A golfer from Aberdeenshire has challenged himself to play a massive 60 courses in 31 days throughout June and July. The challenge is to be undertaken in a bid to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK, the official charity partner of UK Club Golfer.
Even more impressive is the fact that the man playing the 60 courses, a tough ask for even the fittest of golfers, is 59-year-old Martin Fraser, who is living with advanced prostate cancer.
Martin was diagnosed with the cancer in 2017 and has undergone two years of numerous treatments, including both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He continues to show immense bravery and, to help do his part in raising awareness for the disease, has decided to embark upon a month of doing what he enjoys most: playing golf.
“This is going to be a fair challenge but I love playing golf,” Martin told UK Club Golfer. “I have had good training for it. I caddie regularly at Cruden Bay Golf Club so that’s good exercise. Before I set off, I caddied five times and played five rounds of golf in one week, so that’s been my preparation.
“I am just taking it day by day and not looking too far ahead. I am absolutely determined to make it but I will just do the best I can and see what happens.”
Martin’s love affair of the game started at a very young age and reveals golf has been a constant throughout his life.
“I’ve always enjoyed golf. I started playing when my dad gave me some of his cut down clubs. Both my father and mother played golf and they encouraged me and I enjoyed it. I have played it ever since.”
Martin currently plays his golf at Longside Golf Club, “sometimes” with a handicap of seven.
“I play with my wife and we usually get about four rounds a week in. We don’t just play at our home club though, we play in quite a lot of tournaments around Aberdeenshire which is great. It keeps me fit.”
The challenge to conquer 60 courses in half as many days is finally underway after months of planning.
“I thought about it just over a year ago speaking to my wife. We didn’t start organising it until after I finished the radiotherapy because I didn’t know how ill I would be, so we only started properly organising it a couple of months ago. We have planned it so I will finish course number 60 on my 60th birthday.”
Martin was diagnosed two years ago and has since undergone several treatments but explains he is at the stage where they are now just managing the cancer.
“They can’t cure me. I had chemotherapy at the end of 2017 through to 2018. Physically I felt fine but then it got tough because I couldn’t do the simplest things during the treatment. I couldn’t boil a kettle, I couldn’t count, my brain was basically shutting down. My last two weeks in the hospital were interesting, you learn a lot.
“After that, I had radiotherapy during February and March of this year and that left me with no energy during the last two weeks of the treatment and for two weeks after.
“Now though I feel physically fine. Ultimately, it doesn’t bother me. My view is that I didn’t know when I was going to die before and I don’t know when I am going to die now so why worry about it.”
Martin continues to remain resolute and said the staff at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary were invaluable during the treatment process.
“The staff were brilliant. There are some really good people in there and they helped me a lot. They were very accommodating. I didn’t want any treatment during the summer as I wanted to caddie, so instead they would wait until the winter and would get me in then for treatment. They try and let you have the lifestyle you want.”
Despite a tough couple of years, he is determined to come out the other side positively and sees his challenge as the perfect opportunity to do so.
“I’ll be delighted if I complete it. I think I will make it. A lot of people look at me like I’m an idiot when they read the schedule! I’m playing with people at every course, so I am very grateful to them for joining me. There’s been a lot of people wanting to play with me and I’m going to see a lot of people I haven’t seen for a few years. I’m looking forward to it!”
You can support Martin’s fundraiser by following his progress on Facebook or visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/martysgolfchallenge2019.
“I am taking pictures at every golf course and will be putting them online to keep everybody up to date. I have raised about £4,000 before I have even started so it’s going pretty well already.”
Men aged over 50 are at greater risk of prostate cancer than men overall. This unfortunately means prostate cancer exists in every golf club in the UK.
Every golfer like Martin raising money to beat the disease is invited to one of Prostate Cancer UK’s end of season golf days as a thank you for the excellent charitable causes they have undertaken. To find out more visit prostatecanceruk.org/golf.