We play 18 holes with the England Golf handicapping & course rating co‑ordinator and Durham County Golf Union captain
Mike Greener is a man of many hats. England Golf’s handicapping & course rating co‑ordinator, Mike is part of the team delivering the move to the World Handicap System, which will officially take place on November 2. As well as his England Golf role, Mike is captain of the Durham County Golf Union and part of the county executive. When he isn’t working on golf, you’ll probably find him at Rockliffe Hall – where he holds a handicap of three. Here’s more from our round with Mike…
1 How much golf do you get to play?
Not as much as I would like! I play every weekend as long as there isn’t snow on the ground and try to play or practise a couple of times through the week.
2 How did you get into golf?
My father, uncle and grandfather got me into playing golf when I was 11. I started out at a nine-hole course in Billingham called Greenwood Road, which isn’t there anymore, then joined Billingham Golf Club and was there for a long time. I’ve moved around a little bit since then but I’m now settled at Rockliffe Hall.
3 Which is your favourite course in the North East?
We’re fortunate to have so many great courses in the North East, so it’s hard to choose just one. My favourite right now is Rockliffe Hall – it’s my home club and I really enjoy the challenges the course presents.
4 And further afield?
There are lots of those too! I love to play Goswick in Northumberland and Carnoustie is a real favourite for links golf. I also really enjoy visiting Ganton in Yorkshire as well. I’m also very lucky to be able to play a fair bit of golf at Woodhall Spa whenever I’m down at England Golf HQ, which is always a fantastic experience.
5 What’s your best score ever?
I’ve shot 66 at Rockliffe. It was the only time I’ve felt anything like a professional golfer.
6 Which is your favourite golfing memory?
In 2018 I was invited to the R&A clubhouse overlooking the Old Course at St Andrews. It was amazing to see the original Claret Jug and take in all the history of the R&A. If you ever get the chance to go inside, definitely take it up.
7 What about embarrassing moments on the course?
I think I’ve been very lucky as I can’t remember anything too embarrassing. I’ve missed plenty of short putts while trying to knock them in with the back of the putter, but I think everyone has done that.
8 Do you have any superstitions?
If I find a golf ball, I never use it in a competition round. If a ball has been lost, it’s meant to be lost so I only ever practise with balls I find.
9 What are your strengths on the course?
I can get the golf ball around the course most of the time. I do have good rounds and bad rounds, but generally I can figure out a way around the course.
10 And your weaknesses?
I don’t hit it far enough. I’m pretty straight, but I’m definitely not long.
11 Which is your favourite club in the bag?
My Cleveland putter. It’s not too fancy, but I enjoy the challenge of putting and really like that club.
12 Who is your best golfing friend?
I couldn’t pick just one. I’ve got a great group of regular playing partners, both personally and professionally, who I always enjoy playing with.
13 If you weren’t working for England Golf, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be doing something with fast cars, possibly working for a rally team. That said, I’ve had a varied and interesting career and I now get to be part of the game I love so I wouldn’t change it.
14 Who is your favourite tour player?
Nobody has been able to match the golf shots Tiger Woods has hit and he’s still my favourite player to watch. I also have a lot of respect for those starting out on their professional careers, and the sacrifices they make to try and make it up the golf ladder.
15 Which event do you enjoy attending the most?
It has to be The Open. I always enjoy attending the event, the atmosphere is brilliant, and I really enjoy seeing the best players in the world in action.
16 Who do you admire?
The volunteers in golf are amazing. Without them, club golf and golf events wouldn’t exist. People who give up their time to support the game do brilliant work at every level.
17 Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
I’d pick Seve Ballesteros because his flamboyant style really inspired me as a young golfer. Then I’d go for Mo Norman and Ben Hogan for their reputations as the best ball strikers ever.
18 If you could have one mulligan, when would you have used it?
I wouldn’t use it. I don’t have any regrets and always try to learn from what’s gone on in the past, on and off the golf course.