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Drummond Golf oct 2020
Steph Gilmore – Surf & Turf


Stephanie Gilmore is an eight-time world surfing champion. Read that again. Eight times a world champ! Impressive right. Steph’s highly commendable list of pro surfing achievements and her laid-back personality serve as inspiration to athletes everywhere.

Steph has won numerous major surf events and gained a legion of fans all over the globe for her progressive and stylish surfing.

She’s been inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the year award. It’s unanimous, that Steph’s surfing career has made her an excellent ambassador for women’s sports across the board (pun intended).

Hailing from Tweed Heads, Steph made Snapper Rocks (just over the NSW – QLD border) her local surf break from a young age. It’s well known that Steph shows great talent away from the big blue when she steps on the green too, which makes us wonder what could have been if she picked up a different stick and made a career with it.  

At this years Margaret River Women’s surf event, Steph could be found at the local golf course on comp lay days (which means days of flat swell for the uninitiated).

When she’s not chasing waves, you’ll see Steph swinging big on the golf course. Naturally this fact made us investigate why she is drawn to the fairway.

 

WG: What do you like most about golf?

 SG: It's a great way to spend time when the surf is flat, haha but I actually enjoy the moment when I'm about to hit and it's like a process of elimination for me, settling my thoughts, just relaxing into a nice swing...it's a great mental exercise. I also just love being on the course laughing with my friends and being outside.

WG: Do you have your own clubs? If so, what’s in your bag?

SG: I don't have my own set right now, but I am about to get sorted with clubs from Callaway. I’m pretty excited about that.

WG. Where and when did you first have a hit?

SG: I had my first hit with my Aunt and sister around 20 years ago, on the Gold Coast somewhere. It was entertaining, that's for sure.

WG. It seems many surfers enjoy a round of golf. What do you think the link between the two sports is? Surely Kelly Slater was the main driver (pardon the pun) in generating interest in our game. 

SG: Yes, Kelly inspired a lot of the surfers to get into it and I see so many sporting legends from all over are mad about golf too. I think we are born competitive, and golf is the ultimate way to compete with yourself and it's a tough game so maybe that's why we like it. Also, as surfers, we are competing and travel to the most beautiful destinations, and usually right beside these great waves, are great golf courses, so when the ocean is flat, we golf!
 

WG: Where is the most beautiful golf course you have played?

SG: We used to have an event at Honolua Bay on Maui and so in between surfing and the event, we would get to play a few rounds at Kapalua. The Plantation Course looks out over Molokai and Honolua Bay which is one of the best waves in the world so it's incredibly beautiful. I also really like St Francis Links in Cape St Francis South Africa!  

WG: You’re mates with Ash Barty. Do you ever play golf together? Reckon she might make a move to a pro golf career now that she has retired from tennis?

SG: I am yet to play a round with Ash, but one day for sure! She is an incredible athlete and an even better human. I'm not sure of her plans next but she could do anything, and golf is one of them. I do know she's been spending a lot of time on the course now that she's freed up from tennis.

WG: Do any of the other surfer girls on tour play golf?  

SG: Not too many of the girls play, I know Lakey Peterson plays but I think the next generation of young girls coming through really likes to golf. Sierra Kerr is a young talented surfer and skater, and she is an awesome golfer too. 
 

WG. What’s your most memorable moment playing golf? 

SG: I almost got a hole-in-one on a par 3 at the St Francis links course in 2018, I think that's what got me hooked. We were in South Africa for a surfing event, just up the road from Cape St Francis at a wave called Jeffreys Bay and the waves were small for a few days so I played a lot of golf with my coach and the boys who go by the name 'Golf Geeks' super fun week which then I ended up going on to win the event so I always tie that win back to my one great birdie on that round haha.

Steph's local - the Coolangatta Tweed Heads Golf ClubSteph's local - the Coolangatta Tweed Heads Golf Club

WG. It’s great that women’s golf has been getting more media coverage and is seeing an increase in prize money. Surfing was the first sport to offer equal prize purses for male and female competitors! Does competing for the same cash as the blokes change the way you mentally approached surf events? 

SG: I've never been driven by prize money to do well in an event, and I’m still not. In saying that, I am extremely proud to be part of a sport that is willing to break down those old barriers and inequalities and allow women the financial opportunities and respect they deserve, equal prize money for men and women should be normal and it's great to see surfing leading the change here.

WG. Who are your favourite pro golfers to watch? 

SG: Lydia Ko and Cameron Smith.

WG: What do you think of golf fashion? Do you dress the part when on the course?  

SG: It's fun to really look the part when playing golf, obviously sun protection and comfort are most important, but I do love some extra effort on the outfit!

GW: Your nickname ‘Happy Gilmore’ stuck pretty good. Do you ever lose your cool on the course (as the movie character often did) or are you mostly chill? 

SG: I'm pretty relaxed, and not one to swing clubs around Adam Sandler style but maybe next time I play I should get more into character on the course... until they kick me out.

Read all about Steph's history making 8th world surfing title win here.

Words: Roxanne Williams

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