A round with… Colin Pybus

The Lookers Renault franchise director tells Dean Bailey about his golf, love of travelling and why he would jump at the chance of a scratch handicap

Though short, Colin Pybus’ golfing career has been eventful. The Lookers Renault franchise director, who also oversees Nissan, Hyundai operations in the UK for the national motor retailer, has been in the motor industry for more than 25 years. Having picked up the game four years ago to take advantage of the golf day invites he had been receiving for years, Colin counts some of the UK and Europe’s finest courses among his favourites – here’s more…

How do you fit golf in?
Between travelling with work and spending time with my partner Kaman, I haven’t got as much time for golf as I’d like. I try and play at least once a fortnight – normally an early start on a Saturday morning at George Washington Golf Club – which is why my handicap is still stuck at 22. I could play every week through the summer with work invites but the day job has scuppered my golfing ambitions so far.

How did you get into golf?
I picked it up four years ago having missed out on far too many chances to play golf through work over the years. I had one lesson, headed out from there and haven’t looked back since. I like that the game is all about improving and beating the course rather than trying to beat the people you’re playing with – it’s got a great social side to it.

Which is your favourite place to play in the North East?
I would have to pick Close House. The two golf courses are superb and the hospitality is some of the best I’ve experienced anywhere.

And further afield?
I really enjoy the annual Lookers golf society trip to La Cala in Spain. The weather is often a bit better than the North East and the views across the golf course are stunning. The company for the week is fantastic as well with 16 guys who get on really well.

What’s your best ever round?
I’ve shot 90 twice – at George Washington earlier this season and at Sharpley Golf Club a couple of years ago. I played the back nine at Sharpley in 40 and thought I was going to turn pro as I came off the course. The following week I shot 110 and was brought back down to earth.

Which is your favourite golfing memory?
I won the longest drive as part of a corporate day on the Queen’s Course at Gleneagles, in a field which included a pro! I felt like Happy Gilmore when I hit it – one of the best shots I’ve ever hit.

What about embarrassing moments?
How long have we got? Most of them are linked to the third hole at Rudding Park which features a tee shot over water. As long as nobody is watching I’m fine but if anyone, including dog walkers and green staff, is watching I dunk it in the lake.

Do you have any superstitions?
Not so much a superstition but I have an odd pre-shot routine with the driver which has been described as ‘stamping up the worms’.

What are your strengths on the course?
I’m a reasonable driver of the golf ball and can get it out there quite consistently on a good day – though I do have the odd wayward one in me.

10  And your weaknesses?
I’m rubbish in bunkers and I’m in desperate need of a lesson – or a bucket and spade.

11  Which sportsperson do you admire?
It’s a tough one but I admire the way Usain Bolt has reached the pinnacle of his sport while enjoying himself and coming across a really genuine, fun guy.

12  Which is your favourite club?
My driver – I like getting on the tee and getting the ball out there.

13  Who is your best golfing friend?
I would have to say each member of the Lookers golf society; we’ve had some fantastic trips and away days in the last few years and I can’t wait for our next one. It’s a mix of roles and backgrounds and we gel really well together.

14  Do you play any other sports?
I used to have a table tennis table in my office and remain unbeaten within the Lookers group.

15  Who is your favourite tour player?
I really like watching Rory McIlroy; he’s such a creative player and takes on a lot of shots which other players don’t take on. He’s also honest in his interviews, which I like to see in a sportsman.

16  Which event do you enjoy watching the most?
The Masters from Augusta National every April – I’d love to go over and watch it one day having grown up watching it on the TV.

17  Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
I’d play alongside Winston Churchill as he’s such an inspiring leader with some of the most iconic quotes in history; George Best so I could hear his stories from on and off the football pitch; and Seve Ballesteros so he could give me some tips in the bunkers.

18  If I could offer you a trip around the world or a scratch handicap, which would you take?
Having done a lot of travelling, I’d have to pick the scratch handicap. I can achieve a lot of things on my bucket list but I feel like a scratch handicap may be beyond me without a little help!