Kenny G, as well as being one of the biggest-selling musical artists of all-time, is also a dab hand at golf. With over 75 million album sales the world over, his creative influence has garnered the attention of various United States presidents, many of whom have shared notes with him over a round or two.
That’s helped the 63-year-old become one of the best amateur celebrity golfers – he even clinched the 2007 AT&T Pro-Am title when playing alongside Phil Mickelson. Kenny tells us of his love for golf and the famous people he has played with and met along the (fair)way…
RSNG Is there any synchronicity between music and golf? KENNY G, MUSICIAN & GOLFER ‘Well, I would say that there isn’t anything better than my music to accompany the swing in golf! But with regards to practising… with musical instruments, it’s like most other things in life – the more that you practise, the better you get.’
‘However, it’s not always like that in golf, frustratingly. With the game of golf, what you put into practice, you get out – so, if you practise in the right way, then you will improve your game. But if you don’t train or learn the right way, then you could actually get worse. You have to do everything right.’
RSNG How did you become involved in golf for the first time? KG ‘My older brother played, and it came to the point where I was about 10 years old and I really just wanted to spend more time with my him, so to do that, I thought I would join him in playing golf.’
‘We lived in Seattle, so we played around the public courses around that time and playing so much golf, I enjoyed it. It helped me to get onto my high school golf team and I’ve never stopped playing since then.’
RSNG Who are your favourite players to watch? KG ‘I have always liked watching Tiger Woods and I think that we are so fortunate to be around at the time he has been playing his best golf. The distance that Tiger, and a lot of the players around today, can hit the ball is just absolutely phenomenal and really, they are playing a different game to the rest of us.’
‘I’d like to think that I have a good golf game and my furthest drive, I would say, is around the 250-yard range. So, if Tiger and the rest of the big professional players are going over 300 yards, there’s not a huge amount you can do to compete with that. You have to excel in other areas on the course.’
‘If I could drive anywhere close to 300 yards, I would be going under par every round that I play!’
Golf is not a sport where shortcuts can buy your way to success
RSNG How has golf helped you in your life? KG ‘The great thing about golf is that the types of people I have met along the way. Had I not played the game, I may probably have never even seen these people in real life.’
‘I’ve played with one of the greatest golfers and sportsmen that has ever existed – Arnold Palmer. I’ve played golf with a couple of Presidents of the United States in Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. I didn’t get the chance to play golf with President Obama and I wish that I would have.’
‘But, the good thing is that you get to know these people a little bit more and money doesn’t set you apart. And by that I mean golf is not a sport where shortcuts can buy your way to success.’
‘The only way to play well and to have a good swing, is to work at it in the right way and if you are a good golfer, the man in the street who plays or the mega-famous people, will respect you just the same and that’s a good feeling when they do.’
I would say that Trump is better than Clinton at golf, but I am better than both of them, haha!
RSNG Who was better out of you and the two presidents that you did play against? KG ‘Me! Haha! Clinton loves the game and he’s not a bad player and I will also say to you that if he hits a shot that he doesn’t like, that won’t stop him from using four-letter words to describe it!’
‘But that is a good thing because it means you can really be comfortable playing, and everyone needs that. It doesn’t make you feel so guilty if you feel like doing that yourself and, let me tell you what, I’m not alone in that, just like everyone else is.’
‘I would say that Trump is better than Clinton at golf, but I am better than both of them, haha! However, the difference is that I do get more time to practise, to play and to fine-tune if I need to, whereas the President of the United States has a few more things in his daily planner than I do, so I am pretty fortunate that way.’
‘Trump is a good player. Obviously before he became President he was able to play a lot more than he does now. I would say that he could be the best golfing President of recent times.’
‘Also, the thing is that when you play with people such as Presidents, professional golfers, actors, players of other sports and even other musicians, there is always one common denominator – golf.’
‘You don’t really speak about anything other than golf and that’s really what brings us all together.’
WHAT NEXT? Want to see how good Kenny G really is at golf?