Hi Paul. Many thanks for speaking to Support through Sport UK. To begin, can you tell us when you first took up golf and what inspired you to do so?
Sport has always been a big part of my life, right from my school days when I developed a love of athletics and competed at quite a high level in javelin, through to middle age when I did a lot of distance running. However, my running was curtailed in my late forties due to injury, so I briefly took up mountain biking before deciding that I needed to find a sport with even less impact stresses…and that's where golf came in!
How would you say that golf has changed your life?
Golf has changed my life dramatically and the back problems that I was starting to suffer from have now completely gone. I've been playing golf for 18 years and am currently in my mid-seventies. I play up to three times a week, in all weathers. Golf keeps me fit, challenges me both mentally and physically and means that I get to experience regular, enjoyable five-mile country walks. In addition to golf, I try to further maintain my upper body strength by doing 65 press-ups a day. Over the years, I’ve had various health issues, including cancer, but, thanks to golf, I’ve maintained a positive attitude and a good level of fitness, which has helped me to combat or keep my conditions under control.
Do you get to compete in any competitions?
I play golf with three others of a similar age and we have entered competitions as a four ball, with some success. However, we no longer compete and just play social golf; it's less stressful!
What would you say to anyone who thinks that they can’t take up golf as they should have learnt in their twenties or thirties?
You can take up golf at any age. One of my playing partners is 83 and there’s no doubt that he's a very fit man with a great outlook on life, which he attributes solely to playing golf on a regular basis.
What first steps would you advise to anyone who wants to take up golf?
As a first port of call, check out your local golf clubs as they will very likely have open days where you can get an introduction to the sport. Also take the opportunity to use local driving ranges that are open to the public. The way I began, however, was in a remote open space (well away from any roads or people) with my daughter. We had just a couple of golf clubs and a couple of balls. After cracking off a few shots, I realised that this was going to be the new sport for me!
Many thanks for sharing your story with us, Paul.
Support through Sport UK and Sports Injury Fix are conducting a series of interviews with people who have taken up new sports later on in life. Sports Injury Fix is a free, online resource that helps you to prevent sports-related injury or recover from injury. It allows you to search by who specialises in your sport and/or injury in your area.