He has an Olympic Games Bronze medal and a bucket fall of World Championship and Commonwealth Games Gold medals in his trophy cabinet as the national record holder in the shot put with a personal best of 22.90 metres. He took up golf at the age of seven or eight and today we find out how much he loves the game with our Quick Round with Tom Walsh.
How old were you when you started playing golf and who got you started?
I started playing golf when I was at primary school; I was probably seven or eight years old. I was playing mainly because my brother was playing. I only played for about a year and then didn’t really touch a golf club until I was 22. I then got back into it because my sport coach and my strength and conditioning coach were both single figure handicappers. We did golf as a bit of a teambuilding exercise and the next thing you know; I was hooked!
Where did you start playing golf?
My first round I can remember was at the Gleniti golf course in Timaru
What is the lowest handicap you have ever played off?
I’ve been down to 8.6 but pretty much have stayed around 9.
What was your lowest round score and where were you playing?
I shot a 77 which was ‘five over’ at St Clair Golf Course in Dunedin
How many holes in one have you had?
Unfortunately, none yet.
How far do you hit your 7-iron?
My usual hit is about 140m.
What is your biggest fear on the golf course?
I guess that would be getting into trouble down the right-hand side as my “miss” is a big block right with a tail fading away.
What is your biggest frustration (pet peeve) when playing golf?
I have two pet peeves. My first frustration is when a person you’re playing with throws in the towel and gives up; this can bring down the whole vibe of the group. My other frustration is when groups don’t let you through when you’re clearly playing faster. Or when groups don’t let you play through when you’re clearly playing faster and you’re in a smaller group.
What do you most love about playing golf?
I love getting away from the cell phone and that feeling after you’ve hit that perfect shot; it’s very addictive.
What is your most memorable moment in golf?
For me, it was sinking a 3-footer on the last hole of a four-day golf trip and winning the competition for my team!
What is your favourite golf course in New Zealand?
It must be either Kinloch or Paraparaumu Beach.
Who is the most famous person or best golfer you have played with?
Sir Bob Charles. What is amazing that he is in his 80’s! He can still outdrive most people and shoot better than them too; he makes it look so easy.
What is the most memorable time or experience you have had on the golf course?
I’ve been very lucky to play in two New Zealand Opens as an ambassador and is amazing how different it is being inside the ropes at a Pro tournament. And it’s great to see how good the pros really are.
If you could pick any three people, alive or dead, to play in a four-ball with, who would they be and is there any reason for your choices?
I think the first two are easy: Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. The desire to play with two hugely competitive sports icons that I think many of us have looked up to around the world. And then I’d add in “the big easy” (Ernie Els) as I love the way he swings the club.
Who would you get the most satisfaction out of beating on the golf course and why?
I would have to say it would be my coach Dale, as he always has a way of getting himself out of sticky situations on and off the golf course. So, whenever I beat him in a tight match it’s always a good feeling!
Do you get to play golf overseas when you are competing? If so, which event is your favourite event and place to play golf?
Yes, I am very lucky that I get to play all over the world. I’ve managed to play on the TPC Scottsdale Golf Course (Phoenix, Arizona) which hosts the PGA Tour Waste Management Open. I also spend a lot of time in Athens, Georgia, USA, so I get to play on the University of Georgia golf course. The Georgia Bulldogs have had an extremely strong golf team over the years with Bubba Watson and Kevin Kisner being some of their most famous alumni.
My favourite golf movie is?
It would have to be Happy Gilmore.
What is your favourite thing to do away from the golf course?
I’m a hands-on guy, so pretty much anything building-related. I love tinkering away on a project.
See also, the Quick Round with Stephen Fleming here.
See also, the Quick Round with Sean Fitzpatrick here.