Jim Gavin is one of Gaelic football’s most decorated coaches. After a distinguished playing career, he led Dublin to unprecedented provincial and national dominance, winning 17 major honours including four successive National Leagues, seven successive Leinster Championships and a record five successive All-Ireland Championships.
Golf has also been a part of his life since childhood and he enjoyed success in his second sport when he won the Legends Tour event held at Donegal resort Rosapenna last year.
That gained him entry to the Celebrity Final at Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius, where he competed against seven others including Liverpool soccer legend Robbie Fowler, former British and Irish Lions captain Gavin Hastings and BBC presenter Dan Walker.
Gavin was third in the event on the Indian Ocean resort’s Legends course, with fellow Irishman Keith Duffy, the former Boyzone member, claiming the title.
We caught up with Gavin for a Q&A to find out about his life-long love affair with the game of golf.
Q- How did you start playing golf?
I started playing due to my Dad, who played around the age of 10 so I played a lot of schoolboy golf around Dublin. I was quite active then but in my late teens I didn’t play so much. Then joined the Irish Defence Force and played a lot at the beautiful Royal Curragh.
Q- How did you get involved in the Legends Tour?
I was ticking away at golf in the last few years and then Paul McGinley asked me to come to the Legends Tour event at Rosapenna last year. I didn’t want to embarrass myself or embarrass him, so I did a bit of practise for that. Fortunately, I played quite nicely that day, along with a great pro from South Africa James Kingston, and won that event which got me to the final at Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius.
Q- Handicap and home club?
10.8 and Royal Curragh.
Q- Best and worst aspects of your game?
If I have a good or bad shot it doesn’t impact me on the next one. I’m not saying I am blasé but I can focus in on the shot at hand.
Worst aspects would be my bunker play I would say. I need to be more composed and work on my technique.
Q- What aspects of a course make you like it?
I love the design of a course, the shape of the hole, the way the architect thought about it, the strategy and the challenge. I enjoy the competitive nature of golf but also the social nature to it. That’s the beauty of the game.
Q- Favourite courses?
Lahinch and Doonbeg – I have to say Doonbeg because my Dad’s from Doonbeg, but it is a fantastic course! Rosapenna Old Tom Morris was sweet as well when we were up there for the Legends Tour event. Baltray is another I really enjoy – which I realise is four links courses I have just rattled off.
Q- Where would you like to play?
I probably would say Augusta.
Q- How much golf do you watch on TV?
I do watch a lot. Particularly on an evening, Saturday and Sunday, on Sky Sports. I think they do a brilliant job with the coverage. With the time difference between America and Ireland it is just perfect viewing before you go to bed. It’s great to watch the skill level of those players, I really enjoy it.
Q- Funniest thing you’ve seen on a golf course?
Shane Lowry’s celebration on the 17th at Sawgrass after his hole-in-one.
Q- What’s your dream fourball?
Phil Mickelson, I’m a lefty as well, Tiger Woods – to see how the two of them would get on on the golf course – and I’ll say Paul McGinley.
Q- What aspect of the game makes you love golf?
It’s a game where you can be competitive against someone who is a pro or someone who is a beginner because of the handicap system and that makes it a great competitive sport, as well as being sociable and for everyone. It’s always a level playing field.
For more information on playing with celebrities or Tour pros in the Legends Tour, visit legendstour.com. Belle Mare Plage is part of the Constance hotel group (www.constancehotels.com).
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