My Life in Golf

Liver­pool leg­end Rob­bie Fowler on tak­ing up golf in­stead of gam­bling, be­ing called a ban­dit and why the game builds char­ac­ter

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Liver­pool leg­end Rob­bie Fowler.

Harry Kane may be the man of the mo­ment, but Liver­pool leg­end Rob­bie Fowler is ar­guably the best, most lethal nat­u­ral fin­isher Eng­land has pro­duced since the heady days of Jimmy Greaves.

Fowler – still known as God at An­field – had an un­canny knack of be­ing in the right place at the right time. He scored 183 goals for his beloved Liver­pool, in­clud­ing 128 in the Premier League, putting him sixth in the all-time list. Once, in 1994 against Arse­nal, he net­ted a hat-trick in less than five min­utes!

He would surely have banged in even more but for a knee in­jury, and nowa­days he spends his time in an am­bas­sado­rial role at Liver­pool “trav­el­ling all over the world meet­ing fans, spon­sors and part­ners.”

But is he as deadly on the greens as he was in front of goal?

I love the game and love to play, but do­ing what I do now trav­el­ling with Liver­pool and with four kids, that’s not al­ways pos­si­ble. I live in Hoy­lake a few min­utes from Royal Liver­pool and I’m try­ing to be­come a mem­ber there. I know I’m a lit­tle bit bi­ased, but it’s a great course, with lots of his­tory and tra­di­tion, and I love the am­bi­ence and feel of the place. We’re spoilt for choice in our neck of the woods, with the best of sea­side and in­land courses in­clud­ing Royal Birk­dale and De­lamere For­est.

I’m of­fi­cially a 12-hand­i­cap­per at Car­den Park, Cheshire. I have good days and bad days, hence there are times when I get called a ban­dit. I know I could be more con­sis­tent if I played more of­ten – it’s like any­thing, the more you play the bet­ter you get. I’ve been play­ing on and off for 20 years. I didn’t start un­til I was 20 or 21. I came from an area where the play­ers went down the pub or the book­ies. It was a case of hav­ing time off and not want­ing to get into those habits, so I found the golf course. It’s great to get away from the pres­sures – it’s prob­a­bly the most re­lax­ing thing you can do as a foot­baller as it’s so dif­fer­ent from our day job. You just have to look at the num­ber of foot­ballers, cur­rent and past, who are play­ing the game. Whether you’re a foot­baller or a brick­layer, it’s the same. Try­ing to hit a good shot is the only thing on your mind. You give your­self four or maybe five hours of to­tal con­cen­tra­tion. That’s what I love.

I’m sur­prised we don’t see more team events in golf. I love the Ry­der Cup and Pres­i­dents Cup be­cause, un­usu­ally, you’ve got that team ethic so you’ve got play­ers look­ing af­ter their team­mates. The fans love it as well – it gives ev­ery­one, play­ers and fans, a bit of to­geth­er­ness. I think it gives you a bit more drive and am­bi­tion when you’re part of a team.

There are some sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the two sports and pres­sure is one of them. Any foot­baller play­ing in a big pro-am will tell you that the nerves they get do­ing that is to­tally dif­fer­ent from what they’d get in front of a packed foot­ball sta­dium. It’s hard to fathom out how that should hap­pen. I’ve played in a few pro-ams, in­clud­ing the BMW at Went­worth, and early on it was just a job to get my ball on the tee!

It can be a very frus­trat­ing game, but that’s why we play. For us am­a­teurs, no two rounds are the same so there’s al­ways that am­bi­tion of bet­ter­ing your­self the next time you get out. You hit a good shot and you can’t wait un­til you do that again; you al­ways want to beat your last round. And there’s al­ways the com­pet­i­tive edge; the de­sire to beat the op­po­si­tion. It’s a sport that builds char­ac­ter; one in which you chal­lenge your­self all the time.

I’ve had a bout of the shanks and it’s a night­mare… you just want to rip your clubs apart! Hav­ing said that, I’m on my best be­hav­iour when I’m on the course. I to­tally un­der­stand the rules and the eti­quette – that part of the game is ab­so­lutely bril­liant. I’ve been to a few Opens when they’ve been at Hoy­lake and the ast­mo­sphere and be­hav­iour pro­vides such a feel-good fac­tor.

There are some very good golf­ing foot­ballers, but they all seem to be Scot­tish! Gary Gille­spie and Alan Hansen are both very good as are Sir Kenny Dal­glish and Gary Mcal­lis­ter. I play with Steve Hark­ness and Ja­son Mca­teer, both for­mer Liver­pool play­ers. Ja­son, es­pe­cially, is a very good golfer. A com­pany ar­ranges golf days for for­mer Liver­pool play­ers whether it be among our­selves or against other clubs – we’ve re­cently played Man Utd and Ever­ton – with char­i­ties usu­ally ben­e­fit­ing. We lost against United, so we’ve got to get our own back for that one!

My best ex­pe­ri­ence so far came at Formby, where I was one-un­der for the back nine. I won’t tell you what I shot for the front nine! Am­bi­tions? It’s the old foot­balling men­tal­ity, I just want to get bet­ter. I’m a con­fi­dent lad and I’m con­fi­dent I can im­prove, and win­ning last sum­mer’s fi­nal Celeb-am Bri­tish Par 3 Cham­pi­onship was a boost.

I haven’t had a hole-in-one yet. I missed out by inches a cou­ple of times. It drives me mad when I see other play­ers get­ting them. My driv­ing is pretty strong and, as men­tioned be­fore, if you’re play­ing a lot, you im­prove your touch es­pe­cially around the green.

Who’s the best foot­baller I’ve played with? I’ve played with many, many great play­ers. Paul Gas­coigne was fan­tas­tic and I could sit here all day and talk about Liver­pool play­ers – John Barnes, Ian Rush, Jan Molby, Ron­nie Whe­lan and Steven Ger­rard, who was un­be­liev­able. He’d prob­a­bly be my num­ber two. But the best I’ve played with is Steve Mcmana­man.

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