Last summer, two-time Major winner John Daly hosted Variety Golf’s Sunshine Classic at Woburn. It was another fantastic day for the charity that has donated thousands of coaches to schools and care centres over the last 50 years. Daly, one of the game’s genuine mavericks, held a fascinating Q&A, and helped to raise much-needed funds for those organisations looking after disabled and disadvantaged children. Eighteen months later and the flow of Sunshine Coaches continues, even during a time when organising charity events has become a huge challenge. At Variety Golf, and for all of its members, guests and celebrities, the show must go on.
With much of the attention in recent months focused on the effect the pandemic has had on the professional tours, it can be easy to overlook the impact it’s having elsewhere in the game. Jamie Little is director of golf at Variety Golf and he’s excited by the months ahead. The schedule has a new look and the future is looking more positive once again.
“It’s been really difficult for some golf clubs to accommodate more than 30 people, what with social distancing rules in place,” he explains. “Our events are sell outs for 72 people. You can stagger the day and have a two-tee start, but then you have people waiting around for a while for the prize giving. It is what it is, though, and we’ll find a way to make it work while keeping people safe.”
It’s taken none of the shine off the events. One of the most recent was held at The Grove – the inaugural Variety Mixed Challenge Cup. Variety Golf prides itself in offering something a little different for its members. On this occasion, Dame Laura Davies is captaining a team of Ladies European Tour players against Phillip Price and a squad of Senior Tour professionals.
If tickets were available to the public, the charity would sell a good number. Variety Golf captain Len Goodman may have more rhythm on a dance floor, but it’s no less fun watching the former Strictly Come Dancing judge swing a golf club. Then there are legends from the world of sport: former cricketers, footballers and boxers. For members, it’s an experience that’s worth every penny – and it all goes to a good cause.
These are people who have done well for themselves through their work, and although being part of Variety Golf presents the opportunity to enjoy some memorable days out, this is not the motivation for joining.
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