The Owner and Chairman of the shoe brand on the best golf courses he has ever played, his five dream dinner party guests and why Out of Africa is his favourite film.
How did you get into golf?
When I lived in Kenya, I was invited to play with a friend at the Nakuru Golf Club on the slopes of a volcano called Menengai. From that moment on, I was captivated by the game and the challenges it presented… even though I didn’t score very well at the outset!
What’s the best shot you’ve ever hit?
I was playing with Ian Woosnam on the course he designed at Dale Hill in Kent and on a tricky Par 3 on the back nine I said to him: “Ian, watch this one!” To my delight, I managed to hit a great strike and the ball landed just two inches from the pin.
What are the three best golf courses you have played?
Pearl Valley in South Africa, The Brabazon at The Belfry in England and, of course, La Manga Club in Spain, where I now spend a lot of my time playing the game. All are beautifully maintained courses but, most of all, these course are located in the areas where I have some great friends. Golf, to me, is all about enjoying the game with close friends and family. These three courses remain close to my heart, because of the memories I have created whilst playing those hallowed greens.
What’s the biggest issue facing golf?
The issue of Club memberships being too expensive. I believe strongly in the protocols which are in place to keep the standards of the game and clubs high, but some clubs price out potential players/members, making it an elitest sport. Golf should be available to everyone who is willing to play by the rules, and not only available to them if their bank balance is sufficiently healthy. The duration of play is another key issue and the still complicated rules that need to change to make it easier for people to enjoy the game.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working side by side with my team each day, as we build a new global brand with Duca del Cosma that offers golfers a different kind of golf shoe in terms of both styling and performance that they can wear both on and off the course with equal comfort.
What’s the hardest aspect of it?
Sourcing and negotiating the very best deals for the very best materials which are a must for our premium brand.
What’s your favourite film?
The classic Out of Africa with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep that won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1985. The reason I like it so much is because the early part of my life played out just like that story in the beautiful country of Kenya.
What are the most played songs on your iPod?
Hey Jude, The Beatles; We are the Champions, Queen; Dixie style Jazz; Shape of You, Ed Sheeran; and Uptown Funk, Bruno Mars.
Who would be your five dream dinner party gusts?
Bill Clinton; he was a President who did not make war and kept America clean on the world scene. He is just a sociable character with, I’m sure, many a sordid tale to be told. King Willem Alexander; a good and charismatic leader for The Netherlands who also has a fondness for Kenya spending time volunteering as a pilot for medical and wildlife organisations in that region. We would have lots to talk about. Ernie Els; Ernie has many stories to tell and is one of life’s great characters. Roger Federer; Roger is a mans’ man and a gentleman both in sport and within his home life keeping his family nicely together and finally Ian Woosnam, a raconteur par excellence. Another great conversationalist with many stories to tell.