HOW’S YOUR GOLF?
I’m dreadfully inconsistent! I try to play once a week between March and October, usually on a Wednesday in the competition in Ashbourne with my oul lad. I’m a weird golfer. When I was younger I was off nine in Ashbourne and now I play off 20 after taking a few years off. I have it in my head that I’m still a nine handicap but I can’t execute the shots.
I wouldn’t be your average high handicapper – I can pull off outrageous shots and then scratch three holes in a row.
WHAT’S THE WEAKEST PART OF YOUR GAME?
I’m just a terrible chipper. That’s killing my game, I would be liable to take the putter out 30 yards from the green. I know myself it’s all confidence which I simply don’t have. I promised myself this year that I will go down to the club when the evenings get better and spend an hour or so just practicing chipping.
I don’t get much time to play but I want to win when I play. I usually avoid practicing chipping on the course so that’s where the golf game is at.
I’m never going to be Shane Lowry or Phil Mickelson. All I want to do is when I’m 40 yards out, I want to give myself a putt. Not even asking for up and down everywhere. My standard would be to hit a great drive, 3-wood and then blade my chip over the back and then end up with a six or seven. That would be standard me.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO GOLF?
This isn’t even a joke but I played a lot of pitch and putt growing up so you would think I would be good at chipping! Ashbourne had a pitch and putt club and I spent all my summers down there and used to love it. Proper good times where you would leave the house at 9am and not home til 9pm. I was cack-handed for years and then swapped back around. Funny, Matt Fitzpatrick chips cack-handed and is very good at it so I wonder is that something I could venture down?
Ashbourne Golf Club opened in 1994 or so and then a group of us went down as 10-12 year olds in 1997 and we were the original junior members. I played until I was around 15 or so, I won junior opens in Blackbush and Co. Meath Golf Club so I could play when I was younger. God knows what is wrong with me now!
If you spend an hour on a golf course, you could be on cloud nine then the next half hour you want to throw the clubs into a ditch. There’s no other game like it. I love it and I hate it the exact same amount.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HOLE IN ONE?
Not that I remember. I can’t say a specific time I did from just playing so much as a young fella. I can’t remember any grandstand moments so no for now.
HOW MUCH DOES GOLF HELP WITH YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?
For me, the reason I really like golf is that I generally turn my phone on airplane mode for the round. It’s lovely to switch off from the world and whether things are going well or not, it’s such a release because you have conversations on the course that you wouldn’t really have.
From a sport point of view, golf is the only sport where you can have a real chat with someone. Golf is a great outlet for a lot of people to get out and get fresh air.
I like being with people I know. It’s funny, for me, because I like switching off from the whole Rory’s Stories thing, I don’t mind being with random people and them asking people which is fine too!
I played a few pro-ams with other sporting lads and you get to know them. I’ll talk to anyone but I like playing with my mates because it’s just good craic and there’s a lot of slagging which is a good release for everyone.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR GAME?
My mid irons. Nine to a seven I would be decent enough and I would hit a green with those clubs. My driving isn’t too bad, my bad shot is a big dirty slice. I seem to be driving it better so like anyone, it’s about slowing the swing down, but when you blade a ball over the green on the hole before it’s hard to slow down!
WHICH IS HARDER, GOLF OR GAA?
There’s no comparison between the two sports. In football on a team, you can have a bad day but a successful outcome. I played plenty of football matches where I didn’t play well and the team won, or I would have had a great game and the team lost.
I would relate golf to comedy as in you rise on your own and die on your own. I think comedy on stage and golf are very similar, there’s nobody to blame but yourself if things go wrong. That’s where golf has extra pressure.
ANY FIRST TEE NERVES OF A WEDNESDAY COMP?
I would rather go out on stage with no script in front of 10,000 people than chip a ball in front of four people. I don’t think anyone likes teeing off in front of a crowd, even the pros! The Ryder Cup for them would be knee-wobbling. Niall Horan told me he would rather stand in a full arena with a guitar than hit a golf ball in front of a few people.
BEST GOLFER YOU HAVE PLAYED WITH?
He’s class! He went around Mount Juliet with nine birdies and one bogey, it was ridiculous. He bogeyed 18. I don’t know how it’s a par four, but it is. These pros are weird, you look at them and yourself and think, what is the difference?
The smoothness of his swing. When he missed a green he was guaranteed to put the ball stone dead.
I played with John Catlin as well and he actually looks like he’s sh*te, doesn’t look like a golfer with his rhythm or anything but he was really good as well.
The tempo with the pros is sensational to watch and the sound is beautiful, just unbelievable.
DREAM FOURBALL AND WHERE?
Myself, Tiger Woods and Jim Carrey. I don’t know if Jim plays much golf! I’d go Shane Lowry for the Irish craic, he would understand the banter. It would have to be at Augusta, I know it’s probably the standard answer but I’d be lying if I said anywhere else.
BEST COURSE YOU EVER PLAYED?
Played it last year and it’s unbelievable. I was blown away by it. It’s close to what you think Augusta would look like. It’s a lovely experience having a caddy with you and helping you around the place. There are a few greens where you roll off and you’re 30 yards back on the fairway so it’s an experience too.
I remember on the 16th over the water, I hit a lovely shot into the middle of the green, crispy 7-iron – a beautiful feeling. The caddy handed me my putter and walking down the fairway to the green was a sweet feeling.
Want to find out more about Rory O’Connor? Check out his Official YouTube page at Rory’s Stories, and follow him across all social channels. His book, Rory’s Story, a true underdog tale packed with laughs was published in 2020.
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