On the day that my twin sister and I were born, one of the members of the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, the club where my father has been the professional for over thirty years, hoisted two pink nappies to the top of the flagpole. From that day onwards, whether I’ve liked it or not, golf has been a major part of my life.
I learnt how to play as soon as I could walk, and having one of the country’s best coaches and an English Hickory Champion as my father meant I was getting pretty good tuition. I’ve never quite caught the golfing bug, much to his disappointment, but he loves golf enough for the whole family. I think the only time I’ve seen him cry is when Europe won the Ryder Cup.
He’s never been the best tournament player; I’ve lost track of the number of times he’s phoned after a competition and said, “It was all going really well until I triple bogeyed the seventeenth and then hit in the water / bunker / car park on the eighteenth.” Despite this though his enthusiasm for golf has never waned, and he continues to believe that he will be the oldest winner of the Claret Jug.
Growing up, golf generally took priority for my father. As we lived next to his professional shop, when he said that he was just popping to the shop for two minutes, we knew that it would be a good few hours before we saw him again.
My fondest golfing memories were when we used to play a few holes late on a summer’s evening. The usually predominant wind had died down and most of the golfers had gone home, so essentially we had an Open Championship course to ourselves, an ideal way to learn golf. Playing in those conditions are hard to beat, and it certainly made me realise why my father had been so immersed in golf for most of his life.