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WANDERFUL

ISSUE 4, Q1 2015

BRANDS, PEOPLE & LOVE

Paolo Quirici SWITZERLAND’S MOST SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL GOLFER, WORLD HICKORY CHAMPION AND SPORT DIRECTOR AT THE SWISS GOLF ASSOCIATION (ASG)


A FEW MINUTES WITH …

PAOLO QUIRICI


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BRANDS, PEOPLE & LOVE

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Switzerland’s most successful professional golfer, Paolo Quirici played on the European pro circuit from 1989 to 2001. He recently took up hickory golf winning the US Professional Hickory Championships in 2013 and 2014. Furthermore at the World Hickory Championship in Scotland he won in 2013 and got a great 2nd place behind Sandy Lyle in 2014. He has recently been appointed Sport Director at the Swiss Golf Association (ASG). He also runs his own golf school, based at the beautiful Golf Club Lugano.


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How does hickory golf differ from standard golf?

history, the story of those who came before. When I bought these

The idea is to play with the same wooden-shafted clubs that were

irons, the man who sold them asked me, “are you actually going to

used in golf before 1930. In Europe, you are allowed seven clubs

play with these? “ I answered, “what do you think Mr. Jones would

and they have to be genuinely of the period, not replicas. These

want me to do?”

seven clubs are named, not numbered, and range from a driving iron to a niblick, through cleek, mashie, spade mashie, and mashie-niblick. Clubs were made individually, so you need to look hard to find a set that is matched in weight and flexibility. I was lucky enough to buy a set of irons that belonged to the English pro Ernest Jones.

“It’s like love, a trust and belief that this club can make a difference.”

He was remarkable: he lost half his right leg in the First World War, but managed to play on one leg to the same handicap mark!

How does the game differ playing with hickory-shafted

He then went on to become one of the most influential teachers

clubs?

of the game in America.

The feel is very solid, almost stiff, with lots of twist – more than

I maintain and repair the clubs myself. You feel close to your

ten degrees. If your timing is even slightly off you can lose it a long

equipment: it is what makes you the player you are. It’s like love,

way to the right or left. Modern drivers all have the huge heads,

a trust and belief that this club can make a difference. It has its

precision weight placement, and so on. With the hickory-shaft


woods, a very good drive is 240 yards, but it is very rarely straight.

What inspired you to become a golfer?

You have to be much more inventive around the greens; there

I started when I was seven, following my father around. I just liked

is no bounce, no loft. The proper approach in the air is very diffi-

the game: I liked the idea that I was competing against the course,

cult and delicate; you chip and roll, you don’t fly.

not against others. Being out in nature – like fishing, which I also love – is a way to enjoy life fully. Pleasure just comes naturally

“With the hickory-shaft woods, a very good drive is 240 yards, but it is very rarely straight.” For all these reasons, I guess the biggest difference is that a good shot pleases you a lot more. And the original links-style courses play so much better, because the ball rolls a long way: it’s how they were designed to be played. And that’s a great pleasure: if I had a choice, I would always want to play on a good links course.

from such places: a good links course, sun, a little wind to make it interesting. To imagine myself as something other than a golfer… it’s impossible.


“One of the qualities that define a good player is the ability to be humble.�


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What was your most satisfying moment on the golf course? There are moments every day. The funny thing is that you can have

What are the things that anyone could do to become a better golfer?

an average round with one really good shot, and it makes your day.

Confidence is good, you need to have high expectations – then to

You go home satisfied with having solved that one challenge. This

learn to balance that confidence with understanding of your capa-

is true even for people who play a lot at a high level. You need to be

bilities and of the game. Most important is an acceptance of what’s

able to be pleased about what happened. It’s a question of attitude:

going to happen. You need to be true to the game: if you make a

you understand and you accept what the experience will be.

mistake, you accept it. If you are tempted to pretend it didn’t hap-

The best part is that you enjoy it even more as you age. Young

pen, don’t. You would only be stealing from yourself.

players mature in their skills very quickly, but along with the skills you need understanding. The first and most difficult opponent is yourself; then comes the course. So you try: try to gain a small

Does golf have values or lessons that apply to other parts of life?

advantage, a stroke here or there. No matter what your level, if you

Golf is a tremendous school for life. Every time you step up to the

gain that advantage, you can feel you’ve won a victory.

tee, you are part of a living tradition. It puts you right in front of yourself every day: it shows that there is a right and a wrong way to

Switzerland has many sporting achievements for a small

compete and succeed. You learn how to act properly with yourself

country; why are there so few Swiss golfers at the top level?

and others and it becomes part of your personal growth.

It’s a big concern. Our younger players are working hard, getting support at an earlier age, gaining international experience. But they have very intense studies at just the same age when they need to develop most as golfers. You do what your studies demand, but that is time away from golf. Of course studies offer some certainty about making a living later; golf doesn’t. You run a golf school: how do you transmit skills? The most important thing we can pass on is passion. To fully understand why this game has been around for so long. It takes a long time to learn: even with video equipment, 3D assessment, biomechanics, if you start today, you will be a beginner for ten years. But the intriguing part of the story is learning about yourself, your response to success and failure, You learn something every time you go out on the course. It’s improving, always improving. I’ve played for forty years and I’m still learning.

“The most important thing we can pass on is passion.”


BRANDS, PEOPLE & LOVE

THE WANDERFUL TAKE Change the Game The closer you look, the more interesting life is. Throw out the new bag of gleaming, anonymous clubs and grasp the mashie-niblick with its wealth of history; it has lessons to teach you. Seen through the right eyes, a walk around eighteen holes becomes a journey to self-knowledge. Confidence and acceptance, always improving, always learning‌ makes your world Wanderful.

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THE WANDERFUL MAG

A publication by Ander Group SA, BSW Contributors Florian Anderhub, Editor in Chief Luciano Marx, Art Direction Simona Tami, Director of Photography Alberto Bernasconi, Photography Publisher Ander Group SA, BSW Lugano, Lausanne, Geneva T. +41 91 966 99 66 hello@wanderfulmag.com All rights reserved, 2015

wanderfulmag.com

The Wanderful Mag, Issue 4 Q1 2015  

Paolo Quirici, Switzerland’s most successful professional golfer, World Hickory Champion and Sport Director at the Swiss Golf Association (A...

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