Golf is a better spectator sport than test match cricket and AFL matches.
That’s what John Mazza told us after his exclusive, inside-the-ropes week at the 2015 Emirate Australian Open, all thanks to the GOLF MONTH introduce a member competition.
After taking up the sport just over one year ago, Mazza introduced Michael Connolly as a member of West Australia’s Bunbury Golf Club, located approximately 170km south of Perth.
As a result, Mazza scored flights, accommodation, a spot in the pro-am field on Wednesday and an inside-the-ropes experience during the tournament proper.
A former runner, Mazza make the switch to golf after a word of medical advice.
“I used to run then I had a hip replacement and my orthopedic surgeon suggested to me that I give up running and instead take up golf and I took him literally,” said Mazza.
A father of seven with wife Janet, Mazza was wary that golf may be a somewhat selfish hobby, given the amount of time it would take him away from his family however he managed the perfect solution.
“I was a little concerned that playing golf would occupy all my time and be too self-indulgent so I introduced three of my children to golf. Two boys, 16 and 14 and a girl, 10. Every Sunday morning I play golf with the two boys and Connolly and that’s a fun time.
“The 10-year-old has just started. She’s had 3 lessons with ALPG professional Shani Waugh."
The trip to Sydney was rare for the couple, marking the first holiday they had been on since having their seven children. Just as rare was the opportunity Mazza had to play in the Emirates Australian Open pro-am. Teeing up alongside Western Australian professional Ollie Goss as well as TV personality Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Kevin Gates, Mazza summed up the experience as “fantastic”.
“During the first two holes I was incredibly nervous but they all made me feel very comfortable and everybody was very encouraging."
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The Mazzas went on to spend all four tournament days trudging around the Australian Golf Course including watching the action from inside-the-ropes and a tour of the media center.
“I’ve thought that watching golf would be a very good thing to do but it is far better than what I ever anticipated it would be. I’ve seen test matches, AFL football matches, which I love but golf is an even better spectator sport than those," said Mazza.