Nick Davis, former professional footballer turned Development Coach for the Sydney Swans, started playing golf when he was no older than 10. Nowadays he plays for the challenge, and what better challenge than to take on 72 holes of golf in one day?
Nick is taking part in The Longest Day, Cancer Council’s endurance golf marathon designed to test your skill, strength and stamina. The challenge is to successfully complete four rounds of golf from dawn to dusk and raise funds for Cancer Council’s research, prevention and support services.
In between fundraising and preparing for the big day, Nick made the time to chat to us about how he got involved with The Longest Day, why he’s coming back for a second time, and why you should take part too.
How did you hear about The Longest Day? What made you commit to playing 72 holes in one day?
I spoke to Paul Gow about The Longest Day and found it was something that appealed to me on a lot of levels – being a professional sports person, the competitive side and the challenge of trying to play 72 holes in one day. I’m not sure I’ll ever be one to do a marathon or anything like that, but I can do this! And it’s also great to be able to raise awareness for Cancer Council. AFL is a winter sport, but we spend a lot of time in the summer training. We’re aware that we spend a lot of time in the sun in the summer, so to be able to raise awareness for sun protection is important.
Many people choose to support us because of their own personal connection to the cause – would you say this is true for you?
Yes definitely. Cancer Council is very much a worthy cause. Being an Australian and being outside playing sport, you need to put precautions in place. Sun protection is something we need to keep raising awareness for, as skin cancer is something that is preventable. Making sure you cover up and put sunscreen on is so important – you can still have a great time but need to take precautions.
What are your highlights from taking part in The Longest Day last year?
Finishing! No, really – there was a lot of different challenges through the day, but finishing was the highlight. We were out there for over 12 hours and it was a very hot day, but at the same time, it was a great opportunity to challenge myself to play 72 holes and bond with the guys – there were plenty of topics that got raised between us. We spent a lot of quality time talking about some interesting things – and a lot of time talking about the weather!
I would encourage people to try The Longest Day challenge for themselves. It’s up there with running a marathon – you need to prepare for it and get your walking shoes on to practice because it’s a long way around the course. I’d recommend people to get involved – for the challenge, but also for the comradery I got from playing with the other guys. We can always say: “Yep, I remember the day when we played 72 holes of golf together.”
I’m not that fond of snakes and lizards and there were a few lizards out there on the course – so this served as an incentive to hit my ball straight and not in the trees!
What would you say to someone thinking of taking part in The Longest Day?
Do it! In sporting life I’ve done some memorable things, I’ve played in grand finals, but this is definitely something that’s right up there. You get to play great courses and spend some quality time building comradery and memories – whilst raising awareness of a great cause. Also, you get to see the sun come up and go down all in one day! Anyone that’s interested, definitely sign up. I would suggest doing a little bit of preparation by having a walk the week before, because it’s a long way around – but you’ll have a great time.
What challenges do you think you’ll face?
Making sure I take enough golf balls! If you spend too much time looking for lost balls, you’ll be playing well into the night. I also want to make sure I hit the ball nice and straight, keep myself hydrated and ensure I have plenty of sunscreen on – then we should be all good.
How would you prepare for a full day of playing golf – any tips or tricks/special meals/secret weapons?
I would suggest a couple of nice long walks in the weeks leading up to the day. It’s also important to make sure you have the right, appropriate clothing that’s easy to play golf in and easy to walk in. You’ll need to make sure you’re covered up from the sun, too – reflective gear, sunscreen and hats!
It’s a long way around, so keep hydrated and keep eating to keep the energy levels up.
One thing I did do, is nip into the club house in between rounds and have a cold shower. This really did help – so if there’s a club house, get in and have a freshen up!