A round with… Rachel Scurfield

Newcastle Falcons team doctor Rachel Scurfield tells us about her love for sport, shares her golfing memories and picks her dream fourball

When it comes to striking the perfect balance between work and pleasure, Rachel Scurfield has the mix just right. A lifelong rugby fan from Felton in Northumberland, 17-handicapper Rachel splits her time between work in Leeds and Newcastle, travelling across the UK and Europe with the Newcastle Falcons, and fitting in some time to relax and play golf at her home club Close House as well as competing as part of the ladies team.

You must be busy looking after rugby players, how do you fit golf in?
Golf is the perfect sport for a rugby doctor! Our season finishes in early May and starts back up around August, which means I’m pretty free during the golf season. I’ve played a lot of golf this summer, three-plus times a week in competitions and with the team at Close House. I’ve really enjoyed it.

How did you get into golf?
I grew up in Felton and my next-door neighbour was a single-figure handicapper from Alnmouth Golf Club. She’d practice in the garden and got me into it there before I headed off to Alnmouth around the age of 14 for some lessons with David Fletcher using my dad’s old Bobby Locke irons. I was hooked, joined Alnmouth and played a lot of golf before I went off to university in London. I took a break then picked it back up when I became a consultant in 2010.

Which is your favourite course in the North East?
The Colt Course at Close House. The views are spectacular and there are a lot of different challenges to the course. It takes a lot to beat.

And further afield?
I’ve just come back from a holiday in France and played at Chamonix Golf Club, which is unbelievably gorgeous. I’ve never seen anything like it, the snow-topped mountain backdrop is spectacular.

What’s your best ever round?
Nothing really stands out, though I won the TSG Trophy at Close House last year and got a big handicap cut at the same time.

Which is your favourite golfing memory?
The first event I ever won was Lady President’s Day at Alnmouth, I’ll never forget picking up that huge silver trophy.

What about embarrassing moments?
That’s an easy one! Playing at Alnmouth as a junior, I managed to hook/top the ball into the visitors’ car park, setting off one of the alarms. The worst part was the silence from the group of guys waiting to tee off as I walked past them to tell the pro shop what had happened. I had horrible flashbacks on the first tee for years after that.

Do you have any superstitions?
I’ve seen all sorts from the rugby boys but none of them have rubbed off on me.

What are your strengths on the course?
I’m pretty long off the tee, which can be a really big advantage when I’m hitting it straight.

And your weaknesses?
There’s a long list… I’ll go with my course management. I tend to take on the high risk, high reward shots rather than playing conservatively and keeping high scores off my card. That would be far too boring!

Which is your favourite club?
I have a love/hate relationship with my driver so it has to be my seven iron. I can hit any shot I want with it, if I’m ever not sure I’ll use my seven iron.

Who is your best golfing friend?
I have to say Pete Bowers. He’s a huge Newcastle Falcons fan, he even has a Falcons tattoo on his wrist, and he’s super laid back on the golf course which makes him a great playing partner.

Do you play any other sports. Do they help your golf?
I played everything growing up – a lot of tennis, hockey and netball, everything I could do. Tennis definitely helps your golf with timing and how you move your weight as you hit it.

Who is your favourite tour player?
Lexi Thompson is incredible; she has the most fantastic golf swing. On the men’s side it has to be Adam Scott… I’ll not explain that one.

Which golf event have you enjoyed attending the most?
The British Masters at Close House last year was amazing. Walking the course and seeing how the best players in the world play my home course was very humbling .

Which sportsperson do you admire?
Newcastle Falcons winger Vereniki Goneva – he is the epitome of professionalism. He trains and prepares so hard for every match and he’s incredibly humble – he always talks about the team and the collective over himself.

Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
Seve Ballesteros – like him I can find some trouble on the golf course and I’m always thinking ‘what would Seve do?’; my ultimate sporting hero Jonny Wilkinson; and Cameron Diaz.

Premiership title for the Falcons or a scratch handicap, which would you take?
It would have to be the Premiership title, though I’d be really happy with a European Champions Cup final win at St James’ Park.