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I'll play 33 courses to help my son to walk

The winner of the British Open may have just completed three gruelling days of world class golf to earn themselves the glittering Claret Jug, but one Edinburgh dad is set to tee off on his own personal challenge - in the hope it could help transform his son's life.

Edinburgh amateur Craig McLaren plans to play a hole at all of the Capital's 33 golf courses in a single day, in a bid to raise more than £15,000 to help improve his disabled son's chances of learning to walk.

Ross, seven, was born with a rare muscular disease which means that if he doesn't learn to walk soon, he probably never will.

Intensive physiotherapy which Craig believes will improve his prospects isn't available through the NHS. So the family face paying around £250 a week for the treatment.

Now Craig is bidding to raise funds to cover the costs, in a golfing marathon that will see him play a hole at every local course in a single day.

And while a typical game of golf takes around three to four hours, Craig and playing partner Alistair McGowan are preparing for a mammoth 16-hour session that will start at 6.30am and go on until at least 10pm.

Craig, a former ski instructor and a founder of bar business Montpelier Group, is a member of Mortonhall Golf Club and a former youth champion golfer. These days, however, he plays off a handicap of 20.

"My golf isn't what it was and I've always had a bit of a block when it came to playing the first hole - probably because you're conscious of people being in the area, watching," he admitted.

"So choosing to play 33 first holes was a moment of madness!".

His son Ross was diagnosed with Central Core Myopathy, a rare condition which seriously weakens his muscles and affects their rate of growth, when he was just two years old.

He currently uses callipers to keep his feet and legs straight, enabling him to walk with crutches.

Nevertheless he practises judo, goes swimming and horseriding and plays wheelchair versions of tennis and basketball.

"There'll come a point when, if Ross isn't already walking, he'll never be able to," added Craig.

Source: Sandra Dick, Evening News, Monday, 19th June, 2010