A Quick 18 with Trevor Giles

A Quick 18 with Trevor Giles
Trevor Giles

Trevor Giles

With two All-Irelands and three All-Stars, Trevor Giles is remembered as one of Meath football's greatest players. He's also a keen golfer.

  • Handicap: 13
  • Club: Royal Tara

1 How did you get started in the game?

My mam and dad have been members in Royal Tara for years and the professional at the time, Adam Whitson, used to give the kids free lessons in the summer. So it all started there at the age of eight — a lesson with a big gang for an hour and then a putting competition. As we got older, we had nine-hole competitions. It brings back great summer memories.

2 Did it interfere with your Gaelic football career?

Not really. I have to admit that I haven't been able to devote massive amounts of time to getting my handicap down. When I finished playing with Meath, I got involved with the Under 21s and the seniors for a couple of years. I play once a fortnight at best and I enjoy that.

3 So how is your golf? Should we watch out for your team in the Skryne GAA Golf Classic at Royal Tara on June 9?

I was second in a monthly medal not long ago but it was just one of those days when it all came together. I wasn't too good in the May medal, but we will keep at it.

4 Are you aiming to get down to scratch?

Not at all. I just don't have the time. My son Conor (8) has just joined as a juvenile member, so that's getting me out a little more than most years. Maybe I can get my handicap down to ten, but with Under 10 gaelic and my involvement in the local athletic club, there isn't a lot of time left for golf. If I can stick around 13 or 12, I'll be happy enough.

5 Driver or putter?

Oh, driver! I love absolutely milling it.

6 So you are more John Daly than Nick Faldo?

I was probably more of a steady Eddie playing football — doing very simple stuff — but in golf, I am more of a John Daly type, just without the loud trousers.

7 Are there any comparisons between golf and GAA?

Well, in football you'd be nervous before a big game and if you won there'd be massive relief. But in golf you just go out to enjoy it and all the better if you've got a few of your former teammates playing with you and the weather is good. It's a great opportunity to catch up with my old mates or have a good chat with my dad. I don't get annoyed by double bogeys. It's not as if I am out there practising my putting three days a week, the way I practised my free-taking.

8 It sounds like golf is pure fun and a chance to take a trip down memory lane with your former teammates and rivals.

That's it. It reminds me of that Bruce Springsteen song, "Glory Days." The golf classics give me a chance to catch up with most of those boys once a year and maybe move on and talk about the present.

9 You've played at the mecca of GAA but what venues stand out for you in golf? Do you have a favourite?

I've been lucky enough to play the Old Head of Kinsale twice and some of those clifftop holes are just spectacular. It's probably my favourite.

10 Who's the best Gaelic footballer with a golf club in his hand?

Meath has had some good golfers - Conor Martin, our former goalie, and Brian Stafford, they're both very tidy. But I guess Mick and Paraic Lyons, two tough guys from the 80s, were fine golfers indeed.

11 Name your dream fourball

Tiger Woods in his pomp, my dad, Eamon and Bruce Springsteen. That would be a nice day out.

12 Who was your sporting hero growing up?

Colm O'Rourke was the man I looked up to. He played with Skryne and he was the main man with Meath.  Then he taught me in secondary school at St Pat's in Navan and I played with him for club and county for a couple of seasons too when I was starting and he was finishing.

13 What did you most admire about him?

Apart from being a brilliant footballer, he had a great will to win. And he was tough as well. He pretty much had it all.

14 If I gave you a mulligan in your GAA career, what would it be?

The 2001 All-Ireland final [Meath 0-08, Galway 0-17]. We were five points down and got a penalty with 10 minutes to go. I hit it with conviction but pulled it left and wide. Score that and we are two points down and anything can happen. It's one game I'd love to play again. You don't mind losing by a point or two but I was terrible that day. It was just a bad performance.

15 What's your most treasured possession?

I not a romantic for possessions so if they house was on fire, I'd have to say the ride-on lawnmower. (Laughs). I have a big lawn here and I takes a few hours to mow it. It's a key apparatus I'd hate to lose!

16 If you change something about yourself, what would it be?

I'd love to have been 6'1" playing midfield. That would have been my ideal position but at 5'11" at best, I just wasn't tall enough and I had to play either at half-forward or half-back. I'd love to have been six-foot-plus. 

17 Are you a fan of the modern game of Gaelic football?

You'd always watch Dublin playing Kerry and my own county but after that, as a neutral, I'm not sure how many games you'd watch. I'd like to see more excitement in the game but in the "professional" game there isn't that same contest for possession between two guys — something that would get you off your seat or something you see in hurling. I'd like to see a more exciting game. And more teams in with a chance in Leinster. Nowadays, it's a challenge for the other teams to catch up with Dublin and Kerry.

18 Phil Mickelson had to contend with Tiger Woods. Who was your toughest opponent?

The Derry team had a number of excellent defenders in Kieran McKeever, Tony Scullion and Gary Coleman. If I had to pick one, Henry Downey was probably my toughest opponent.  He could play football as well as mark you.

This feature first appeared in the Irish Independent's weekly Tee to Green golf supplement on 11 May 2017