W Bro Christian Cooper Reports
£6,324 Raised - 47,112 paces - 31.7km - 2,672 calories - 72 Holes
In March 2020, amid COVID-19 Lockdown, W Bros Christian Cooper and Nigel Drury attended a well-lubricated, virtual dinner party. Apart from acquiring deep respect for Australian Malbec, they discovered a mutual love of golf. At that time, they had no idea they would play more than 120 rounds over the next 15 months, and in so doing, travel 780,000 yards, or 443 miles (713 km) through thunder, hail, and sunshine at mainly the silliest hours of the day.
Bro Nigel is a veteran marathon man and long-term supporter of St. Luke’s Hospice. He is always keen to get involved with charity initiatives. Bro Chris, Charity Steward of the Old Brentwoods Lodge No 5342, was similarly eager to root out new charitable initiatives that his Lodge could support. Thus, 5.15 am one damp day, whilst they were supping coffee on the 5th Tee of Brentwood Golf Course in Essex, and during the usual general verbiage they enjoyed, out came the idea of having a crack at the 72 Hole Challenge. In simple terms, this means playing four rounds of golf in one day, which the participants discovered is substantially more challenging than you might imagine.
It did not take long for W Bro David Wilson, Worshipful Master of the Old Brentwoods Lodge and former Captain of Moscow Golf and Country Club, to throw his full support to the effort. Not least as he is a proper ‘golf nut’, having tinkered with going professional as a young man after shooting a 66 at Palos Verdes Golf Course in California. So then there were three. Three other Lodge members joined them. Bro Ethan Cooper, the latest, and youngest ever initiate, his younger brother Austin, and their cousin Bro Florian Cooper, all highly addicted to the fairway. Ben Drury, Bro Nigel’s youngest son and fellow Old Boy of the School, quickly followed. Sadly, Bros Florian and Adrian Webster had to pull out due to COVID-19 issues, so Julien Cooper stood in at the 11th hour, having not hit a golf ball for nearly 25 years.
It was 4.45 am on 6th August, and the brave seven commenced their first round. Over the next 16 hours, they completed the 72 holes with aplomb. Bro David Wilson set the high bar with three sub-80 rounds, an eagle on the par five 11th and took home the Champions’ Trophy. Bro Nigel sank an 18-foot putt, successfully claiming the ‘Nearest the Pin’, and Bro Chris won the ‘Longest Drive’, albeit on a technicality and with some controversy.
The youngsters in the team performed well and added some youthful exuberance to the day, not least with Ben and Austin’s green-side celebratory circuits. They also managed to play one round sharing four clubs which was some achievement. The accolade of ‘Most lost balls’ was claimed by Julien, who contributed more than 40 balls.
The initial goal was to raise £2,000. As of 18th August, the challenge had raised £6,324, with that number still on the rise.
Two charities will benefit from a 50/50 split of the funds raised.
St. Luke’s Hospice, Basildon. The Worshipful Master’s chosen charity. St. Luke’s provides individualised care for people with life-limiting conditions, palliative, and end of life care needs, and their families living in Basildon and Thurrock districts. The donation recognises the staff’s care to Bro David’s father, Gordon, a former Inspector of the Old Brentwoods Chapter. Gordon passed away a few weeks after the start of the first COVID-19 lockdown, within just nine days of a cancer diagnosis. The folks at St. Luke’s did an outstanding job caring for him through his final days in extremely trying circumstances.
The second charity to be supported is Kay’s Endeavours, which acts as a support fund for cancer patients. It offers grants to adults who have a cancer diagnosis at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, and their families and carers. The aim is to improve the patient’s quality of life or those caring for them by providing funds not available from other sources. Examples like funding for equipment, medical aids, travel expenses or social/recreational activities.
The ‘Fellowship of the Pin’ had a cracking day that concluded with rehydration and stretchers until about 9 pm, at which point everybody keeled over. They are all thankful to have received so much support from their sponsors and the staff at Brentwood Golf Club, who most generously donated all green fees, kept the chaps on track with marvellous bacon and egg rolls and sustenance throughout the day.
The Brentwood Golf Club, formerly known as Weald Park Golf Club, is now under new ownership and is investing in transforming this fantastic golf course into one of the premier venues in Essex. They have completely refurbished the Spike Bar to provide a relaxed environment before and after your round. In addition, they have invested in the latest electronic buggies, giving comfort on the journey around the course.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 46 October 2021 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 46.