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Interview: Dr Donal Hughes from Golf Central Daily

Written by  on Tuesday, 08 February 2011
Interview: Dr Donal Hughes from Golf Central Daily 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes.
The Leaderboard team speak to Dr Donal Hughes whose column, The SpinDoctor, appears every Tuesday in the Irish Examiner's print edition. He also the man behind the blog, Golf Central Daily.

How did you get into golf?

Believe or not I'm an award winning Ph.D research chemist by trade but in 2007 I decided I was going to do something awesomely wonderful for charity for once in my life and, being as it was during the days of Celtic Tiger Ireland, it was damn well going to involve golf.  My project involved playing 32 rounds, on 32 courses in each of Ireland's 32 counties over 32 consecutive days. I drove over 5,000kms in a car smelling of grass and fart, damaged several vertebrae, auctioned everything from Padraig Harrington's shirt to Mike Tyson's glove on the way to raising 100,000 Euro for kids and cancer charities. After that people called me "mad" and "a looney". It was then I knew that golf was the future for me. I used to be a pretty handy three handicap but alas, like Monty, I'm on the slide.
If you had to name one thing you love the most about golf, what would it be?

Backspin. Ask any golfer. The true test of how good a player really is is defined by the amount of zip, suction, back-up or rip a player can get. This one time, I zipped the ball the whole way back off the green. It was the happiest day of my life.  The social side of the game is pretty nifty too.

What has been your favourite golfing moment personally?

That has to be the day I played in the team classic event at my local club. I stood seven iron in hand, 160 yards left over water for my second shot on the index one and toughest hole on the course.  I skulled that ball so bad a shudder shot up through my arms as my ball took off and maintained a trajectory approximately six inches off the ground for the first 155 yards of its flight.  However, instead of plopping into the water, that day my ball performed a perfect skim, before hitting a yellow hazard marker, bouncing straight up onto the green and rolling into the cup for a two. The result, four televisions, one of which I still proudly own today.
What has been your favourite professional golfing moment?

Watching Michael Campbell hit balls on the range at the London Club before the 2008 European Open. When you see Cambo hit balls, you know there's still hope for all of us.  He was terrible!  Sorry Michael but that's what you get for telling me to boil my "Cambo" US Open style shirt to make it fit. Those things were made in Maori sizes!
How did you get into blogging?

I just started Golf Central Daily to put all my newspaper stuff out there for a wider audience.  I have complete control over the site so I can put on the naughty stuff and the made-up stuff (only if its harmless) up there too. Where else would I be allowed but up a story about the third everyshotimaginable video from the European Tour involving the South African Army, a sniper and Colin Montgomerie?
Which other golf blogs or news sites do you read?

I read the Tour sites, golf.com, golfWRX, Facebook and Twitter. Everybody else reads me!

What makes a good golf blog?

It has to have the words Golf, Central and Daily in the title and be very closely related to the name of the Golf Channel's news programme so confused people will visit. Originality and lies are good too.

Do you follow any golfers / golf fanatics on Twitter?

I follow a load of commentators, they are so boring, out twittering each other about stats etc. The best twitterers are Lee Westwood and the Poultergeist [Ian Poulter]. Rors [Rory McIlroy] is not bad either.
Do you think the golfing industry is using social media well?

The golf industry is barely scratching the surface of social media. My site gets huge numbers of viewers, yet the golf industry would prefer to fire thousands of pounds into a newspaper or magazine ad that runs once. I ask you, what's all that about?
Do you think golf courses could benefit by using the internet and social media?

Of course they could. The first half hour of every golf-course manager's day should involve updating the blog on upcoming events, sending out a few tweets, getting a few friends on Facebook and connecting with at least five similar people on Linkedin.
Do you buy golfing equipment online? What are some of your favourite places?

I work for Golfbidder. They are the biggest seller of second-hand clubs in Europe. I do club testing days for them - wonderful bunch of people. Clubs are so cheap second hand, I would never buy a new one again.
Do you watch golf tutorials online? If so, where? What is great about them?

I love Shawn Clement, he is so good I put all his videos into a widget on my site. I also like to film a few tips myself.  I'm going to be doing a lot more tips with pros around the country in 2001so watch GCD for that!

What are your golfing and blogging goals for 2011?

My goal is and will always be the same - to become the world's favourite golf blog before being taken over by some Qatar-based group for billions!
Dr Donal Hughes' blog can be found at: www.golfcentraldaily.com

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