The former Open champion takes us on a fascinating walk through his life, from growing up in the Troubles to captaining the Ryder Cup team

There isn’t much Darren Clarke hasn’t done or seen in a decorated career that has spanned three decades.

In the latest of our ‘A Life in Golf‘ series, we sat down with the Northern Irishman as he takes us on a walk down memory lane that starts with clubhouses being blown up during the Troubles and ends with an experience he describes as “the one I wanted more than anything else“.

He also explains why he once threatened to slap Tiger Woods in the face…

Darren Clarke: A career in numbers

  • 1990: Year turned professional
  • 4: Amateur wins
  • 21: Professional wins
  • 14: European Tour wins
  • 2: World Golf Championship titles
  • 76: Majors played in
  • 1: Major victory
  • 5: Ryder Cup appearances
  • 1: Ryder Cup captaincy
  • 4: Ryder Cup wins
  • 11.5: Ryder Cup points
  • 20,000,000: Career prize money exceeded
  • 0: The number of times he actually slapped Tiger Woods

Clarke was chatting to NCG as an ambassador for Machrihanish Dunes.

“If you want to play proper links golf that isn’t manicured but the greens are immaculate, then this is perfect,” he says.

Indeed, fairways are mown but they’re largely untouched because on this SSSI site the use of fertiliser and the instillation of drainage and irrigation systems are forbidden.

Machrihanish Dunes

That makes it a golf experience in as natural a setting as you can imagine.

“The way the golf course is shaped into the the natural land is wonderful,” Clarke adds. “This is golf as it was intended to be played hundreds of years ago.”

Visit the Machrihanish Dunes website for more information.

Alex Perry


Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

Handicap: 14

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