10 minutes with… Neil Parker, Motocaddy

The sales director at the golf trolley brand tells us why South Africa is his favourite holiday destination, how the golf trolley business has developed and getting holes in one.

What’s your favourite golf course?

St George’s Hill in Surrey – every single hole there is exceptionally beautiful and the view of the clubhouse that you get from the ninth tee is amazing. It is a sensational course.

Who’s your favourite golfer?

Jack Nicklaus – he was in his prime when I first started getting interested in golf as a youngster and I was lucky enough to be able to watch him play and follow him round at various British Opens. He has always been the guy that I have looked up to and admired the most.

What’s the best shot you’ve ever played?

I actually hit two holes in one when I was 15 within the space of three weeks. I hadn’t been playing for that long and I remember thinking at the time, ‘golf is easy’ and then I gradually came to realise that this wasn’t the case. I have had one hole in one since, about 25 years after my first, but having hit two when I was 15 I was hoping to have achieved slightly more than three!

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 14.41.23What’s the biggest issue facing golf today?

The declining – or at best static – participation numbers is probably the biggest issue and we need to examine what the reasons for this are. Part of this is probably due to there being lots of other competing leisure activities and demands on people’s time and money which is taking people away from golf. I think that the core golfers and members are pretty solid and we can count on them to play regularly but there are a few million or so casual golfers who aren’t members anywhere that play more sporadically and we seem to have lost quite a lot of those over the last five to ten years for various reasons. The participation levels would be my biggest concern.

What one thing would you like to change about the golf industry?

There have been lots of very well intentioned initiatives to find a new format of golf, such as cricket did with twenty20 which has almost rebranded cricket and given it a whole new appeal. Some of the ideas are very good and have value, but what we really need is to see one coherent and common format of golf. I think this would draw a few more casual players into the game and back into it – whatever it is though we need to have one strategy.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 14.42.25From an early age golf has been my number one passion and I really enjoy having the opportunity to work in an environment that I really love. I joined the company in the beginning of 2006 when Motocaddy was in its second year, so I’ve seen a really interesting development of the business in that time. We’ve gone from nobody having heard of Motocaddy to being a well-established business and electric and manual trolleys have changed a lot in that space of time – there has been a revolution in golf trolleys.

And what’s the hardest part of it?

There is something unique in working in the electric golf trolley market in that we are dealing with electronic and mechanical products and sometimes there are various technical issues which crop up that we have to deal with. That’s part of life though when you work in the electric trolley market.

What’s your favourite film?

Shawshank Redemption – it’s an absolute classic.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

I went to Cape Town two years ago and it was absolutely amazing and we will be going back as we had such a great time. It is absolutely beautiful; wherever you are you are looking at mountains or the ocean. It is an expensive flight, but once you are there it is pretty cheap and you have great wine, food and stunning scenery.