The radio and television presenter reveals why he is fanatical about golf and how sport gives you the opportunity to raise your game.
Raise Your Game: How long have you been playing golf?
Chris Evans: I've been playing golf since I was nine-years-old. For me it was something to do that actually wasn't as expensive as people thought because I didn't have any money and my family didn't particularly have any money.
1 April 1966
Radio and televsion presenter and producer
Best known for:
- BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Drivetime
- BBC Radio 1 Weekday Breakfast Show
- TFI Friday
- Don't Forget Your Toothbrush
- The Big Breakfast
I joined a golf club and I used to cycle there with my clubs and play all day, everyday, playing two or three and sometimes even four rounds on my own. It was a great place to hang out, to stay out of trouble and have great fun.
You learn about politeness, manners and you learn about a great game which you can play anywhere around the world. It gives you a chance to reflect and take your mind off everything, especially when you play with other people who understand the game and who respect it.
There's nothing I love more than arriving at a golf course and seeing young people meeting each other for a game of golf, no adults around and they're loving it. I think that's so cool.
RYG: For young people who might feel golf is boring and a sport that their dad might play, what are the transferable skills that they can pick up through golf?
CE: When I first started playing golf, I bought a Winkfield five iron from a second-hand shop from Bridge Street in Warrington. Winkfield was the brand make for Woolworths. I played with that club, with some balls on a field, for two or three years, hitting the ball back and forth before I could even think about being able to afford to go to a golf course.
When I eventually got to go through the gates of a golf course it was a whole different world to me. You're mixing with adults, you can play junior and adult competitions and you communicate with people. You also get to see the different levels of skills of different players, when they start to look at a hole, how they read a put, how they react to a good shot. Do they gloat? Are they never happy? It tells you a lot about people.
If you want to get to know a man or a lady, play a game of golf, because body language is everything. In America when they interview people for jobs, they often get them to have a round of golf with the interviewers. My cousin teaches golf and he says he can tell everything about a person's character and personality within one swing. That's how revealing golf is.
RYG: You've taken a week off work for the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales to work on BBC 5 live. So golf is obviously something you're very passionate about?
CE: Golf is the one hobby that I would still say is head and shoulders above everything else. I've got some beautiful cars, but if they went tomorrow it wouldn't bother me. If I couldn't play golf tomorrow, it would really bother me.
I have taken the week off in 2010 to work for BBC 5 live because it's a chance to get inside the ropes and to get up close to some of the greatest players in the world. It doesn't get any better than that.
RYG: What would be your advice for young people looking to follow in your footsteps?
CE: Everybody's good at something, you've just got to find out what it is. I really believe that. Think about what you enjoy doing. If you're good at it you'll enjoy it even more, then if you work at it, you'll get better at it.
Surround yourself with people who are better than you at it so you're always raising your game all the time. I went through life for a while hanging around with idiots and I became more of an idiot. Hang around with heroes and you will become more of a hero.
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