Ronan Keating is as passionate about golf as he is about music. He is currently on tour supporting his Time Of My Life album, but he says “I’d play golf every day if I could, but I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen.”
However next month that is exactly what he will be able to do as he tees up once again in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, an event which he describes as one of the highlights of his year. “I absolutely love it”, says the popular singer-songwriter. “To get the chance to play three great golf courses side-by-side with true professionals in a tournament set-up is unique and very very special.”
On the seven occasions he has played, Keating has certainly sampled some special golfing highs, particularly in 2008 when he and professional partner Graeme Storm led the Team Championship for two rounds. “Making the cut with Graeme and being in contention during the final round on the Sunday was a real buzz.
“Last year I partnered Lee Westwood and played with Branden Grace, Ben Ang and Charl Schwartzel. It doesn’t get much better than that. My 40-foot putt on the last at Carnoustie was even caught on camera,” he said.
Dublin-born Keating burst onto the music scene in the mid-1990s with Boyzone, enjoying six UK No.1 singles before beginning a solo career with hits such as When You Say Nothing At All and Life Is A Rollercoaster.
Keating’s career seriously interrupts his golf. “Unfortunately golf does not fit in as often as I would like. I’m lucky if I get to play two or three times a month. When we’re on tour I try and get a relaxing round with my wife Storm. I’ll certainly try and get a few practice rounds in before the Alfred Dunhill Links.”
The Championship is played over three courses, the Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns and Keating is a massive fan. “They’re all great. Carnoustie is true testing links golf, Kingsbarns is a stunning design and St Andrews is simply the Home of Golf. They really are all truly exceptional. With links golf, it’s tough if the wind blows, but I love it.”
After a flavour of leading the Team Championship in 2008, is he looking to repeat that? Is he a competitive golfer?
“Of course. Aren’t we all?” he said. “You’ve got to take in the surroundings as it really is a special tournament, but I’m pretty good at focusing when I have to.”