I would have been around six or seven when I started playing golf. I grew up in New Zealand and my friend up the road lived around the corner from a golf course, so we would just grab a couple of clubs and go there in the holidays and after school and hit balls around.
That was probably my first introduction to it, but I didn’t start playing regularly until I got to university and I had Fridays off. I was a good university student (ha!) and we used to go down to the local golf club on a Friday afternoon where it was $5 for students, including a free beer so I think that is what probably got us playing most Fridays.
Adam Scott and I at the Australian Open Pro-Am at The Lakes golf course
There are so many things I love about golf, but I think the best thing for me is that it’s exercise – I try and walk where I can. It’s a great way of spending four or five hours with your friends or clients and just chatting and having a laugh with a bit of competition built into it as well.
I will admit that I am a competitive person and with golf you can compete against all levels. In most sports, such as tennis, it can be a bit one-sided if you have got a good player and a not-so-good player, whereas in golf your ability is irrelevant because of the handicapping system, so I love that.
I am also very lucky with the job that I have, which is organising golf tours around the world. Yes really! I play on 30 to 40 new courses every year. I always love playing a different course and different scenery and it’s always new and exciting every time.
The other thing about golf is that there are some amazing golf courses around the world, both the big name ones and lots of hidden gems that you can just discover along the way. Certainly a benefit of golf is the fact that you can play on beautiful bits of land around the world, in places you would never visit otherwise.
I's find it hard to select a favourite course – it’s more of a top 10 these days – but probably if I was forced to pick I would pdobably say Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand (pictured at the top) would be my number one. It’s up in the Bay of Islands and quite spectacular.
There’s one in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. You might think Hong Kong has no land, but it’s literally carved along the top of an island and it has amazing sea views in every direction, so I was surprised how good that was – one that I had not heard of before.
12th hole at the amazing Old Head Golf Course in Ireland. That's the green by my left ear!
And I think in Sydney, Long Reef Golf Club up on the Northern Beaches is a great course. It’s on a bit of a headland with beach views left and right and just got some stunning views. I think it’s an underrated golf course generally in Sydney and in Australia.
Not long after I arrived in Sydney from New Zealand, I joined a club called Club 19, which I guess you could simply describe as a business networking golf club. I had a recruitment business at that time so it was great to combine business and pleasure and being a member involved playing at all the top courses around Sydney once a month. You could take some clients out with you too, so it would kill both edges of the stick.
It replaces taking clients on a long boozy lunch – and it’s so much better all round. It’s hard to get people to commit to anything too long these days, whereas a game of golf on a nice golf course, that’s a no brainer. Most people find their clients say yes because we do play all the top golf courses and is there anything nicer than a couple of hours on a beautiful piece of green space, often close to the office?
And it’s all above par – literally.
What sport do you enjoy playing?