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Bishop's Stortford Golf Club member Will Baxter takes up charity challenge not to shave or cut his hair until he birdies fourth hole




Golfer Will Baxter seems to have met his nemesis on the greens of Bishop's Stortford Golf Club – and it's a growing problem that's making him somewhat itchy.

Will, 44, a builder from Bishop's Stortford, was on lockdown in March when club professional Simon Sheppard challenged him to birdie the fourth hole when the Dunmow Road course reopened.

BSGC, Bishop's Stortford. Will Baxter has vowed not to cut his hair or beard until he birdie's the 4th hole at BSGC and is raising funds for charity. Wiil takes his 32nd attempt at the 4th. .Pic Vikki Lince. (39274924)
BSGC, Bishop's Stortford. Will Baxter has vowed not to cut his hair or beard until he birdie's the 4th hole at BSGC and is raising funds for charity. Wiil takes his 32nd attempt at the 4th. .Pic Vikki Lince. (39274924)

But the challenge had a charity catch: Will wasn't allowed to shave or cut his hair until he scored a two on the 186-yard par three hole – the fourth hardest hole on the par 71 course – and fellow members and friends were invited to donate to the club's favourite charity to make things interesting.

More than 30 attempts later and Will is still searching for his birdie and his fame is growing, along with his hair.

"Simon picked that one because he knew it was the most difficult to birdie," said Will, who initially didn't appreciate how much interest it would generate.

A non-hairy Will Baxter with club mate Andy Hardie (39663115)
A non-hairy Will Baxter with club mate Andy Hardie (39663115)

"It's snowballed," he said. "All I keep getting is people shouting out asking if I've birdied the hole yet."

He admits his Grizzly Adams-style beard is annoying him and his partner Julie is none too happy about it.

"It's starting to massively get on my nerves," said Will. "People are saying I look like Andrew 'Beef' Johnston [the hirsute English golfer] or Tom Hanks' character in Cast Away. But there's a bonus to it going longer."

His latest efforts were last Saturday and Sunday (July 25 and 26) when, despite just back from a break in Devon, he once again came up short on the fourth.

BSGC, Bishop's Stortford. Will Baxter has vowed not to cut his hair or beard until he birdie's the 4th hole at BSGC and is raising funds for charity. Wiil takes his 32nd attempt at the 4th. .Pic Vikki Lince. (39663134)
BSGC, Bishop's Stortford. Will Baxter has vowed not to cut his hair or beard until he birdie's the 4th hole at BSGC and is raising funds for charity. Wiil takes his 32nd attempt at the 4th. .Pic Vikki Lince. (39663134)

Although it's all getting a bit too uncomfortable for Will, the club's favoured charity is benefitting. The money donated is going towards the Go4It fund which was launched in 2015 in memory of Ivan Purdie, who died after a five-year battle with cancer.

Ivan was a member of the club, which has raised money for the fund over the years. The target for the Just Giving appeal is £50,000 and with help from Will it's just over £300 short.

Proceeds from events raised for the fund go towards Hatfield-based Hertfordshire Community Foundation, an independent charity which supports local causes.

BSGC, Bishop's Stortford. Will Baxter has vowed not to cut his hair or beard until he birdie's the 4th hole at BSGC and is raising funds for charity. Wiil takes his 32nd attempt at the 4th. .Pic Vikki Lince. (39663135)
BSGC, Bishop's Stortford. Will Baxter has vowed not to cut his hair or beard until he birdie's the 4th hole at BSGC and is raising funds for charity. Wiil takes his 32nd attempt at the 4th. .Pic Vikki Lince. (39663135)

Andy Hardie said that lots of members and friends were enjoying Will's predicament, but he was grateful for the money being raised.

"I think he thought the two would come a lot quicker than it has and he wasn't expecting to turn into a Gruffalo," said Andy.

BSGC, Bishop's Stortford. Will Baxter has vowed not to cut his hair or beard until he birdie's the 4th hole at BSGC and is raising funds for charity. Wiil takes his 32nd attempt at the 4th. .Pic Vikki Lince. (39663107)
BSGC, Bishop's Stortford. Will Baxter has vowed not to cut his hair or beard until he birdie's the 4th hole at BSGC and is raising funds for charity. Wiil takes his 32nd attempt at the 4th. .Pic Vikki Lince. (39663107)

"Hopefully he'll make a two soon and we'll have more donations and support for the foundation so we can support more local charities."

To donate to the fund see www.justgiving.com/fundraising/go4it-fund.


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