In his role as Captain of the Hong Kong Golf Club, John Ball had no finer seat in the house as Ian Poulter took the applause and the winner’s cheque following his magnificent win at the recent Hong Kong Open. But on meeting the 55-year- old you’re left certain that even without the formal duties to perform, he would have been pretty close to the final day’s action anyway.
“[Golf is] truly a game for life and I'm every bit as motivated in playing and competing today as I was when starting out some 35 years ago,” says Ball, a three- handicapper, who, work permitting, is looking forward to playing in a number of senior amateur events around the region now that he’s age qualified. “I still love to practice and with technological improvements I can still just about compete with the youngsters. I don't know any other sport that provides that competitive longevity. My game is always work in progress and I still have regular lessons in the forlorn hope of improving my swing.’’
Ball’s game – like most – started with a little experimentation and with the sort of curiosity that can only come with youth.
“My first swing was at around 12 years old at a family friend's house, hitting balls over the garden fence into an adjoining field,’’ says Ball, who was born and brought up in the southeastern English county of Kent. “I started playing regularly from my late teens when golf replaced cricket as my chosen sport. The cricket club I played for had a nine-hole pitch and putt course within its facilities and I soon found myself spending more time swinging a club than wielding a bat.”