Oliver Clark, Foresight Sports Europe

The Operations Director at the technology firm chats about his dream golfing dinner guests, how to modernise the game and the legend that is Bob Dylan.

What’s your favourite golf course?
I have been lucky to play some good ones and Loch Lomond, Turnberry and Sawgrass stand out (not least because I got to hit three tee shots on the 17th at Sawgrass!). But one course that really blew me away, when I really wasn’t expecting it, was Swinley Forest. It’s a special place and a special course.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-10-00-23What’s the best shot you’ve ever played?
I have yet to have a hole in one, so there’s nothing exciting like that, but the last time I played was at the 2010 course at Celtic Manor, where I hit rather a nice drive at the 18th. It was such a nice drive, it tempted me to go for the green in two. And I did get the ball over the pond, but unfortunately it didn’t quite make the putting surface and rolled back into the water. But the drive was good!

What’s the biggest issue facing golf today?
It seems clear that less golf is being played and that has a knock on effect on all of us in the industry. I feel that everyone in the business must try and do their bit to reverse this trend and we can all play our part, whether that is getting friends out on the course or introducing youngsters to the game. I am lucky enough to be working with an amazing technology that not only provides professionals with the best coaching and fitting tool, but also powers the world’s best golf simulation. My children don’t nag me to take them to a traditional driving range, they nag me to bring them to our office to play our simulators in the demo room! The beauty of technology is that we can have interactive putting games and fun stuff like smash the windows challenges. I think it is things like this – which combine real golf with modern technology – that will help introduce a new generation of golfers.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-10-00-14What one thing would you like to change about the golf industry?
I wouldn’t want to tinker with the purest form of the sport, as I think there is nothing better than being out there playing 18 holes on a great golf course. But beyond that we should definitely be looking at different formats of the game and to making practice more dynamic, and properly effective. Again technology is going to play its part here and there are some exciting products coming for ranges that will do just that. So the key change for me is to modernise the game – and the industry – without losing what made golf great in the first place.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I have never worked with a product that produces so many happy customers and amazing feedback. In the operations team we love to take an underused space and turn it into something truly stunning, which also delivers new revenue streams for the client through coaching, club sales and year-round usage, as well as building their reputation. And nothing beats a customer calling you after they have had their system for a week to tell you that it’s revolutionised their business. So I guess the answer to the question is ‘helping make happy customers’!

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-10-00-18What’s your favourite film?
I’m not a great film buff, but I love technology and science so if I have the choice I go for science fiction. The last one that kept me riveted to the end was Interstellar, a really clever film.

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I have to say Salcombe in Devon, as our family can’t stop going there. We’ve been to some great places around the world, but I love the UK and if you like a great coastline, fun on the sea, and the occasional ray of sun then Salcombe is hard to beat.

Who would be your five dream dinner party guests?
I’m going to make this a golf-themed party and say Seve and Woosie (my childhood heros), Jack Nicholas, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson. There would be some great stories and with me in the Euro camp with Seve and Woosie, some Ryder Cup style party games!

Most played song on iPod?
Currently Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan. I have been meaning to listen to more of him for years, and after his recent Nobel prize I made a conscious effort to do so. And it’s nice knowing there is such a huge back catalogue to explore.