A round with… Paul Liversidge

The North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s chief operating officer shares his passion for the game, his favourite courses and his best golfing memories

Starting his career as an apprentice motor mechanic at the age of 16, Paul Liversidge didn’t plan on following his father into the ambulance service. A chance job offer as a patient transport driver has led to a career spanning 36 years in roles across the North East. In 2017 he was awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for distinguished service and today he handles operations stretching across the North of England from his office on the banks of the Tyne. Away from work, he loves nothing more than heading to the golf course, here’s more…

1 How much golf do you manage to fit in?
I play most weekends as a member of Backworth Golf Club and as part of a society playing out of the local CIU club. I’ve improved a lot since joining a club for the first time six years ago, getting my handicap to 11, and I want to get that down to single figures next year.

2 How did you get into golf?
I played a little bit when I was younger but nothing serious before shift work and football got in the way. I’ve been part of the society for nine years now and joined Backworth when I got sick of hacking up the courses and wanted to improve.

3 Which is your favourite course in the North East?
I love playing new courses and have played a lot in the region. A couple of my favourites are Hexham and Wynyard – I seem to have played good golf at both which helps!

4 And further afield?
Our society goes away every year and we’ve played in Scotland and across Yorkshire – Oulton Hall is a real favourite. I’ve also played in Las Vegas, which was an interesting experience out in the desert.

5 What’s your best ever round?
A nett 63 at Backworth.

6 Which is your favourite golfing memory?
I love the camaraderie of society golf, particularly when we travel. Mixing with a big group of like-minded people on and off the golf course over a weekend is brilliant. Those experiences are certainly my favourites in golf.

7 What about embarrassing moments?
There are plenty from my early days playing golf, though I’ve tried to block them out! I’ve fallen backwards into a bunker on a golf trip, which still gets talked about too regularly.

8 Do you have any superstitions?
No, though I’ve seen some interesting ones from others over the years.

9 What are your strengths on the course?
I would say my driving – when that’s going well I tend to have a good score in me. I can get hot with the putter at times too.

10 And your weaknesses?
My consistency, particularly with my irons. When my driving is good it can hide my weakness with the irons a bit.

11 Which is your favourite club?
My 3/4 Cobra hybrid which goes roughly 175 yards and is perfect for so many shots around Backworth.

12 Who is your best golfing friend?
Maurice Guthrie, a neighbour who plays in the golf society and at Backworth. We play together most weekends. Though we play a lot of golf together, I equally enjoy being drawn out at the club and getting to play with new people. There’s something really interesting about spending four hours with people and getting to know them while playing golf.

13 How does playing golf help your work?

It’s a fantastic way to unwind and relax away from the office and the phone. I tend to do a lot of thinking on the golf course and can work through some complicated and stressful situations in the course of four hours in the fresh air. Sometimes it is a little too much for the golf course, but it certainly helps being out concentrating on something new.

14 Who is your favourite tour player?
I’ve really enjoyed Tiger Woods’ return to the top of the game. To go through the surgeries he has and still compete with all the young guys out there is remarkable.

15 Which event do you enjoy watching?
The Ryder Cup is very special in golf. Having played so much football over the years, seeing that team aspect on the golf course is fantastic.

16 Who do you admire?
Individual sportspeople take on so much more pressure than those in team sports so I would lean towards them – people like Tiger Woods and Usain Bolt who have reached the pinnacle of their sports.

17 Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
I’d fill it with North East sportspeople to hear about all their experiences – I couldn’t begin to pick just three though!

18 If I could offer you a lottery win or a scratch handicap, which would you choose?
At 56 years old, it would have to be scratch.