23 Jun 2020
Mr Tuck's Founders' Day Challenge

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Founders’ Day- The 148 Golf Hole Challenge

It was at a Sports Department meeting in late May when the physical and mental challenges for Founders’ Day were initially discussed. As always, there were some brutal endurance challenges presented by members of the MCS Sports Department, all based around the number and year MCS was founded- 1480.

After slowly dragging my body 25 times around the Iffley Road running track earlier in the year for the whole school 10km this was not something that I was particularly keen to perform again, especially the thought of increasing this distance to 14.80km to meet the Founders’ Day number. Neither did the idea of being lapped by Mr Ford, Mr Boyle & Mr Dupee many times in a 148.0km cycle ride or trounced by Mr Atkin and/or Ms Panzer in a 14.80km row.

I joked during the meeting that I would sit out of the run, cycle and row and instead play 148 holes of golf over two days. The more I thought about it, the more I thought this challenge could be possible albeit difficult- 8 rounds of golf, plus 4 holes in 48 hours- surely I could complete this!!??

After contact and support from the Oxford Golf Club, with which MCS have a thriving relationship, I booked 8 tee times and decided to progress with the challenge. Playing partners were arranged for each and every round and the challenge would take place on Thursday 18th & Friday 19th June 2020.

Mr Ford, Mr Boyle, Mr Awcock, Mr Williams, Miss Smith, Mr Watts, Mr Pahl, Mr Duncan and the Tennis Professional from Headington School, James Baker, all kindly agreed to accompany me on a round during the two days. Play would start at 06:00 each morning and non-stop play would proceed to approximately 20:00 each day.

There had been almost no rain since the start of lockdown and I was very much looking forward to the challenge.

To summarise, I was awoken by the lashing rain at 04:30 on Thursday 18th June 2020. It rained relentlessly for the first 8 hours; the greens were waterlogged and a wet suit would have been a more appropriate outfit than golf attire. The challenge had to proceed however. It was nice to play in dry conditions on the second day. After 8 rounds and 4 holes, 28 hours of golf had been completed, 675 shots had been hit, 80,000 steps had been taken, 66km had been walked, 3 balls had been lost forever and a score of 103 over par recorded. I was tired, my feet and back were sore but I was very grateful for all the support from MCS staff, pupils, parents, friends and all those associated with the Oxford Golf Club.

A special thanks goes to Joe Pepperell (Head PGA Golf Professional), Steve Greenwood (General Manager) and the whole membership at the Oxford Golf Club, in particular, Neale Fitzgerald for his provision of snacks and dry gloves in between rounds on the first day. The course was in brilliant condition especially considering the fierce weather that arrived and I would recommend anyone wanting to take up the game or improve their golf to join the Oxford Golf Club. Membership, lessons and competitions are all provided at the club.

If you would like to make a donation to the Mustardseed charity in support of this event, please click on the link below-

Mustardseed Donations

I will not be venturing onto the golf course anytime soon, but I can promise I will be back for 18 holes at some point in the not too distant future.

David Tuck

22nd June 2020