Paul McGinley - The 10 Minute Talk
Paul McGinley spent a cold Friday morning giving advice to some of England’s cricketers who were taking part in a longest drive Competition at Woburn Golf Club. Great Golf Caught up with him to get his opinion on where golf is going and which locations we may be visiting in the next few years.
How did you get into golf?
I used to play during the summer holidays with my parents, but golf was not my first love. Gallic Football was my main passion but unfortunately when I was 19 I broke my kneecap. It was only because of my injury that I started playing golf during the winter as well. I practiced and quickly improved and at 25 turned professional, which is an old age compared to most guys.
What was your handicap at 19?
Probably 4 or 5, that was really just from playing three months every summer.
Do you play to relax of is it too much of a job?
Well! Golf is an elusive game, just when you think that you have it, you don’t. It’s a never ending journey and as much as you enjoy it, it can be incredibly frustrating as well. I still love to play and compete, I turn 50 this year and hope to play in the seniors in the near future. It’s not my main source of income anymore but that doesn’t mean this it’s not something that I enjoy doing.
When you are abroad, where do you like to play?
Well, I like the heat, I’m not a man for the cold. If I’m abroad I like to be somewhere hot where I can play in shorts if I can.
So, are we talking Europe or further?
Europe is always home and I love playing Portugal & Spain, I think that there is something great about those countries, especially during the summer period. A lot of Europeans are not travelling to the Middle East at the moment so the locations close to home are benefiting from that.
Do you think the likes of Italy has a lot to offer?
It will be interesting to see what happens now that they have secured the Ryder Cup for 2022. We will see how they are going to lead with that in terms of how they are going to get more Italians into the game, and what the strategy will be over the next years in terms of promoting Italy. France of course have the Ryder Cup in 2018 so again it will be interesting to see what they do. The competition is a great lever to get people into the game.
How do you see golf evolving in the future?
I think the fundamentals of golf will remain the same, but we will see it splintering off in different directions in terms of maybe using more computers at driving ranges and creating a new environment where people can spend a couple of hours playing maybe against others online. I can see people also playing less holes and also for the game to be more inclusive of children and families, making it much more of a family orientated sport. It’s great seeing families out playing together and with the golf handicap system the game has a great opportunity to appeal. There will always be a place for the history and traditions of the game, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t grow in other ways. There can be different layers of golf and hopefully it will evolve that way. That’s why driving ranges are great, you can turn up in jeans and flip flops.
How about your Golf Design Company?
Yes, that’s going well, we are doing some driving ranges at the moment and we have done a golf course renovation in Ghana which has been a great success along with some driving ranges and course redesigns.
Are locals taking up the sport there?
Yes it is very much driven by the locals, the whole project was funded by Tullow Oil Plc, they are drilling there and its part of their giving back to the community. As much as they wanted to leave a legacy through schools and hospitals, they also wanted to do it through sports. They are also designing football pitches as well. The locals are actually queuing outside the gates to get into the driving range which gives me an immense feeling of achievement.
Do you think that one day people will be taking golf holidays in Ghana?
It will happen, at the moment there are twelve courses and they are not all up to a good standard, but there are a lot of businesses based there and they feed into the whole process of evolving the quality. The weather is perfect 12 months of the year so we hope that it just grows and grows and more companies will invest.
How do you see Africa Growing?
Africa is a real potential growth area as everybody knows.
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