Golf often attracts star power from different walks of life, and so it comes as no surprise that celebrities and other sportspersons take to the golf course every now and then – be it for a few rounds, or to see a fellow star in action. Case in point: Tennis great Rafael Nadal was in the Bahamas to see Tiger Woods make his comeback at the Hero World Challenge early in December.
Here are four eminent personalities that have professed their passion for golf, along with some little-known facts.
Pop star Justin Timberlake believes the golf course is his “refuge” and started playing at 12. In 2007, he bought the very same golf course on which he learned to play the sport – Big Creek Golf Course (Memphis) – and renamed it ‘Mirimichi’ (a Native American word meaning ‘place of happy retreat’).
Timberlake, a member at Liberty National Golf Club (New Jersey) and Lakeside Golf Club (Los Angeles), has received a golf lesson from the inimitable Butch Harmon himself (to the uninitiated, Harmon is considered as the best golf instructor in the world and Tiger Woods is among his protégés) and has hosted his own PGA Tour event from 2008 to 2012. Intriguingly, the singer almost never listens to music on the course. Reason: the one time he did, with an iPod and earphones on, he started swinging to the beat and was hitting all over the place!
Action hero Samuel L. Jackson is so smitten by the sport that he has a clause in his film contracts which gives him time off to play golf!
Not only does the 68-year-old play golf as a hobby, he also blends his status to raise funds for charity. Jackson has teed off alongside peers such as Clint Eastwood and Don Cheadle, as well as saxophonist Kenny G - the man he rates the best amateur golfer he has played against - but his favourite round was with 14-time major winner Tiger Woods at St. Andrews, Scotland.
Hollywood superstar Morgan Freeman – who mentored Jackson early in his film career – earned “a dollar or two” as a caddy during his teenage years.
The Academy Award and Golden Globe winner’s favourite moment on a golf course was when Vijay Singh (Indo-Fijian golfer and three-time Major championship winner) joined him over a few holes ad imparted swing lessons.
Freeman, who was featured by Golf Digest in 2012 in their series “Golfers Who Give Back”, is so obsessed with the sport that even a horrendous car accident (2008) - which left him with a paralyzed left hand - hasn’t stopped him from swinging with his good right hand. In the octogenarian’s own words, he can still hit about 240 or 260 yards! How’s that for inspiration?
According to a Rolling Stone profile, music icon Justin Bieber’s career was a result of the youngster not having enough money for golf!
As part of his “soul searching” mission, Bieber has come to believe golf will help him understand himself and enhance the process of his self-betterment. Given the serenity that envelops pristine golf courses, he may be right!
Watch this page for more on celebrities and athletes who love golf!