Roland Schoeman is a decorated 35-year-old South African swimmer hoping for a record fifth Olympic Games appearance in Rio later this year. He has held nine world records and was a member of the 4x100m freestyle team that won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. In total he has three Olympic medals, five long-course world championship medals and 12 Commonwealth Games records. He chatted with Compleat Golfer about his other love: all things golf.
What is your lowest round score?
I shot 78 at Royal Johannesburg. It was the pro-am for the Joburg Open. I partnered with Seve Benson and couldn’t have hit the ball better. We actually ended up winning the pro-am.
Who would play with you in your ideal fourball?
I’d have to say Tim Clark, Mark Wahlberg and Brian McFadden. Tim and Brian are friends of mine and are a ton of fun to play with. I think adding Mark Wahlberg would cap it off. I don’t imagine there’d be a dull moment out there.
Do you have a favourite club in your bag?
It would be a toss up between my 60 degree Taylor Made wedge or my putter. My wedge is my go-to club around the green and I normally back myself to get up and down. My putter, on the other hand, is handmade by an old man in Japan. The craftsmanship is incredible. I love the look and feel of it.
Who is the ‘worst’ golfer you have played with?
Without a doubt my good friend Pat. He’s got the biggest fade I’ve ever seen, but he makes it work for him. However, it’s not his swing that makes him the worst. There have been plenty of occasions when he has thrown his golf club and fallen to the ground. More often than not the club goes further than the ball went.
What’s the strongest part of your game?
Chipping and putting.
What has been the most memorable golfing experience for you?
Getting to walk the fairways of Augusta for four days and watch my friend Trevor Immelman win The Masters.
Who is the best golfer you have played with?
I’ve been fortunate enough to play with some amazing golfers, but probably the best ball striker is Tim Clark. He is one of the best and most underrated South African golfers.
What is it about golf that you love so much?
The challenge, I think if you’re successful in sport, or business, you naturally expect there to be a carry-over. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing. Golf is the most humbling game. One minute you think you’ve figured it out, the next thing you realise that’s the furthest from the truth.
Do you have any superstitions when it comes to golf?
Fortunately not. I understand how some people have superstitions but I don’t believe my success or failure is dependent on some item or belief, on something other than myself.
What’s the best courses you have played?
Steyn City, Fancourt, Silverleaf.
What is your handicap?
It’s 11, but my goal is to get it below three.
What other sportsmen or celebrities have you played with who are worth a mention?
I had the opportunity to play 24-odd holes with Brian McFadden at the Gary Player Invitational. He was a riot to play with. Incredibly funny guy and he hits it a mile. I’m looking forward to our next round or two together.