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In conversation with NFP brand ambassador, Darren Clarke


What is the purpose of the Darren Clarke Foundation you have set up, and any projects currently underway that you are excited about?

It’s really been a combination of supporting young Irish talent and helping Irish breast cancer charities and their research, and I’m really proud of the work that has been done and everything we have achieved over the last two decades. Some great players have been involved as kids, including Rory McIlroy and Leona Maguire, but it’s about much more than those big names.

How has your sponsorship agreement with NFP been going, and do you see further collaborative opportunities with NFP in the near future to deliver meaningful impact on people’s lives?

I was really pleased to be able to announce the partnership earlier this year. What struck me about the opportunity was NFP’s strong interest in the foundation and the work we can do together to help people. I’ve met a lot of great people at NFP, in Europe and North America, and it’s clear we share a belief that this can be more than just a straight sponsorship arrangement. I’m excited to build something meaningful together.

What has been your most memorable golfing moment?

Undoubtedly it was winning The Open Championship in 2011. When I was practising as a kid, it was always ‘This one to win The Open’ and out of the majors it’s the one I always wanted to win. To get my hands on that Claret Jug really was an ambition and a dream fulfilled.

Can you share any lessons that golf has taught you that has helped you outside of the game?

Nothing specific, but overall I think golf is a good mirror for life. It teaches an overall sense of fairness and adhering to the rules. Ideally, you need to be able to accept what you’re given (ideally!) and if you get carried away or look too far ahead you’ll find yourself humbled pretty quickly!

Golfer Darren Clarke talking with a friend on the golf course.

What is the one tip which you would share with amateurs to help them improve their golf, regardless of ability?

I see lots of things regularly when I’m playing with amateurs. I see lots of hesitation and second guessing and I think, for example, that you should get over your putt, trust that first instinct and hit it. Around the greens, the ground is your friend, so you have to get the ball rolling as soon as possible because it’s easier for you to control.

Where is your favourite golf course?

Royal Portrush. I was so proud that The Open Championship has returned there and that it was so successful.

Who is the sports person you most admire and why?

That’s such a tough one but as a Liverpool fan I’ll go for Kenny Dalglish. He was just so good, and it’s right that they call him ‘King Kenny’.

What was it like to get that winning feeling again, picking up the British Senior Open trophy?

It was an incredible feeling. I’ve been fortunate enough to have success on the Champions Tour, but this year has been a little frustrating, with a few injuries creeping in – something that I’ve never had in my career before. So to win the British Senior Open means a huge amount to me, with Alison there, my old caddie Jamie Lane on the bag, and after seeing Pete Cowen at The Open, it was just brilliant.

Golfer Darren Clarke posing for a picture with NFP employees.

You became just the fourth person to win the Senior Open, having previously won The Open and joined an elite group of golfers in doing so. Do you have a sense of how big an achievement that is?

That says it all really, and that’s the side of it that might take a little time to sink in, because of the calibre of players on that list. I’m so, so proud of that achievement.

Outside of professional golf, do you have any interests or activities which keep you busy or is there something which you would take up in the future?

I spend most of my free time on Abaco in the Bahamas, and permit fishing has become a bit more than an interest, you could say! I just love fly-fishing and that’s my main interest away from golf.
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