The Back Nine with Greg Sheard
In the second instalment of our Back Nine series with South Africa’s top mid-amateur golfers, we talk to South Africa’s number two ranked mid-amateur, Greg Sheard.
The 39-year-old De Zalze golfer busted into the top five of the mid-amateur rankings when he claimed the Volvo South Africa Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship in May. Sheard defeated Western Province stable mate Cameron Johnston with a four stroke victory at Stellenbosch Golf Club in what he described as “the best moment of his career.”
Sheard has since bolstered his ranking with a second place finish at the Eastern Province Mid-Amateur in June, a tie for seventh at the North West Mid-Amateur Stroke Play in July and his second victory this season at the Pro Shop / Volvo KZN Mid-Amateur Open in August.
We caught up with Sheard and learned more about his love for the game, radical changes and what he still hopes to achieve this season, and in life.
Born: Cape Town
Date of Birth: 1st November 1973
Residence: De Zalze, Stellenbosch
Family: Wife Dee, son Kevin (7) and daughter Jade (5)
Golf Club: De Zalze Golf Club
Q: Tell us where you got your start in golf and list some of the highlights of your golfing career.
GS: I started the playing when I attended Merchiston, a junior school in Pietermaritzburg. They used to take about 20 of us to Martizburg Golf Club every Friday to play nine holes. I played provincial golf for KZN in 1996, and made the South African Universities team in 1997. I then played for WP in the winning team at the 2004 IPT at Mowbray. The best moment of my life was when I received my Masters degree from the University of Cape Town. The win at the SA Mid-Amateur came a very close second.
Q: What still drives your competitive juices?
GS: As a Scorpio, I am extremely passionate in everything I do. I think this spills over to being competitive on the golf course.
Q: You made some radical changes to your life recently and one of the consequences was walking away with the SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play title. Talk to us about the why, what and how. GS: That right. I decided earlier this year to take a break from giving work 110% and gave myself a sabbatical for a few months. I have my wife, Dee, to thank for this as she supported the idea that I make some radical changes. I planned a four week preparation programme before the SA Mid Am event, and managed to lead the tournament for four days. What made the victory even sweeter, was that I had my Dad and best friend on my bag for all 72 holes. But the break also helped clear my mind and has given me a huge amount of renewed energy to compete again.
Q: Have you ever played professional golf or did you consider it?
GS: I considered turning pro after school and I played the national amateur events for a year and a half, but then decided to rather do my articles at Deloitte instead.
Q: You’re still some years away, but would you consider playing the senior Tour?
Q: Describe yourself as a golfer.
GS: I have learnt to be a lot more patient on the course after spending many years getting frustrated with myself and the game. I can become a very intense and focused when in contention or playing match play.
Q: How do you finance your “hobby”?
GS: Until recently I was General Manager of a large textile firm in Cape Town.
Q: Who are the pros you most admire and why?
GS: Seve Ballesteros – for his passion for the game.
Q: Do you work with a coach or have you worked with a coach in the past?
GS: I haven’t and tend to work things out for myself.
Q: What is the one tournament you would most like to win and why?
GS: I really want us (Western Province) to win the Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial at Durban Country Club this year.
Q: If you could change one rule of golf, what would it be and why?
GS: The penalty for a ball moving at address, because I’d say 99% of the time it is unintentional.
Q: Have you competed in international mid-amateur events? If so, tell us more about the experience. Would you like to see more international competition for the SA mid-amateurs?
GS: I haven’t, as yet, and it is one of my dreams. It would be great if SAGA could arrange an international competition against other countries in the future like they do at Open amateur level.
Q: What are your five most favourite golf courses and what are your five dream courses to play?
GS: My favourite courses are Southbroom, Wild Coast, De Zalze, DCC and Humewood.
My five dream courses are St Andrews, Augusta, Pebble Beach, Wentworth and Ballybunion.
Q: Name three people that you would you most like to play a round of golf with?
GS: My dad Alan, my son Kevin and Seve Ballesteros in his heyday.
GREG SHEARD UNPLUGGED
My favourite things to do are travel, safari, photography and eating.
I play with Mizuno and Titleist clubs and the oldest club in my bag is my four-year-old Scotty putter.
One day I want to take my family on a road trip from Vancouver to Anchorage Alaska, a 3,500 km trip through the Canadian and Alaskan wilderness.
I believe there are three kinds of people in life – those that make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened.
If I didn’t play golf, I would probably be impossible to live with.