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Taranaki speed golfers complete epic charity challenge
/ Augusta News

After three days, 18 golf courses, 324 holes and 134 kilometres, Reeve Barnett was running on adrenaline but loving it.

On Saturday, Barnett, his brother-in-law Mick McBeth, friend Bernie Smith and world speedgolf champion Jamie Reid had all pushed themselves to the limit to play every course in Taranaki to raise funds for Kidney Kids.

They had hoped to raise $30,000, but Barnett said they had smashed their target.

People had pledged money for every birdie and par they scored, so the final total was yet to be tallied, he said.

“They were cheering us on every par and birdie we got, so you have got to love that.”

The cause is close to Barnett’s heart. His sister and Mick’s wife, Adelle, has had two kidney transplants and he donated a kidney to her in 2017.

The feat began at 6am on Thursday at New Plymouth’s Ngāmotu course and finished at city’s Fitzroy course on Saturday, marking the four-year anniversary of the sacrifice Barnett made to save his sister's life.

He said a grandstand was set up at the 18th hole and a large crowd was there cheering them on.

“It was just special.

“The number of people supporting us was just mind-blowing.” 

He said the group were accompanied by locals on every course they played and Taranaki rugby royalty Jordie Barrett even joined in at his home course of Pungarehu.

Barnett said he wasn’t sure the All Black knew what he was getting into when he arrived wearing golf shoes rather than running shoes, but he showed his commitment by also playing Kaitake with the group.

“That was pretty cool.”

Barnett said the backing the group had received reinforced to him that community spirit was alive and well.

“Kidney Kids is extremely important to our family and to have the community support us for something that’s so personal to us is just fantastic.”