It’s no secret that Gareth Bale loves golf.
You could even argue that the 33-year-old, who kicked off 2023 by announcing his retirement from professional football, loves golf more than the sport he played at the highest level for over 15 years.
Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.
So with his legendary football career now a thing of the past, it does beg the question…
Bale is one of those people irritatingly good at multiple sports.
Not content with bagging goals in the Champions League final for Real Madrid or firing Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016/their first World Cup appearance in 64 years (take your pick), he’s a two handicap golfer.
That means if the par of a course (expected number of shots) is 70, Bale would expect to go round in 72 (+2) or close to it more often than not.
“I love golf,” Bale confessed as recently as November 2022, speaking before the World Cup to Today’s Golfer. “You can play with and against anybody, off different handicaps or playing levels. You can just get out on the course with your friends and get away from everything. I have the bug and every time I tee it up, I want to improve.
“Golf is a hobby like anyone else would have a hobby. There is nothing wrong with having a round. People make a lot of it, but a lot of footballers play and it’s one thing I really enjoy. It keeps me calmer off the pitch and gives me time away from football which is nice.”
Bale’s love for the game of golf extends to truly legendary levels.
Sure, he could have taken up membership at some of the world’s most exclusive courses or bought one himself, but why not design one to go in your own back garden?
“I always wanted to buy a house in Cardiff. I always wanted land and always wanted to build a golf course on it,” he stated in his Today’s Golfer interview.
“I’ve got three par-3 replicas of my favourite holes – the 17th at Sawgrass, the Postage Stamp at Royal Troon, and the 12th at Augusta. The green is slightly smaller than the one at Sawgrass, which makes it even harder! When I actually played at Sawgrass, their green felt massive!”
Bale is yet to try his hand in the professional ranks, but retirement will surely open up the opportunity to work on his game.
He did become a partner of the Welsh Open in 2022, played on the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor Resort – a former Ryder Cup venue – where he pledged his support for growing the game in his homeland.
“Last year’s tournament was a really exciting boost for Welsh golf and this year will be even better,” he said at the time. “The course is a great test for any golfer and I am delighted as a fan to watch what promises to be four days of fantastic golf at a brilliant venue.
“The course is a great test for any golfer and I am delighted as a fan to watch what promises to be four days of fantastic golf at a brilliant venue.”