Our team caught up with the Chief Executive of the London Golf Club, Stephen Follett. Find out how Stephen got into the game of golf, where he sees golf in the next 10 years as well as his favourite courses to play.
To start, how did you first get into golf?
I believe I started in golf through my dad. If I can remember he was a single figure golfer and introduced me to the game.
Started with cut down clubs at the local driving range and from there joined the junior section of the club where he played, got my handicap and never really looked back from there.
The amazing coincidence is that I’m still in contact with the two people who were instrumental for me to start in the game: John Mulgrew who was the PGA Professional at the Normandy Driving Range and Phil Helsby who gave me my first handicap and is part of the management team at The Dutch, in Holland.
What makes the London Golf Club one of the best courses near London?
When construction started in the late 1980’s it was the largest golf course project in Europe, headed by the Jack Nicklaus Design team. It was definitely ahead of its time and with a total cost of £40 million, (nothing was left to chance) and even today it still stands alone as one of the best purpose-built golf venues in the UK. The two courses, The International and The Heritage make up for a great experience of golf.
By having a Joint-Venture with the European Tour and being the first Destination of the European Tour Properties network, also recognises the venue as one of the best in the UK and in Europe.
How do you see the golf industry evolve in the next 10 years?
Will Tiger have an impact on his latest return, will he still be relevant in the next 10 years.
Will we see the rise of another dominant player or will things continue as per the last few years with different players sharing the Majors and WGC events.
Will golf look to learn from other sports in how to improve participation and also coverage of its major events. Will golf fully embrace technology in order to attract new younger golfers that are so occupied by social media etc.
Will we see the development of an official world golf tour with the top players only playing in these events for huge prize funds.
How far will club and ball technology see the pros hit the ball or will some restriction come into force.
Will what the tour players wear be more important than what they play (equipment)
Your 3 favourite golf courses in the world?
If you could only play one course for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
I absolutely love the location and the sun always seems to shine when I have had the chance to play there. I also like the simplicity of the operation: the clubhouse may be small but it is brilliantly designed and it fits the venue so well. I can’t think of a bad hole on the course and particularly love the last 8 holes. Always seem to play it well and have been lucky to play the course with some great friends, so good memories always spring to mind when it comes to Kingsbarns.
Your favourite golf destination and why?
It must be Florida. Everything there is just so easy when it comes to golf.
Great courses in superb condition all year-round, the weather is always good and the service you receive both on and off the course is fantastic.
Once golf is finished, there is plenty to see in the area including the amazing theme parks.
Your favourite pro on tour and why?
I love watching Adam Scott. With a swing like that you wonder why he hasn’t won more consistently and dominated in the Majors.