Selecting next-best thing to playing

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Bright future . . . Michael Ormandy is looking forward to his new role with New Zealand Golf. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O'CONNOR

Q: How does it feel to be a national selector?
I actually thought I might have been a little bit out of my depth when I went for it. They approached me and asked if I’d stick my name in the hat. I’ve only really sort of started
selecting teams in Otago. I’ve done junior teams and I’ve taken on the women’s role over
the last year. It’s hopefully just something I will fit into. The incumbent in Wellington has been in the role for eight or nine years, so he’ll be able to show me the ropes.
Q: What exactly will the role entail?
I’ve got to go to six or seven events a year. Most will be in the South Island. We name four
national teams every year, and then there’s the Eisenhower Trophy every second year.
That’s going to be pretty exciting. It’s a massive privilege to be able to name people to play for their country. I can only dream of what it’s like to play for your country, but getting to select other people feels like the next-best thing.
Q: Selecting a golf team – surely just a matter of picking the players who shoot the lowest scores?
There’s a bit more to it than that. We put quite a big emphasis on how people behave, on and off the golf course. And how they perform mentally on the golf course.
Body language, that sort of stuff. Ultimately, yeah, scoring is the cream, so to speak.
Q: How long have you been with Sport Otago?
About a year and three months. It’s really good. Ironically, all our golf development funding across the county had just been cut when I got the selection role, so things are a wee bit uncertain going forward.
Q: Is Otago golf in a good state?
Yeah, it is. We’ve got quite a lot of good players coming through. The senior men’s team has done really well, too.

 

Q: Is it getting harder to attract youngsters into golf?
Definitely. It’s a big challenge for everyone. You try to make it fun. And it’s also about breaking down those barriers that have existed in golf. You know, that perception of turning up at a golf club and being turned away if your shirt doesn’t have a collar or you’re wearing the wrong shoes. We want people to turn up, play a quick nine holes after work or whatever, and have fun.
Q: How much golf are you playing yourself?
Heaps. I played a lot last year. I’m at St Clair, and we won the metro pennants, which was a bit of a buzz. I also made Otago teams for eight-man and 10-man tournaments, and just missed out on the top quintet. I actually had a game at St Andrew’s in Scotland last year. The Old Course. That was pretty cool.
Q: Any course on the bucket list?
Definitely Augusta. But in terms of accessibility, Royal Melbourne would be at the top of my list.
Q: What do you consider the highlight of your career?
I won the Otago foursomes a couple of years ago with a good friend from Southland. The club champs in North Otago were pretty high. And just playing for Otago. I represented the schoolboys, under-18, under-19 and under-21.
Q: Any regrets or laments?
Yeah, there’s a few regrets there. When I look back at when I was between 18 and 20 … if I’d really given it a go then instead of doing other stuff. It’s quite disappointing, really. By the time you get to 22 or 23 in golf, you’ve missed the boat sometimes.
Q: You’ve also played a bit of cricket over the years?
I’m stranded on about 87 senior games for Union. I wanted to get to 100 but travelling up and down from Dunedin every weekend got tough last year.