A round with… Steve Cram

The Jarrow Arrow tells us about his golf, favourite playing partners and fondest on-course memories

Steve Cram CBE dominated the world of middle distance running in the 1980s, winning Olympic 1500m silver in 1984 in Los Angeles as well as World Championship gold in 1983 in Helsinki, and European and Commonwealth golds in 1982 and 1986.

He was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1983 and following his on-track career he has become one of the voices of athletics on the BBC, leading the athletics coverage at the 2012 Olympics in London as well as being part of the team covering major sporting events around the world.

Between his broadcasting, coaching and charity commitments – his annual Celebrity Golf Day in aid of COCO is on June 22 – we caught up to find out more about his time on the golf course…

 1  With a packed schedule how do you fit golf in?
Sadly there’s not enough golf in my life right now. Ironically, I had more time to play when I was an athlete but with such a busy work schedule, and all the travelling and athletics to cover around the world, I struggle to get more than three games a year in.

 2  How did you get into golf?
I started playing with friends in my early 20s to help pass the time between training sessions.

 3  Which is your favourite course in the North East?
It would have to be the Hunting Course at Slaley Hall.

 4  And further afield?
It’s really difficult to compare the amazing courses I’ve had the pleasure of playing over the years. I love Archerfield in East Lothian and Desert Springs in Almanzora but it would have to be Red Rocks in Denver, Colorado where I spent many months training – I have so many fantastic memories of playing there.

 5  What’s your best ever round?
I don’t think I’ve ever broken 80. I’ve definitely shot 81s and 82s in a few different places…but not recently!

 6  Which is your favourite golfing memory?
Teeing off at the opening of the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles alongside the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart and Sean Connery in front of a packed crowd and TV cameras. All my playing partners were out of bounds after their opening tee shots so I had to play the hole by myself.

 7  What about embarrassing moments?
I’ve never won a prize at my own golf day…ever!

 8  Do you have any superstitions?
No. I didn’t have any through my running career either.

 9  What are your strengths on the course?
I make sure I don’t hit the ball too far so I can still see it. Apart from that, I’d say putting under pressure.

 10  And your weaknesses?
These days I play safe off the tee and rarely use a driver so distance is always an issue.

 11  Which is your favourite club?
My seven iron.

12  Who is your best golfing mate?
The best company around a golf course any in the world has to be my old pal Daley Thompson – no one sledges like him!

 13  How does your sporting background help your golf?
It’s probably more of a hindrance; I get too competitive most games. I have learned to move on from bad shots pretty quickly though and not let it ruin the rest of my game.

 14  Who is your favourite tour player?
Justin Rose.

 15  Which event do you enjoy the most?
It has to be The Masters. It’s still my ambition to get there although it often clashes with the London Marathon.

 16  Which sportsmen do you admire?
Current sportsperson would have to be Usain Bolt.

 17  Which three people would join you in your dream fourball?
Barack Obama,
Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando.

 18  If I could offer you Olympic gold or a scratch handicap, which would you take?
Looking back to my athletics career, I’m not sure I’d turn down changing the colour of my Olympic medal for a scratch handicap, it would have to be the Olympic gold. I think I’m satisfied with being a struggling, fair weather hacker…and I’ll keep the Olympic medal in the cupboard with the memories!

Steve hosts his annual Celebrity Golf Day in aid of COCO at Slaley Hall June 22. For more information and to enter a team visit www.coco.org.uk