10 Minutes with… Graeme Stevens, Stuburt

The former pro and joint owner of Stuburt talks Guy Ritchie films, getting a hole in one in the dark and why the game needs more John Daly’s.

What’s your favourite golf course?
Probably Wentworth; I just like how it is set out and the treeline there, or Sunningdale. I like those kind of courses rather than the open and windy ones.

What’s the best shot you’ve ever played?
I hit a hole in one playing night golf, although my friends say someone must have put the ball in the hole as none of us saw it go in! It was a long par three and we couldn’t find my ball and then we realised my ball was in the hole. To get a hole in one in the dark was pretty good.

What’s the biggest issue facing golf today?
Getting the juniors involved in the game. I’ve been around the industry for a while and at the moment golf isn’t quite in vogue for the youngsters – when I was a kid of 13 or 14 myself and all my friends would be playing and down the driving range, but it’s difficult now because there are so many different interests and things for them to do. It is about introducing people to the game early. I think we’ve always focused on the top players like Rory and Tiger whereas perhaps we should focus on the kids and trying to get the interest of the masses a bit more.

Who’s your favourite ever golfer and why?
John Daly – I think he brings something different to golf and we need characters like him. His character and his attitude is different, and if we had half a dozen like him in golf at the moment I think the game would have a higher profile.

What one thing would you change about the golf industry?
I still think there is a bit of stuffiness about it. I have been in the industry for a long time and have a lot of good friends in it, but I’ve been involved in other businesses where it is a bit more relaxed. There is still an element of some people having a ‘stiff upper lip’ and there is a bit of snobbery attached to golf – it can be a bit elitist.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
The freedom of what I can do; I get to travel, be out of the office a lot and meet lots of interesting people. I enjoy talking to the pro and I still deal with a lot of the big retailers, which I enjoy. The variety is great and I really enjoy bringing a product to market that is successful as it gives me a real sense of achievement.

What’s the hardest part of it?
Sometimes the travelling can be difficult as we deal with people all over the world and I go to the Far East four times a year. I am flying to Guernsey soon to see a customer so I will be up early and jumping on a plane and then flying back the same day. The travelling can be difficult, but it does mean I get to see different places.

What’s your favourite film?
Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I actually know Vinnie Jones, which is one the reasons why I watched it, and I really liked it. I enjoyed the sequel as well, Snatch. I thought they had a different type of humour. I never used to watch films, but as I’m getting older I’m getting into them a bit more. On a more serious note I also like Shawshank Redemption, which is a classic.

What are the most played songs on your iPod?
I actually have quite diverse taste, so I like 80s music but I also enjoy quite heavy stuff, so I go from one extreme to the other. I quite like a bit of Abba but I also really like dance tunes; it depends on what I’m doing, whether I’m going out, going to the gym or driving up and down the motorway.

If you weren’t in golf, what would you like to be doing for a living?
I was into boxing quite heavily when I was younger and wasn’t a bad amateur boxer. If I had a choice of being any professional it would have been a boxer rather than a golfer. I think if I had of gone into boxing I would have been driven and focused, whereas I wasn’t really with golf. I left school at 15 and went straight to work as an assistant to a pro so I never knew anything else, although I actually did my work experience at an estate agents, so maybe something to do with buying and selling property.