Introducing the world of golf through the eyes of The Resident’s sports writer, Calum McGregor
Golf has always been the sport that has entertained me since my childhood. I remember having lessons from Gary Player when I was no taller than a three wood. I walked the fairway with my one of my heroes Nick Faldo and his caddie Fanny. I grew up on Westlake Golf course in South Africa where my father was on the committee and the local caddies were my day-care during school holidays. When I finished practising I would sit in the members lounge and read every golf magazine inside and out. I have always loved golf but recently I have become emotionally involved in Spanish golf.
During the last few years of my life, while living here in the sun soaked Costa del Sol, I have written two books about my love of golf. Those books opened doors and gave me the opportunity to work as a commentator on a professional golf tour – the only professional golf tour in Spain at the time.
Watching the young locals and the foreign professionals who have come to Spain to practice and compete over the last couple of seasons I got to see the moments of glory that went unseen by the rest of the world. I witnessed moments like the professional debut of Javier Ballesteros, the son of my all-time golfing hero. I was there to see a Local amateur golfer Mario Galiano from La Cañada Golf Club have back to back victories on The Gecko Tour before playing at The Spanish Open. Jordi Garcia Del Moral from Estepona won the Gecko Tour Order of Merit season 2014/15. He caddied for his good friend Sergio Garcia at The Spanish Open before competing himself at The Open de Madrid. I was fortunate enough to be at the Madrid Open, caddying for my good friend Anton Karlsson and although we finished in 22nd position it was a great victory for another friend of mine Duncan Stewart who a few weeks earlier was practising at La Reserva G C.
I have even watched as a young English golfer (who won his first professional event at Doña Julia GC four years ago) go on to become the first golfer who will journey into space, hence his newly christened nickname “Spaceman Sullivan”.
Needless to say I have become friends with many of the professionals that are considered locals in our region of Spain.
Over the last few years I have seen the heartache that some of the players have had to endure and the others that have climbed the ranks. As a sign of support I follow the scores from every tour – I send messages of congratulations after a good round played or alternatively messages of commiseration for cuts missed to any of the golfers who live or practice on the Costa del Sol.
When one of my players wins the Spanish Professionals Open tournament it is as big and as important news to me as who won the last major. Caddying for one of my players is more exhilarating and exciting for me than walking the fairways with Sergio Garcia and Marten Kaymer at the Spanish Open in Valderrama GC.
Sporting successes mean so much more when you have an emotional involvement. When one of your friends or one of the people that live in our area does well on the international stage I think that is bigger news than if Rory Mclroy wins a tournament. Having said that, Rory’s father actually frequents our area and drinks in Duquesa port.
What I am going to do for the people reading this section is what I have been doing for the last few years. I will try and introduce the readers to all the local pros that train and practice at your local golf courses and I hope that you will also grow an emotional bond to the local sportsmen that are struggling and fighting to make it in the world of golf.
Like a Gecko on the wall I watch my friends. I will stand back from the cruel roundabout of professional golf and witness her torturous ways. Not only will I write about the highs of international golf but I will also try and highlight what I think and hopefully our local residents and readers will think are great achievements.
Welcome to the first edition of The Gecko on The Clubhouse Wall. I look forward to all of us getting to know each other.