A Quick 18 with Colm Campbell

 A Quick 18 with Colm Campbell
 Colm Campbell doing the business for Warrenpoint in the 2016 Barton Shield Final at Carton House with a birdie at the 16th. Picture: Pat Cashman

Colm Campbell doing the business for Warrenpoint in the 2016 Barton Shield Final at Carton House with a birdie at the 16th. Picture: Pat Cashman

Winner of the East of Ireland and Irish Amateur Open titles, Colm Campbell has been the lynchpin of the Irish amateur team for the past five years. He's just the latest in a long line of great players to emerge from Warrenpoint Golf Club and all going well, he can still follow in the footsteps of Ronan Rafferty and his uncle, Paddy Gribben, and tee it up in a Walker Cup.

  • Handicap: Plus 4
  • Club: Warrenpoint

1 How’s your golf?

Not much golf for me at the moment as I am currently out of action with a hand injury — Hook of Hamate to be precise. In fact, I've been out now for nearly six months, but the good news is that I'm close to being back fully fit. Hopefully in another week or so I'll be playing again and ready for the trip to Little Island for the Munster Stroke Play and my first event of the year.

2 How did you get started in the game? Who was your biggest influence?

Golf has always been in my family. My Dad and Granda got me started. Dad was a good player and still is to be fair. He was off plus one and still plays off two. My uncle, Paddy Gribben has had a big influence in getting me to where I am today. But my biggest influence has to be Tiger Woods. Golf is not golf without Tiger in my opinion. 

 Colm Campbell Jnr (Warrenpoint) driving at the 8th tee in the first round of the 2016 Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at The Royal Dublin Golf Club today (05/05/2016). Picture by  Pat Cashman

Colm Campbell Jnr (Warrenpoint) driving at the 8th tee in the first round of the 2016 Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at The Royal Dublin Golf Club today (05/05/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

3 Choose your weapon - driver or putter? And why?

I would have to say putter. I don’t think there is anything more satisfying than holing a putt, especially a winning putt. I would like to think that I am a very good putter also and feel very comfortable with a putter in my hand. I love a good drive but there's nothing better than that feeling when you hole a good putt. I've holed a few crucial ones over the years.

4 Links or parkland? Why? 

I'm a links man now. You have to have a very good imagination on a links golf course, especially around the greens. Every round is different and the weather always has a part to play.  I think the fact that the two Championships that I have won have also been around links courses speaks for itself. We also have some of the best golf courses in the world in Ireland and we get to play them in Championships throughout the year which is great. How could you beat Royal County Down, Lahinch, Baltray and Royal Portrush?

5 When were you happiest on the golf course? 

That's a tough one.  I have had a wee bit of individual success but I find I’m at my happiest when I am playing team golf. My happiest day was probably the 2016 Home Internationals at Nairn. It was the final day against England and I needed to win the last hole in the last match to give us the title for the third year in a row. I was five-up after 9 and suddenly all square playing the last. So to make birdie on the last to win was something that will stay with me for rest of my life. The scenes afterwards with all the lads were just unbelievable.

6 Who’s your sporting hero?

As a massive Celtic fan, Henrik Larsson was someone I grew up idolising. But Tiger Woods is the reason why I, and a lot of other people are playing golf today. He just edges out Henrik.

 Colm Campbell and Stewart Hagestad 

Colm Campbell and Stewart Hagestad 

7 Name an opponent or rival you especially admire and why.

I have played Stewart Hagestad, the American Walker Cup player, a few times and got the better of him once or twice. He is such a fierce competitor that you know you have to be at your very best to beat him. We have had some great games over the last few years.

8 What’s your golfing ambition? Do you have one?

All being well, I'd like to try and make the Walker Cup team for Royal Liverpool next year. I feel that 2017 was a bit of a let down for me, so I would love another opportunity to try and make that team. That would be the icing on the cake.

9 Name your dream fourball and name the venue.

Tiger Woods, Henrik Larsson and Rory McIlroy and it would be a toss-up between Royal County Down or Lahinch, two of my favourite courses in Ireland. But if I had to pick,  I would have to say Newcastle, as it’s so close to home.

10 If you could change something about amateur golf, what would it be?

I would love to see one of our Championships changed to strokeplay. We have more than enough match play competitions. At the end of the day, if you turn pro, that’s all you play.

 Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) and his caddy Paddy Gribben lining up a putt on the 9th green in the final round of the  2014 East of Ireland Championship  at County Louth Golf Club, where he edged out Paul Dunne by two strokes to win the title. Picture by  Pat Cashman

Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) and his caddy Paddy Gribben lining up a putt on the 9th green in the final round of the 2014 East of Ireland Championship at County Louth Golf Club, where he edged out Paul Dunne by two strokes to win the title. Picture by Pat Cashman

11 If I gave you a mulligan in your golfing career, what would it be?

My second shot to the 18th in last year's South of Ireland. It was the last 16 and I hit a three-wood into left rough when my opponent was making bogey. We halved the hole in bogeys and I lost on the 19th. If I were in the same situation, I would lay-up and make sure I made par at worst.

12 Apart from Augusta National, is there a course you’d love to play before you die?

Pebble Beach. That place just looks unbelievable so it does. And it has so much history around it also. 

13 What’s your favourite par three? And why?

I would have to say the 14th in Royal Portrush (Calamity). It’s such a tough shot for a par three. One day you can hit a five-iron, the next day you could be hitting either three-wood or driver, which I have done in the past. You just don’t know what to expect when you play that hole which makes it so unique. 

14 If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

When I am on the golf course, I can be very hard on myself. Sometimes you just have to accept you aren’t always going to hit the perfect shot or play your best all the time. That for me is a very hard thing to accept.

 Winner Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) pictured with the 2016 Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship trophy and Warrenpoint supporters after his victory at The Royal Dublin Golf Club (08/05/2016). Picture by  Pat Cashman

Winner Colm Campbell (Warrenpoint) pictured with the 2016 Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship trophy and Warrenpoint supporters after his victory at The Royal Dublin Golf Club (08/05/2016). Picture by Pat Cashman

15 What’s your most treasured possession? 

I have a framed article that features a picture of me holding the East of Ireland trophy in 2014. A member of my club got it framed for me, which was a really nice gesture. It’s great to look at it now and be reminded it actually happened. 

16 If you could change something about your golf, what would it be?

I'd try to relax a wee bit more on the golf course. I can be hard on myself and sometimes that does affect my golf. You just have to accept the good and bad, which is very difficult, let me tell you. 

17 Who's your favourite golfer?

Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer to ever play the game. He has changed golf for everyone. 

18 What’s your idea of perfect happiness?

Being able to compete at the top for the rest of my life {laughs}. It probably won't happen, but it sounds good to me anyway!

This feature first appeared in the Irish Independent's Tee to Green golf supplement on 12 April 2018