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Golfer's life saved after heart attack at Wildernesse Golf Club, near Sevenoaks

A golfer's life was saved after he suffered a suffered a cardiac arrest on the fairway.

Garett Endenburg, 53, collapsed at the Wildernesse Golf Club at Seal, near Sevenoaks, last month.

Josh Endenburg, Garett Endenburg,his saviour David Green, his wife Alison Endenburg and David Sullivan of Heart Angels
Josh Endenburg, Garett Endenburg,his saviour David Green, his wife Alison Endenburg and David Sullivan of Heart Angels

Compared with running the 200m or playing a game of squash, most people would think that playing golf was a relatively mild and relaxing sport.

But statistics show that more than 600 golfers a year regularly suffer a cardiac arrest on the fairways and sadly around 400 cases prove fatal.

Fortunately, Mr Endenburg has avoided being in that last batch of statistics after prompt action by golfing pro David Green saved his life.

Mr Endenburg was playing a round with his son Josh and two friends on Saturday, September 7, when at around 4pm they reached the seventh tee. Mr Endenburg began to feel unwell and suffered chest pains.

His friends tried using their mobile phones to call the emergency services, while Josh tried calling the club to send a buggy, but out on the furthest part of the course from the clubhouse, poor reception prevented them getting through, so Josh started running back to the clubhouse.

As luck would have it, one of the others then saw a greenkeeper checking the greens for a competition, and ran over to him. The greenkeeper then drove Mr Endenburg, in pain but still fully conscious, back to the pro shop where PGA head pro David Green, after calling 999, took charge.

Mr Green had been trained on how to use the club’s defibrillator and CPR and was able to act to save Mr Endenburg's life.

The 7th green at the Wildernesse Golf Club
The 7th green at the Wildernesse Golf Club

He immediately recognised Mr Endenburg's symptoms - breathlessness and complaining of chest pains - but within two minutes of arriving at the golf shop, Mr Endenburg collapsed.

Mr Green said: “Once someone has collapsed, you have an eight-minute window to save their life, and that’s when my training kicked in.

"First, Josh and I had to get Garett into the recovery position on the floor.

“By the time we’d retrieved the defibrillator from the clubhouse, Garett had no pulse.

"We cleared his airway and fired up the defibrillator which simultaneously started talking me through what to do while checking Garett for a heartbeat."

Heart Angels provide training on how to use a defibrillator with confidence
Heart Angels provide training on how to use a defibrillator with confidence

"There wasn’t one, so the red light came on and we shocked Garett’s heart to start pumping blood – and therefore vital oxygen – back around his brain and body.

"We then applied CPR - cardiopulmonary resuscitation – with almost violent chest compressions to keep his heart pumping.”

A paramedic car arrived first and the ambulance arrived 25 minutes later.

Mr Green said: “Garett left the shop at 5pm and 45 minutes later he was in the cardiac unit at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, where two stents were fitted.

"Yet by 6.45pm he was sitting up in bed having tea and sandwiches!

"He was discharged on the Monday and to my amazement, came into my pro shop on the Tuesday to thank me, looking back to normal!”

Mr Endenburg said afterwards: "I was so fortunate that David was fully trained and had the equipment to hand.

"Everyone said how calm and confident he was with the defibrillator and CPR.

"I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to David, Josh and everyone else for saving my life. Things could have been very different.”

Mr Green said: “It was an experience, that’s for sure, and not one you would want too often.

"But this episode has also made me determined to get CPR and defibrillator training into the PGA’s own training programme.

"Not all golf clubs have a defibrillator, and those that do may not always have the trained staff on hand to provide emergency treatment.”

Mr Green has now teamed up with David Sullivan, who runs Heart Angels, an Oxted-based organisation providing defibrillators and training, to push for all golf clubs to ensure they have the equipment and training to deal with emergencies.

Details of Heart Angels can be found at www.heartangels.co.uk

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