A round with… Jonathan Edwards

The world record-holding triple jumper on his love of links golf, his favourite golfing memories, and who makes it into his dream fourball

On August 7 1995, Jonathan Edwards set the world record for the triple jump at 18.16m in the World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. He broke that record some 15 minutes later – jumping 18.29m to set a record which has stood for more than 26 years. Born in London, today he lives in the North East and plays much of his golf at The Northumberland Golf Club while maintaining a connection with athletics through broadcasting. We caught up to learn more about his passion for the game, where he likes to play, and more…

How much golf do you get to play?
Now I’m semi-retired, I cycle a lot and play golf up to four times per week in the summer. I play off a handicap of three and I’m a member of The Northumberland, Silloth, and Crail in Scotland.

How did you get into golf?
I played a bit when I was younger but really started properly after my athletics career came to an end. When I retired in 2003 there were two things I wanted to do – join a golf club for the first time and learn to ski. I’ve loved doing both since.

Which is your favourite course in the North East?
I love playing links golf and the North East is blessed with phenomenal golf courses by the sea. I’d find it hard to pick one but if you twist my arm, I’ll say Goswick.

And further afield?
I love travelling across to Silloth in Cumbria – the club is fantastic and the views are incredible. If I only played one course for the rest of my life and it was Silloth, I’d have no complaints.

What’s your best score?
My lowest competition round from the white tees is a 75 at Northumberland, though I have shot a one under-par round of 69 on the winter course.

Which is your favourite golfing memory?
Making it to the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links alongside Ken Ferrie in 2005 was incredible. We played in the final group, Ken unfortunately lost out to Colin Montgomerie, but getting to be part of that event is unquestionably the golfing highlight of my life.

What about embarrassing moments on the course?
I recently played The Old Course at St Andrews with Peter Dawson [former secretary of The R&A] and topped it off the first tee. In my defence, the weather was awful, but it was still embarrassing.

Do you have any golfing superstitions?
No superstitions, though maybe some would help me reduce my handicap.

What are your strengths on the course?
My chipping and putting are good – they tend to get me out of trouble.

And your weaknesses?
I miss a lot of greens with my irons, which is why I rely on a good short game. I’m also embarrassed to admit my bunker play isn’t great – which is rather ironic given the amount of time I used to spend in the sand.

Which is your favourite club in the bag?
I have a passion for buying exotic putters on eBay, so it should probably be a putter. I’ve got a very simple Odyssey in the bag at the moment, which I’m enjoying using.

Who is your best golfing friend?
Golf is a fantastic way to meet people and build friendships. Being a member of three clubs, I’m very lucky to have a big group of friends who I play golf with regularly so I couldn’t pick out just one person.

If you hadn’t become a professional athlete, what would you have done?
I have absolutely no idea! I wish I could have been a golfer and not had to retire from professional sport so early in my life.

Who is your favourite tour player?
I’m a big fan of Jordan Spieth – I really enjoy his passion for the game.

Which golf events do you  enjoy most?
I always enjoy watching The Masters, there’s something very special about seeing Augusta National on the TV every April.

Who do you admire?
I had a great time as part of the organising committee for the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and got to work with some incredibly talented people. My career was all about perfecting one skill, but to see what the people in charge of organising the games could manage and be in control of across such a broad range of areas was truly inspiring.

Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
I’d have to pick three top golfers, so I’ll go for Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

If you could have one mulligan, when would you have used it?
I don’t believe in regretting a decision or moment in my life after the fact, so I wouldn’t take a mulligan.