A driving force

TV, stage and radio stalwart Nicholas Parsons took up golf in his later years and he’s never looked back.

Nicholas Parsons took up golf seriously in his 50s and, 30 years on, he can still occasionally be found at the driving range or taking part in a celebrity charity match.

Golf was a gentler alternative to the sports he had played earlier in life, such as squash and cricket, but the game also fitted around the actor and presenter’s showbusiness commitments.

“I could play golf in the day, and then work in the theatre at night,” he says.

Parsons felt it was important to get expert tuition in technique early on. “It’s the only sport I have had professional tuition in, but it’s the antithesis of most other sports in that you have a stationary rather than moving ball and it’s all about hitting it in a way that is technically correct.”

However, much of golf’s appeal for Parsons is in its social side.

“There’s a sort of relaxation about golf. You have to concentrate but you can chat with other players while walking down the fairway and I think that’s the nice thing about it.”

To keep in shape, Parsons stretches most mornings and uses an exercise bike and the only obstacle to getting out on the golf course is the fact that he’s so busy working. Just A Minute, the Radio 4 show he hosts, is 45 this year, and he is also preparing for his one-man comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

“I’ve always pushed myself to keep going. The more you make an effort in life, and in sport, the longer you’ll keep going.”

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