Teenager ‘lucky to be alive’ after suffering cardiac arrest on the golf course

Aged 18, Guy Gowan’s life was saved by a sports therapist, an off-duty nurse and a golf club’s defibrillator

Our Drive for Defibs campaign is brought to you in association with Motocaddy

The first thing you should know about a sudden cardiac arrest is that it can happen to anyone at any time. Only one in 10 survives an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, which is why Guy Gowar considers himself to be one of the lucky ones. 

Aged 18 at the time, Guy was enjoying a half-term break from school in April last year when he collapsed after hitting his tee shot on the 9th hole at Meole Brace Golf Course in Shrewsbury. His playing partner didn’t know what was happening and had it not been for the quick thinking of Aaron Lambley, a sports therapist playing on the adjacent hole, doctors say there was a very good chance Guy would have died.

RELATED: What is the Drive for Defibs campaign?

“I remember seeing someone face down on the tee box,” recalls Aaron. “When I got closer to Guy, there was blood on his face so I assumed he had been hit by a stray ball.

“Training kicks in at this point and when we realised that Guy wasn’t breathing, that’s when it dawned on me he was probably having a cardiac arrest.”

Immediately, Aaron started performing CPR and was quickly aided by a nurse, who was walking her dog nearby and offered to take it in turns while they waited for a defibrillator and an ambulance to arrive.

Aaron Lambley helped save Guy Gowar's life.

“Everything aligned, basically,” admits Guy, who is now 19. “I think it took five minutes for someone to fetch a defibrillator from the clubhouse and it only took one shock to restart my heart. It couldn’t have worked out any better. Without the defibrillator, who knows what would have happened. It does stress the importance of having defibrillators everywhere and everyone knowing CPR.”

RELATED: Which Motocaddy Trolley is right for you?

After being rushed to Royal Stoke Hospital, in Staffordshire, Guy spent two days in an induced coma. He eventually left hospital 10 days later having had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) fitted, a device which shocks the heart back into regular rhythm if it goes into sudden cardiac arrest.

He has since been diagnosed with Long QT syndrome, an inherited condition which can cause a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia if left untreated. Guy now takes beta blockers daily as a result, but that hasn’t stopped him from living life to the full.

This summer, he spent 16 days cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats and raised more than £11,000 in aid of three charities, including the British Heart Foundation and the Oliver King Foundation, whose aim is to ensure all schools are equipped with a defibrillator.  

“I should be able to donate five defibrillators, which is brilliant, and I can choose where they go,” says Guy, who is about to start studying business management at Exeter University.

RELATED: What to do if a playing partner has a cardiac arrest

To thank Aaron for saving his life, Guy has just nominated him for a British Heart Foundation CPR Hero award, which will be announced later this year. The two have even struck up a friendship.

“We’ve bumped into each other a few times on the range and because he’s a physiotherapist, sometimes I ask for his help as I do get injured quite often,” says Guy. “We do get along really well and we’ve got a mutual interest in sport which is nice. The only thing I’ve had to give up is football, which is nothing in the grand scheme of things. I couldn’t have been luckier, so I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.”

If you’ve got a story that you’d like to be told, you’re hosting a fundraising event inspired by our campaign, or your golf club has recently installed a defibrillator, get in touch with us, here.

Motocaddy’s GPS app, which includes CPR guidance, AED locator and emergency contacts, is free to download on iOS and Android devices from the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Want to get the most from Today’s Golfer? Sign up for TG Membership!

 What to do if a playing partner has a cardiac arrest
 How a defibrillator saved my life
Royal Dornoch installs defibrillators across entire buggy fleet
“My golf playing partners saved my life”
Teenager “lucky to be alive” after suffering cardiac arrest on the golf course
Meet the man who inspired our Drive for Defibs campaign
How Motocaddy’s golf trolleys can save lives

About the author

Today's Golfer features editor Michael Catling.

Michael Catling – Features Editor

Michael Catling is Today’s Golfer‘s Features Editor and an award-winning journalist who specializes in golf’s Majors and Tours, including DP World, PGA, LPGA, and LIV.

Michael joined Today’s Golfer in 2016 and has traveled the world to attend the game’s biggest events and secure exclusive interviews with dozens of Major champions, including Jack Nicklaus, Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Gary Player, and Justin Thomas.

A former member of Ufford Park and Burghley Park, Michael has been playing golf since he was 11 and currently plays off a handicap of 10.

Away from golf he’s a keen amateur chef and has his own healthy recipes website. He also loves playing squash, going to the gym, and following Chelsea FC.

Michael uses a Ping G driverPing G 3-woodPing G Crossover 3-ironPing G Series irons (4-PW), Ping Glide wedges (52º, 56º, 60º), TaylorMade MySpider Tour Putter, and Srixon AD333 golf ball.

Get in touch with Michael via email and follow him on Twitter.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.