confidence and respect for the game and its players, and thus the charity applauds Luke Willett’s drive, creativity and sense of fun expressed through golf.
5am starts, injuries and resilience
Luke’s test of endurance, skill and imagination has been far from easy: Luke suffered exhaustion, a virus, and then at Royal St George’s a severe foot injury. Here, he still hobbled around in 120 minutes and shot an impressive 82 through the pain.
“Playing golf like an F1 car…” is how Luke describes his speed on the course. To do so, he set himself a grueling training schedule which has involved regular 5am fitness sessions. He had also been working tirelessly on his own golf game as he attempted to qualify for The Open itself at St Andrews, but missed out on first qualifying at Buckinghamshire Golf Club.
Luke said: “This adventure really has been incredibly difficult but at the same time an absolute joy to play these wonderful Open Championship courses, the greatest in golf, and to meet all the kind members of these clubs before running the streets and saying hello to the wonderful people in these golf communities. Running the towns and connecting to the places of these great Open venues has been a highly rewarding part for me.
“I’m trying to show that the boundaries and possibilities of golf can be whatever you want them to be. It is down to your own imagination and sense of fun. I think my Marathons of Golf have engaged with a lot of young people out there and hopefully I have inspired a boy or girl to be a champion in the future; either in a traditional way or finding a new way to suit themselves through golf. For this reason, I wanted to dedicate my final challenge on Sunday to the Golf Foundation, a charity that does so much to bring the game to kids from all backgrounds.”
Vanessa Bell, Head of Fundraising for the Golf Foundation, said: “Luke has been a superb supporter in recent times and we think his creativity and courage sets a fabulous example to everyone in golf. Our programmes aim to change the lives of young people through golf and for Luke to shine a light on this work while at Royal Liverpool will be brilliant.”
Luke Willett added: “I’m also particularly excited to be finishing this test at Royal Liverpool. This is a superb golf club and I know that the members are hugely supportive of their juniors and growing the game for the local community, a feature of all these fine clubs. I was really disappointed to miss out on Open qualifying this year for St Andrews but heartened in how well I’m striking the golf ball. I am very much inspired to build my game for next year and qualify for the 151st Open held here with my friends at Royal Liverpool. This will be awesome and I will be there!”
In 2019, the Royal Liverpool GC members were among the clubs who made excellent donations to the Golf Foundation for a previous challenge of Luke’s in which he cycled 830 miles of road in 10 days – with his golf clubs strapped to his bike – playing all 14 of The Open courses en route.
You can follow Luke and watch the videos of all 13 of his Marathons of Golf so far on Instagram at @lukewillettgolf – and you can donate to the Golf Foundation via the link below– any size of donation is hugely appreciated by our team. Watch out in the week ahead for more news on the Marathons of Golf!