Golf in Wales: Where the rugby legends playMarch 13, 2017
Three greats, with 205 caps between them, on their Welsh golfing exploits...
Gareth Edwards (1967-1978)
My first contact with golf came at Millfield School. As a prefect I was asked to make sure that a younger pupil, Michael King, kept knuckling down to his practice. He was a schoolboy international and would go on to play in the Ryder Cup.
After a few summer evenings watching him hit balls down to the duck pond he asked if I’d like to have a go. I said, ‘You must be joking – I wouldn’t play that stupid game if it was the last game on earth.’
Years later I got on Pro Celebrity Golf with Tom Watson and Greg Norman! I didn’t want to look like an idiot on national television so I had some lessons with Simon Cox at a range on the outskirts of Neath.
Watson had just won his fourth Open at Troon and there were thousands of people lining the fairways. It was so nerve-wracking but one of the most enjoyable moments of my sporting career.
Scott Quinnell (1993-2002)
I took up golf properly when I was playing for the Scarlets and we would go up to Glyn Abbey near Trimsaran, it was lovely. Before that it would be on holidays at a nine-holer, Cwmrhydneuadd, which was very tight and you would be round in an hour. The old Welsh hooker Gavin Jenkins used to be captain there.
Up until 18 months ago I was off 17 and a poor 17. Now I have joined Celtic Manor, have invested in a club fitting, play twice a week and am now down to 12.
My favourite hole at the resort is the third on the Montgomerie. I live just up the road in Usk and, just before the A449, you see people playing and think that could be me.
My dad plays at Cardigan, which overlooks the bay and is stunning. Even when it has rained it is bone dry. He knows every breath of wind which is why he always smashes me there.
Martyn Williams (1996-2012)
In my teens I would go up to a nine-holer at Castle Heights, they never had a dress code and, like lots of small towns in Wales, the golf club and the rugby club are a big part of things.
For internationals we would be based at the Vale Resort and I would also play Radyr, Whitchurch and Machynys. I became an ambassador at Celtic Manor in 2010. I’m off 18. I’ve hit a plateau so I need to kick on.
When I tell my London mates how much golf costs they almost choke on their food. I live near Southerndown and it can tip it down and it will always be open.
Now I’ve got the bug for golf I’d like to do a trip up the west coast of the country.
The old Wales scrum-half Gareth Cooper is the best golfing rugby player – he used to be off one. Of the current side George North is pretty good, so is the other winger Alex Cuthbert. It’s usually the backs who have all the co-ordination and skill!