10 minutes with… Mark Stewart, Stewart Golf

    What’s your favourite golf course?
    It has to be Celtic Manor for two reasons – I went to the Ryder Cup when it was there in 2010 and we had Sunday tickets so saw that and the Monday, as it had rained very heavily on the Sunday. I have amazing memories, including being on the 16th green when G Mac holed that putt. The other reason is that I have played there a few times and I always have a good round there; we play a semi-annual team match there and I holed the winner at the 16th, which was great.

    Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 16.38.53What’s the best shot you’ve ever played?
    I’m a fairly average to poor golfer, so there’s not too many good shots that I’ve played, but one of the ones that my Canadian distributor reminds me of is when we were playing at his golf club in Toronto and I was playing with a rented set of clubs. I hit a five wood to within about three feet of the hole from 200 yards out which is the sort of shot a 24 handicapper shouldn’t be playing!

    In your view, what’s the biggest issue facing golf today?
    There are a handful, but the one that really stands out for me is that golf has an image problem. I don’t know exactly how it is overcome, but we often don’t help ourselves in this industry; there is a lot of the old school tie mentality which I’m not a big fan of and it needs to change. There are still a lot of committees in golf and, generally in life, committees don’t work. There’s got to be an opportunity somewhere for golf’s T20 but the problem is that there often doesn’t seem to be much of an appetite for change. If you look at cricket’s image 15 years ago then it was the same as golf’s is now, but that sport has changed.

    Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 16.38.48What do you enjoy most about your job?
    The design and the innovation side of it; that’s really our roots. There are three of us here who own and run the business and we are all engineers. We got into this because we get to design things all the time and that’s what we love.

    What’s the hardest part of it?
    When it comes to sales and marketing there is a constant need for more sales, and that never goes away. There is always a pressure to increase sales for the company.

    Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 16.38.42What’s your favourite film?
    I would have to go with Gladiator – I like it partly because it doesn’t have a happy ending. It’s not a classic Hollywood ride off into the sunset ending.

    What is your favourite holiday destination?
    Several places in Italy, I love going there – they have such a relaxed pace of life and excellent food. The last few holidays have been to Sardinia and Sicily and we’ve had beautiful weather and found great little tavernas with amazing pizza.

    The most played song on your iPod is?
    I have a very diverse music taste, so anything from Pavarotti to Taylor Swift. My default will always be to something like Oasis, so that Britpop era. My most recent obsession musically is the two most recent albums by The Streets – they’re really underrated and one of my favourite bands.

    Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
    Doing what I am doing now, but doing it even better.

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    Miles is the Owner and Managing Director of Robel Media, and the award winning GOLF RETAILING Magazine. With over 25 years in the media business, Miles has a wealth of experience in magazine publishing, digital media and live events. HANDICAP - 7.2