Always one with a curious mind and a thirst for knowledge, Ted’s been keeping a close eye on the gentlemanly world of golf since the release of his first golfwear collection earlier this year. Impressed by the dedication and style of play of young golfer Richard Mansell after a chance encounter on the fairway, Ted decided to make him his first golf ambassador, just as Mansell turns pro. In golf, as in life, timing is everything. Read on to find out more about this talented sportsman, and how his humble approach to the sport has seen him rise to the top in the most unexpected of ways.
How did you get started with golf?
I’ve always been involved with sport from a young age. My first experiences in golf were thanks to my Dad who would always take me down to the driving range. I’d be there with my Dad and all his friends watching them hitting it hundreds of yards and trying to match them. I was just a typical young boy really, in that I enjoyed trying to hit the ball as hard as I could.
I was a big fan of football as well and if you’d have asked me as a kid what I was going to be when I grew up, I’d have said a professional footballer. I always thought I was a better footballer than a golfer but everybody else would tell me the opposite. When I was about 12, Staffordshire County Golf approached me and wanted me to represent them; that was the spark that saw me start to take golf a lot more seriously.
When did you realise you were pretty good – or was it through years of practice?
When I first got picked up by the County, my handicap was a lot higher than it should have been, and suddenly I found myself beating players with much more experience and a lower handicap than me. That’s when my confidence began building and I fell in love with it really.
Who are your sporting heroes?
I’ve always looked up to Roger Federer. His record on the court is pretty much unparalleled but it’s more his attitude and manner which has stuck with me most, since first watching him in my teenage years. His manner in defeat and in victory is a real lesson to anyone in sport.
My golfing hero would have to be Seve Ballesteros. I was actually fortunate enough to meet him when I was 11 and have a chat with him and he signed a picture of mine. I always loved the way he played; he went against the grain in so many ways. He was well before his time in that way and he led the way for many of the less traditional and more aggressive players that you see today.
Tell me a bit about the day you scored that 58 in Fort Lauderdale? How did you feel when you realised you’d set that record?
I was playing in a charity pro-am with a couple of American businessman and it actually didn’t get off the best start as I made a bogey on the front nine. When there isn’t much riding on it, you can go out and be fearless. I played very aggressively and soon enough everything started to fall into place. I was making every putt possible from anywhere on the green. I shot five-under on the front nine with a bogey but most importantly, I wasn’t aware of what was going on really throughout as I was so in the zone and focused on the round.
The funniest part though is when I signed the car after, I thought I’d shot 60 and was obviously over the moon with that. But then about half an hour after, it came up that I had shot 58 and we counted it back to make sure and it was. I remember thinking ‘what has just happened?!’ It was a really big moment for me though, as it showed that the sky really was the limit. If I was capable of achieving that just when I was playing to enjoy myself and letting it happen, then who knows what could be possible in the future?
What’s been your biggest professional challenge so far?
The biggest challenge for me has been the adjustment I’ve had to make from playing constantly in glorious weather on courses in the States to the slightly more variable conditions that we have back at home! I know I have been spoilt in recent so it has been an enjoyable challenge to get back to battling the wind and rain on a grey Tuesday in the UK. The guys I have been up against have been playing here for the last few years so to come away with two top-ten finishes in my first four professional events has been great.
Is there a big difference in how the younger generation of golfers are dressing (and playing) compared to the older guys?
There’s more of a fearlessness these days: younger players now aren’t afraid to show off their personality on the course, both in how they play and what they wear. Players look to stand out from the crowd now and I would say I am no different. The game is being modernised so it is a really exciting time to be a part of the sport.
You’ve played all over the world; have you ever come across any unusual club dress codes?
Oh yes, there are plenty! There was one club in the States where if you wanted to wear shorts then you had to wear white sport socks pulled up right over your ankles. I’ve also been to places where they have even restricted the colours that you can wear.
What’s your favourite piece of golfwear ever and why?
For me, the biggest part of my golfwear is my trousers. I’m tall yet skinny and traditional golfing trousers always tend to have a wider leg than I would like. Thankfully Ted Baker trousers solve that problem for me, as their fitting is slightly slimmer than the average golf trouser, with a more contemporary style.
Have you always been a fan of Ted? Do you remember the first piece you bought?
I’ve always been a fan, yes, and frequently visit my local store at the Birmingham Bullring. I think my wardrobe is full of Ted’s chinos already as the fit is so important to me as well as the subtle little features on the turn-ups which reflects their refined style with a touch of personality as well.
How would you describe your style?
People who know me will laugh at this question as it’s fair to say I am very style-conscious. I like to present myself well and my go-to look is quite a professional, smart one. Winter is my favourite season as I like wearing lots of layers as it gives you a lot of flexibility in what you can do with your look. With regards to a style icon, I’d say it’s hard to look at anyone other than David Beckham as he has always been someone who has his own iconic style but doesn’t try and shout about it from the rooftops.
Have you had any fashion mistakes?
Like any other sporty teenager, I have to hold my hands up to an over-reliance on tracksuits in my teenage years! It would drive my family mad as we’d be heading out for a meal together and I’d come downstairs looking like I was about to go and have a kick-about with my mates. Thankfully those days are behind me!
What’s your favourite piece from Ted’s golfwear collection and why?
One of my bugbears on course is always taking off and putting on layers of clothing. Being out there for almost five hours at a time, you can go through all sorts of conditions in just one round so I’ve found Ted’s gilets to be the perfect go-between when the weather is variable. In general though, the collection isn’t afraid to show off its own personality and it’s that fearlessness that I think makes myself and Ted a good fit.
What’s next for you?
2018 is going to be my first full year as a professional so it is a really exciting time. I’ll be playing lots in the UK on the PGA EuroPro Tour as well as some events in the Middle East. It’ll be an important year as I look to try and force myself onto either the Challenge or European Tour for 2019. I’m feeling good and swinging well and heading out on tour dressed #TedtoToe can only help!
Discover the full Ted Baker Golf collection HERE.