The CEO of Lynx Golf puts aside ten minutes of his day to talk about why he would like to invite Tiger over for dinner, the problems caused by slow play and why golf needs to alter its image.
How did you first get into golf?
I’ve always loved sport and wanted to get involved in it in some way. One day I was taking a walk on my lunch break at my boring office job and there was an advertisement for a Dunlop sales representative. I applied and got the job – that was all the way back in 1982. I had played some pitch and putt before I took the job but that was about it!
What’s the biggest issue facing golf today?
Slow play is a real issue and it has a lot to do with the stars; people always copy the people that they see on TV. I’ve seen it before – when Faldo was at his peak there was a guy walking down the fairway dressed like him and walking like him, the only issue was that he couldn’t hit the ball like him! We also need to get rid of the stuffiness of the game at certain golf clubs – there is a club not far away from me and when you go there the first thing you see is a list of things that you aren’t allowed to do. I’m happy for people to dress smart on the course but I don’t see why afterwards in the clubhouse you can’t wear jeans and it can’t be fairly relaxed.
What one thing would you like to change about the golf industry?
I’d like to change the image that golf has. Golf is the greatest sport in the world and the only sport you can play with your grandkids – for a 55 year old to play football against a 20 year old is very hard, but we don’t have that problem in golf. It is sociable, fun and the whole family can play – the frustration is that those aren’t the things that seem to hit the headlines.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Building a company up properly and doing it for the long-term. I love being able to make sure that everything about the company is the opposite of the things that I hate when they are done to me as a customer. We ensure that customer service is good and we don’t have people who don’t want to take responsibility but blame other people. We are trying to build something for the long-term where the customer gets a great product, the retailer makes money and we make some money.
What’s the hardest part?
Taking a break can be difficult and one of the other hardest parts of it is getting your message out there. We are very much into testing but some people won’t accept what we do and that can be frustrating. We know how the product works; Gary Player saw me use a Lynx driver and asked if he could have a go and he hit it 20 yards further than he had been doing, using a club set up for me. When I know that a product is that good and how people are hitting it I just want people to be made aware of it.
What’s your favourite film?
I’m going to give you two; the Shawshank Redemption is amazing but I’ve just seen the film Lion and it is truly fantastic, so I have to include this as well.
Most played songs?
I’m a massive Bruce Springsteen fan, so anything by him.
Who would be your five dream dinner party guests?
Bruce Springsteen, my wife Stephanie, Nelson Mandela, Jurgen Klopp and Tiger Woods – I don’t think that he would be all that interesting but I would love to know what he is really like.
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
I think I would have to choose Abu Dhabi; we’ve been there four or five times and it is just magical. It is clean and friendly and such a different culture over there, it is absolutely fascinating.