It's golf 9 to 5 for Eilidh Barbour a sports reporter and television presenter, who was most recently appointed as the new face of the BBC’s golf coverage.
Tell us about your career
I knew from a very early age that I wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting and studied film and media studies, specialising in audio and video production at the University of Stirling. After graduating I went to South Korea and worked as an English teacher for a year so I could make enough money to be able to return home and spend six months focusing on finding a job by blasting out emails and meeting people. My first job was with Scottish Television, primarily editing their football and rugby highlights, and so my career in sport broadcasting developed from there.
What sport are you most passionate about?
I enjoy all sport, but football is my passion as it’s the one that I work on most and a game that I have played since I was a kid. When I’m around I still play for Partick Thistle Football Club.
When did your interest in golf begin?
As a teenager I used to volunteer at golf events at Gleneagles and my first work experience was at the Open in Troon in 2004. My dad has always played golf and when I was about 16-years-old I dabbled with the game, at the same time my mum decided that she would like to learn. When I was younger I occasionally played golf on family holidays but it’s only in the last year and a half that I have started to play seriously. Last summer I joined Cathkin Braes Golf Club in Glasgow. I do give my parents a hard time for not being pushy parents and forcing me to learn to play when I was six-years-old!
Hazel Irvine is a hard act to follow and she is someone that you have looked up to, but what will you bring to the role?
Hazel is amazing, she’s fantastic at her job and has been my inspiration, but I cannot possibly try to be like her. I’m doing my best to bring my own energy to the role. I love sport and I love being out there. If I could be one of those players I would bite your hand off for it, but I can’t, so I try to do the next best thing and that’s to be out among the action, and then through my personality bring the event alive to the viewer. As much as I watch and learn from people, the most important thing for me is to put my own stamp on a broadcast.
What have been your BBC TV golf highlights so far?
Interviewing the winner is great. At the BMW Championship at Wentworth. Ialso had the job of presenting the trophy to Alex Noren, so that was ‘cool’ although quite nerve-racking as it was the first one. At the Open I had a spare half an hour so I sneaked down to the 18th green and watched Branden Grace post his record-breaking 62. I wanted to be there to watch a moment in history happen. Another highlight was watching Jordan Spieth running around with the Open trophy. I’m never going to win the Claret Jug, but when you’re that close you can feel the euphoria.
What do you believe are the barriers that prevent people playing golf?
Everyone should play sport, male or female. I love playing golf but I didn’t as a kid. I chose not to take it up and played football instead. That’s why I can understand kids that haven’t got the time to fit golf into their schedules or perhaps their parents choose not to encourage them to play. However, I believe that golf clubs could do more.
In terms of the professional game, there are plenty of characters and personalities, young girls and guys on tour that people would want to emulate. It’s difficult because a lot of golf clubs don’t particularly make it easy to become a new member, especially if you’re young. The onus should be on clubs to engage communities and the adults within those communities to welcome kids into a golf environment.
How often do you play golf and what is your favourite course?
I try to play at least once a week, now that I’m ‘serious’ about my golf. My favourite course is Shiskine, a beautiful course in Isle of Arran. There are only 12 holes, but each one is fun and interesting. I wouldn’t want to play it every week because it is so special. Kingsbarns is a course that I could play every day and still love it!.
The above is an extract from the latest issue of Women & Golf magazine, on sale now. Never miss an issue click here to subscribe and enjoy W&G delivered to your door.