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Interview with former rugby international Gavin Hastings
Gavin Hastings in action at Archerfield Links with professional Janice Moodie

We caught up with former international rugby player Gavin Hastings, after his first round at the 2012 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at Archerfield Links, where he was playing with professional Janice Moodie in the Pro Am team format. Hastings had 61 caps at Full Back for Scotland, 20 of them as Captain. He captained the British Lions on the 1993 tour to New Zealand.

Gavin: how did you find it out there and how did you score?

I loved it. It was great fun playing with Janice Moodie and Karen Lunn was the other pro. It was just terrific watching the girls as it always is. I enjoyed it. I’ve played a bit this year and I thought I played pretty well. Unfortunately the putts didn’t just sink for us but there’s always tomorrow.

Karen was saying how well you played. What were the highlights?

Trying to out-drive Karen is no mean feat and I’m glad to say I managed to achieve it on two or three holes but she hits a beautiful ball. She’s a lovely striker of the ball as is Janice and obviously Karen was putting a bit better than Janice. It’s terrific and I’ve always said I love playing with the ladies’ because their game is very similar to mine and lot of men. You’re hitting the ball roughly the same distance and you just watch around the greens. For me it has much more relevance than playing with the male pros because they just hit the ball out of sight.

Do you get an opportunity to talk to them and do they help you out?

They would know that my game is well beyond redemption so we chat, obviously, but it’s got nothing to do with my game, what we chat about, how they manage their lives and Karen having a home in Australia. It’s good to chat about that and what happens when the weather is nice. It’s beautiful today but it’s a bit cool.

Are you familiar with this type of golf?

I’m a links man. Gullane is my home club just two or three miles down the road there and I’ve played golf for what seems like my whole life so I love it and I think they’ve done a wonderful job at Archerfield. I’ve been here on many occasions. It’s a terrific example of what happens when you get things right from the start and they’ve obviously done that and I think the quality of the investment that they’ve put down here both in the golf course and the clubhouse and Archerfield House is fantastic and it’s reaping the rewards, having tournaments like this and lots of other occasions when I’ve been here too. They are great events and that is what it’s all about.

How did you get into the game of golf?

My parents have both played golf since they were young kids and I’ve got three brothers so they used to drag us all out on the golf course. I very quickly realised that it wasn’t a question of being dragged out: I just loved playing golf.

It’s a very sociable game and you can play it all over the world. I’ve been blessed with playing lots of fantastic golf courses.

If you weren’t a rugby player do you think you could have been a golf professional?

No. I might have harboured ambitions at one stage but I realised in my 20s that I was never going to be good enough to play golf.

What is the main difference and similarity between golf and rugby?

I played amateur rugby and the game is now professional and I think you won’t get anywhere in life without a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in business or if it’s in sport. Trying to push through a sporting career at a professional level I think is incredibly difficult and you see the hours that everyone has to spend on the range and whatever but golf probably more than any other sport is so much of it is between the ears and especially with putting. It’s a tough mental thing to overcome.

Dedication is similar. What is the difference?

There are a lot of similarities but its hard work. Natural talent will only get you so far and a lot of hard work will undoubtedly help. That’s the way it is.

You’re a five-handicap: do you have any ambitions in golf?

I got down to four a couple of years ago and I supposed that I would like to try and remain consistently at four, but is it going to make a great deal of difference in my life? No. Do I get a lot of pleasure playing here? Yes. As long as I get invitations to play in nice golf tournaments I’m happy.

Gavin Hastings chatting to Laura Davies and Vicky Cuming during the welcome dinner
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