WHAT started out as drink-fuelled Christmas bravado could end up costing three golf-loving businessmen a whopping £20,000.

While comparing putting skills during the festive season, business partners Paul Downs and Edward Lennie began throwing around betting ideas.

When the fog cleared, they had agreed to stump up £10,000 to anyone successfully conquering the Hotshots Putting Challenge.

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The jackpot doubled when the Newcastle-based pair put their idea to Ramside Estates managing director John Adamson and he agreed to match their £10,000 pledge, as well as providing free use of Ramside Golf Club for the charity event.

Mr Lennie, 48, said: “We’ve played golf for years and we always doing the putting challenge.

“You think it’s impossible, but then again you think it’s do-able.”

So the bet became the Hotshots Big Money Golf Challenge, scheduled for Ramside Golf Club, near Durham City, on February 15 and 16.

A golfer holing five consecutive puts from increasing distances – 10ft, 20ft, 30ft, 40ft and finally 50ft – will win £10,000; and one who lands all three balls inside a target zone from 140 yards in a single challenge will win another £10,000.

The first to sink a hole-in-one on the latter, The Par 3 Challenge, will get another £1,000.

Mr Downs, 38, said: “People love a challenge. It’s a miserable time of year and people could come here and win a life-changing amount of money.”

The event will raise money for the children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Mr Downs and Mr Lennie, who run events firm Max-A-Millions and describe themselves as “fair to middling” golfers, have staged numerous charity fundraisers including for the Percy Hedley Foundation, which has helped Mr Lennie’s 15-year-old son Sonny, who has cerebral palsy.

They hope to attract 600 golfers over the weekend. Around 150 have already signed up.

The event is open to all ages and costs £5 per challenge.

There is no limit on the number of times each golfer can attempt the challenges.

Competitors are invited to turn up on the weekend, but limited spaces are available so booking is advised via max-a-millions.com