Northumberland county captain David Gilroy shares his passion for golf, his favourite places to play and his best on-course memories
David Gilroy, Northumberland county captain since 2015, is at the heart of golf in the county. A member of Bamburgh and Longhirst, you’ll find David at events across the county throughout the season as well as leading the Northumberland team in matches against the rest of the Northern Counties. A four-handicapper with ambitions to get lower still, we caught up with David just along the road from his home in Longhirst.
1 With a packed schedule throughout the summer how do you fit golf in?
It’s pretty busy on the weekends with events, matches and coaching sessions but I get to pop out onto the course at Longhirst most evenings for a few holes or a bit of practice. I’m almost back down to a three handicap and I’d like to get a bit lower still.
2 How did you get into golf?
My dad had 14 siblings and he played golf with four of his brothers at Beamish so I was always there with them from the age of 11. I’ve played golf pretty much since then, apart from a spell when I had a young family and was travelling a lot with work. I live right on the course at Longhirst and have a caravan at Bamburgh so I get plenty of opportunities to play.
3 Which is your favourite course in the North East?
Dunstanburgh. I was a member there for five years and I absolutely love the place. It’s a spectacular landscape with a brilliant golf course. My second choice is Longhirst, which I’m really proud to be a member of.
4 And further afield?
I adore Turnberry. I’ve played it a dozen or so times and I think it’s an amazing place to play golf. The setting is fantastic and despite the fact I’ve never had a good score there, I love it.
5 What’s your best ever round?
I’ve shot 64 at Prudhoe, though it was a few years ago now. I’ve also shot 10 under-par there in a league match.
6 Which is your favourite golfing memory?
Leading the team in the Men’s County Championship at Trevose last year, having won the Big Six at Seascale, was an incredible experience. I’d love to do it again knowing what we know from 2017. It was just a brilliant week.
7 What about embarrassing moments?
I played in America against a 12-year-old lad when I was still a decent hand playing off a one handicap and got thumped 7&6. It turned out to be Sam Horsefield [now a member of the European Tour] and he was already off +3 at the age of 12.
8 Do you have any superstitions?
None really. I’ve seen all sorts over the years but haven’t picked any of them up.
9 What are your strengths on the course?
I’ve always been able to drive the ball well, being a well-built lad helps of course.
10 And your weaknesses?
I struggle from 50 yards and in. My short game has always been weak and let me down.
11 Which is your favourite club?
12 Who is your best golfing friend?
Neil Graham, who is a member of Longhirst now. We play a lot of golf together and have been friends for a long time. I’ve got a lot of friends at clubs all over the county so I’m never too far from someone I know.
13 Do you play any other sports. Do they help your golf?
I’ve always been a golfer. I played a little bit of football growing up but golf is the only one which has stuck all the way through.
14 Who is your favourite tour player?
I’ve always admired Paul Lawrie. The way he swings it is unbelievable and I think he’s done incredible things throughout his career. I’m also inspired by the work he’s done with his academy up in Aberdeen and the positive impact he’s having on young players.
15 Which event do you enjoy watching/attending the most?
I try and get to The Open every year, though I didn’t make it to Carnoustie. The atmosphere is just incredible. I always enjoy The Masters on TV every April and I’ve tried to get there a few times. That’s high up on my bucket list now and I’ll get there with my wife in the next few years.
16 Which sportsperson do you admire?
My hero has always been Ian Botham. He was a swashbuckling star in his prime and he was a larger than life character that I’m sure has inspired a lot of people. On the management side of things, I’ve always admired Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alex Ferguson.
17 Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
I’d like to meet Barack Obama so he’d be on my team. I think it would be pretty interesting to see him go up against Donald Trump on the golf course, and we’d be able to see if Trump is as good as he says he is. Last I’d take Sir Alex Ferguson.
18 Another win in the Big Six or a scratch handicap, which would you take?
I’d love to win the Big Six again and go back to the national finals. I loved the experience at Trevose and I think we’d be a lot better prepared for the event if we made it back there.