As his management company Modest! Golf goes from strength to strength, we asked Irish singer and songwriter Niall Horan all about his passion for the sport.
How did you get into golf?
I started from a really early age back home in Mullingar with a group of friends. I loved the sport back then and loved staying up on Masters Sunday watching the final round with my father.
What do you love about the game?
Everything. It’s a great way to escape for a bit, to turn my phone off and relax. I enjoy playing and meeting new people and the challenge of working hard to try and improve my game.
What kept you playing through the years?
Because I love golf! I love playing it, watching it and attending events when my schedule allows!
Why did you decide to set up Modest! Golf Management?
I really felt myself along with my management company could offer something different to some of the young golfers coming through. My management company have looked after young talent for many years, and then we brought Mark McDonnell and Ian Watts into the company who between them have 35 years’ experience in the golf industry.
What do you look for in potential talent?
Hard work, attitude and ability!
Why is it important to you to back young players?
We as a business just feel with the experience we have we can really help and guide young talent and ensure the player then fulfils their potential.
Who has impressed you recently?
In terms of my players they all have. They’ve applied themselves over the winter period and look forward to seeing them in action this year. Outside of my players John Rahm has come on incredible, and it’s great to see Tiger back.
Do you ever follow the Ladies European Tour?
Yes of course. All the times and I love watching the LET. I plan to visit a few tournaments when my schedule allows.
What do you think about the standard of golf?
I think the standard is improving all the time and it’s great to see so many young girls breaking through. I think the future is very exciting for the LET Tour and the members.
Did you watch The Solheim Cup?
Yes, I always make a point of watching it and its great format and so fun to watch. Was a great win for the USA team and makes the 2019 return match even more exciting.
How do you rate your own game and what’s your handicap?
My game is doing okay, I’m just about to go on a world tour so hope to play a little on my days off. Handicap is about 8.
What are your personal golfing ambitions?
I would like to get to 5 or below.
How did you get to know Rory McIlroy and how has he helped you with your game?
I met Rory years back in Australia when I was touring and he was at an event and we’ve come great friends since. I consider both Rory and Justin Rose very good friends of mine.
What’s the best event that you’ve ever played in or been to and why?
I have a huge love for Augusta and the Masters. It’s something as I mentioned I’ve watched since I was a kid growing up. I am also involved in the Drive, Chip, Putt initiative which Augusta National set up to encourage more kids to take up the game.
I also love The Open as it’s such a historic event. I hope to attend the Ladies’ Open Championship when my diary allows also.
What’s the best golf course you’ve played?
Has to be Augusta National! I loved playing Royal Portrush also and look forward to The Open going back across to Irish soil in 2019.
Do you ever get to play when you’re travelling on tour?
Yes, the clubs go everywhere with me on the tour bus!
What would you like to do to grow the game?
I think the game needs at times to be made quicker to encourage younger people into it. I think Keith Pelley and the European Tour are coming up with some great ways to make golf appeal to a wider audience and their social content is fantastic. I will always do what I can to help.
Why is golf a great game for women, girls and juniors?
It’s a great game, requires skill and dedication and also gets you outside meeting new people and keeping you active! I am in love with the game!
You can follow Modest! Golf management at www.modestgolf.com twitter @modestgolf and Instagram @modestgolfofficial.