03 Dec 2021 | Industry news |

2021 Longest Day of Golf awaits

by Contributor

David Greenhill, State Services - Senior Manager at Golf Australia, with Longest Day playing partner Greg Oakford at Commonwealth Golf Club in 2019.
David Greenhill, State Services - Senior Manager at Golf Australia, with Longest Day playing partner Greg Oakford at Commonwealth Golf Club in 2019.

By David Greenhill, Golf Australia State Services - Senior Manager

It is December and from a golf point of view to me, it means one thing – the Longest Day of Golf.

In simple terms, the Longest Day of Golf sees golfers all over Australia playing 36, 54 or 72 holes on a preferred December day to raise funds for cancer research/prevention initiatives undertaken by respective Cancer Councils in each State/Territory with a specific focus on skin cancer. Every dollar raised within a State/Territory stays in that State/Territory.

This year, a new element will see Longest Day challenges recognised when taking place at pitch and putt facilities, mini-golf courses and golf simulator centres. All golf is golf and this new Longest Day feature meets key themes emerging from the Australian Golf Strategy process, particularly our purpose to ‘inspire & support more Australians to play more golf’.

I’ll be doing two Longest Day’s – 72-hole golf course challenge at my home club of Commonwealth on December 22 and a 72-hole mini-golf Longest Day with my daughters at a suburban Melbourne mini-golf centre earlier in the month.

Both Longest Day’s encompass all the great things we love about golf - playing our sport and taking on the game’s many skill challenges, spending quality time with family and friends and enjoying the wonderful environments that golf offers. Who knows, maybe a few hours of mini golf might even be the trigger for my daughters to find greater time to play in the future. Both are busy with work and study plus enjoy a host of other recreational pursuits, but both know how to play. However, we all know it doesn’t take much for this game to grab us and want to create more time for it.

Playing the golf course version of the Longest Day also takes me back to the summer holidays of my teenage years where I’d be dropped off at the golf course in the early morning and stay there all day, playing as many holes as possible with likeminded golfing mates. A day of riding the golf rollercoaster - good shots, bad shots and everything in between. But ultimately, so much fun to play.

When I was introduced to the Longest Day five years ago by founder and keen golfer Andrew Buxton, the concept of accepting the challenge and raising funds for a cause relevant to all golfers immediately grabbed me. Playing golf for a whole day like I’d done all those years ago, but with added purpose.

The Longest Day of Golf actually dates back to the early 2000’s when Andrew and three of his Royal Melbourne club mates began reliving their own youth by playing multiple rounds of golf in a day and raising funds for charity. Following discussion with Cancer Council Victoria, the concept was formalised from 2013 and has grown exponentially since.

Now staged in each State and Territory, in 2020 the Longest Day raised $3.136 million via the participation of 4666 golfers, despite the various lockdown restrictions and economic difficulties of the Covid-19 year.

Funds are generated through varying forms of support for individual golfers and/or golf teams who participate at each club/course facility such as an amount for each hole played, an amount for hole scoring, overall score goals and so on - essentially gained via a player’s family, friends, work colleagues and golf mates. I’ll be putting the call out to my group in the coming weeks.

Golf Australia has supported the initiative through general promotion since 2016 and in conjunction with respective Cancer Councils across Australia, has an ongoing goal is to grow this initiative.  Aside from the fundraising aspect for a meaningful and relevant cause, the basis for the day is encouraging greater golf connection and participation.

I was first taught to play golf by my parents when I was four and have been a golfer for over half a century. However, out of all the golf experiences and adventures I’ve had, becoming part of the Longest Day and doing it each year has been the best of all. It’s just so much fun and so satisfying and this year offers a new element to capture the next generation.

Thank you to the many golfers throughout Australia that have already registered to do the Challenge in 2021. If you’d like to know more, please visit www.longestday.org.au and perhaps even think about doing the challenge yourself. Hope to see you out there – you won’t be disappointed to what this golf experience will give you.

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