Wellbeing Champion- Rob Pestridge

Golf is good


1- How did you get introduced to golf?

I was introduced to golf from a young age by my grandad and it’s just stuck with me ever since. I can't exactly remember how old I was but it’s one of those sports that’s always been a significant part of my life. Your first round of 18 holes is one of those memories you will never forget (Beckenham Golf Course), I can still remember the clubs I had, the bright red bag and the “plus fours” my grandad was wearing.

2- What motivates you to continue playing golf?

It helps that I enjoy it, whether I am playing good or bad, but playing well motivates you to play more. I must admit, beating my mates still motivates me – even if I say I am not a competitive person, I am, I hate losing at anything, but I give a good impression of someone that doesn’t care when they do lose, I just try not to make a habit of it.

I have come to realise how much playing once a week effects my mood (even more than lack of sleep if my 4 year old keeps me up all night). It’s one of those things, since covid, that has given me something to look forward to doing on a weekly basis. Without trying to sound too cheesy, it’s like a reward for pushing myself to achieve something every week, almost like a treat for doing well at something.

3- What is your wife’s opinion on you practice golf? Has she ever participated?

She's definitely not an active participant. However, she’s very supportive of my participation. Lisa understands why it’s important for both of us to have something like this that lets us switch off from everything else in our everyday lives. I think it’s great Lisa encourages me to do it when time permits (I do wonder though if it’s just because I take the dog).

4- Golf is quite a social sport; do you find that it impacts your social wellbeing?

I never thought about it like this – but now more than ever I realise how much it does impact my social wellbeing. I mean, golf has only ever been a hobby for me. For those that know me, know I don’t take anything too seriously (although I do hate losing) and with golf, I think that helps. There aren’t that many things that force you to be outside for 4-5 hours with people you choose to be with. That release of being outside, being with your mates and not thinking about anything else, 100% has a positive impact on me.

5- Do you have any idols or someone that inspires you in golf?

My parents are my idols. I was, and still am, incredibly fortunate to have the childhood I had and the family I have around me now. In terms of golf idols, I mean my grandad – he was a bit of a legend and certainly a big inspiration for me as child. Having an Olympic boxer for a grandad was always going to be “cool”. He was a big influence on me and my brother growing up and I’m pretty certain is where my competitive nature comes from. It didn’t help that he taught my younger brother how to punch harder than me, but that’s all part of growing up. In terms of actual golfing idols – the older ones, Corey Pavin, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Vijay Singh, Freddie Couples.

6- Does being outside and in green spaces impact your mood?

Big time. Especially now where a lot of people are cooped up working from home. I'm very fortunate in the space that I have to work. I have friends and colleagues that have relocated to London or wherever it might be that don't have that space at home to call a work space. Right now, more so than ever, it’s very easy to feel disconnected. I know we have MS Teams and all the rest of it, but everyone that knows me, knows I am a bit of a social butterfly and like to talk to people. I miss that most; I miss being around people and that feeling that we are all in this together, which you don’t get working on your own.

At the moment, golf is a part of that relief. You're not stuck in a room that you've been in for, for the best part of 8-9 hours a day, whatever it may be.  

7- Do you notice a difference in yourself if you haven’t played golf for a while?

I do notice if I haven't done something for me, whether that be golf or football or going out for a bike ride. I do think I'm a bad version of myself, if I haven't done that one thing in a week that I want to do. I don't think is a selfish thing to say, it's something that everyone should try to do for themselves.

Personally, I feel it’s harder for those that have children or younger families. I have a young daughter and it's very easy to slip into the mentality of spending all your available time with them, but it’s just as important to allow yourself space to do something for you.

8- As your daughter gets older do you think you’ll encourage her to participate in sports?

I don't think she'll take much encouragement because she's very active already. Whether it be golf, football, swimming, gymnastics or ballerina lessons (or any other sport or activity), I will absolutely encourage her to get involved. I was quite sporty as a child and it gave me a great opportunity to meet lots of different people and friends that I will have for the rest of my life which I am sure she would benefit from too.

9- What advice would you give to someone wanting to start golf?

Just get involved. Don’t take it seriously, it’s too hard to be good at it straight away.

Funnily enough, a lot of guys in the office have started to get involved in golf, that’s past and present colleagues. You can hear people getting the bug, looking at equipment and all of that sort of stuff.

10- Are there any other sports you’ve wanted to pursue?

I wouldn’t say pursue, I played football since I was a kid at school and up to the age of 35 but was happy to give up 11 aside.

Golf is one of those things that I might have thought about [pursuing] when I was younger. Even then, I definitely wasn't good enough. I probably think I'm better than I actually am now. I wanted to play everything as I child. I couldn't join the cricket club because I was playing golf. So, if it was if it wasn't golf it would’ve been cricket and if it wasn’t football it would’ve been rugby.

11- Has golf enriched a quality in yourself that you use in your day to day life?

I mean, loosely. If you take golf too seriously, it will beat you. I have a good knack of not letting things get to me and can forget about the bad shots I hit (as there are a lot of them). Being able to do that is useful in recruitment. We get a lot of no’s when doing business development. We can get offers rejected etc. Maybe because I am a bit older now, I don’t feel as attached to the no’s – as long as the no’s don’t become a habit.

We thanked Rob for his time and for sitting down to chat with us about his fondness for golf. When asked if he had any parting words surrounding health, wellbeing and family life Rob had the following to say:

“Over the period where we've all been sent home, and we aren’t around each other at work, I've definitely underestimated the importance of having time to myself. I say having time for myself, I mean doing something for myself. Previously, the daily commute to the office, would take time away from what you could be doing for you and I certainly think that the couple of things that has kept me sane other than my family over the last 18 months is having that time to do something for me. In my case, one example is going to play golf once a week – (if time and weather permits). Golf is four or five hours out of your day and typically with other people you choose to be around. If there's one thing I've taken away from what's been going on in the world, it's to do something for you at least once a week. It’s been a huge release for me, and I didn't realise how important it was”