He made his name as an opening batsman for Somerset County Cricket Club in the late 80s and early 90s, but since leaving the UK for New Zealand fourteen years ago Ricky Bartlett has concentrated most of his sporting abilities into the game of golf. Now the three handicapper has embarked on an ambitious golfing tour of his adopted home and is set to earn thousands of pounds for various charities.

Amnesty International, the Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House and the SPCA are all set to benefit from his whistle-stop tour of New Zealand’s 399 golf courses. Ricky (pictured) is aiming to play all of the courses in one calendar year – a number of rounds that most of us can only dream about.

The tour started on August 1st and the 40 year-old cricket development officer from the Kapiti Coast is progressing well. He celebrated his 40th birthday on October 8th with, surprisingly, a round of golf, and is eager for fans of golf and other sports to follow his movements and make donations by logging onto the tour’s official website, www.nzcharitygolftour.co.nz. The site features an amusing online diary of Ricky’s experiences and details all the facts about charitable donations.

“Organising 400 rounds of golf has not been easy,” says Ricky, who is originally from Taunton.

“It has been made easier by the fact that the vast majority of the golf clubs have welcomed the idea and been very helpful. The hardest part was raising the funds to get the tour off the ground and if any person or business would like to support the tour and make sure we get through the year then please log on to our website and click on the ‘share purchase’ area.”

“I would like to thank all those golf clubs who have welcomed me to their club and offered complimentary golf. It has made a huge difference and I am positive that their actions will enable us to earn a significant amount for these four worthy charities.”

We will provide an update on Ricky’s progress early in 2007 and in the meantime log on to the aforementioned website if you would like further information or to make a donation.