Golfer focuses on marriage, coaching

Last updated 15:23 14/12/2013
lynette brooky
MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ

Home, sweet home: Lynnette Booky at her Paremata home, in the office she shares with her partner Ian Godleman.

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It would be fun to play a round of golf with Lynnette Brooky.

She could elaborate on her love of german shepherd dogs, her upcoming televised wedding to a coaching guru, her days as a rebel, her impressions of Lydia Ko and how she spent her millions.

It's early in the morning, but Brooky is in full swing.

She is 45 years old and living in Paremata, with her soon-to-be husband, Ian Godleman, the former coach of many top professionals, most notably the late, great Seve Ballesteros.

Brooky is semi-retired. These days she prefers coaching to playing and plans to set up a quality academy at the Titahi Bay Golf Club.

She's been to see Porirua City Mayor Nick Leggett for support, she plans to speak to local Maori about extending the length of the nine-hole Bay course, she wants to coach anyone from the next Lydia Ko to an 86-year-old grandmother.

Godleman came along at a good time for Brooky.

"I met him the day mum was getting buried.

"Her request was I play the British Open [2006]. That day I was on the range hitting balls and he was talking to my manager about how bad my golf swing was and it needed fixing."

Things have progressed. Brooky is in awe of Godleman's teaching philosophies. The pair run teaching schools in Greece, South Africa, Mauritius and San Diego and also take tours to Fiji, where they stay in five-star accommodation.

They clearly love their golf. They are co-writing a book, with Brooky penning the front nine chapters and Godleman the back nine.

And in April they will marry on the 19th green at the Legends Golf Resort in South Africa, located about 200km north of Pretoria.

The course is famous for its holes being designed by players in the world's top 20 at the time, including Kiwi Michael Campbell.

The 19th hole has legendary status in the game - players require a helicopter ride to the tee, with the green situated 400m below in the shape of a map of South Africa.

"Ian really wanted to get married there and one day I gave in to the idea.

"We will be the first couple to get married there and they are apparently going to put it on national TV."

Brooky exits the stage as Ko enters it. Brooky had nine professional wins, including back-to-back French Opens. She was 12th in the 2002 US Open and 14th in the 2003 British Open.

She realised it was time to scale back her playing career last year.

"If you look at the players on the course these days, they are all around 20.

"You have to wake up and let the show go to another floor. Let the floor go to another girl.

"I think Lydia Ko is going to be one of the greatest players of all time.

"I got to meet her the other day. I gave her a cuddle.

"At the New Zealand Open most of the Korean kids that were following her were handing out little white bags and I said, 'can I have one of those', because I thought they were lollies, but they were full of vitamins to help them grow. They are trying to get there real quick.

"At the Aussie Open, I saw Lydia practise really hard and play really good and I thought 'wow'. Thank God someone in New Zealand is finally ready to take over from me. I said to Ian, 'I want to retire and coach with you'."

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Brooky has been married once before. She likes children to learn manners but has no kids of her own. She loves the obedience of german shepherd dogs, having had one previously.

Despite 20 years on the golf circuit, her body is in good shape. She is sore today, but only because of hours spent in the garden.

She likes the fact that she can look out the window of her home on Paremata hill and see the first tee at Titahi Bay, where "me and Michael [Campbell] learned to play".

Her home is high above the Mobil Service Station and the first she has owned. Twenty years on the circuit is a costly exercise and she has spent lots on sports psychology.

Perhaps Brooky didn't get the recognition she deserved. She did make headlines for turning up to amateur golf tournaments in and around Wellington clad in black leathers and sitting on a 600cc Kawasaki motorcycle.

She remembers the time well, especially one day at the Hutt club.

"They [golf officials] said to me, it is either golf or the bike.

"I chose golf, but I left a black mark on the driveway because I smoked it up. I was a rebel. I wasn't naughty. I was always respectful.

"I've got no regrets. I did ride a motorbike. I did have fun. There were some lonely times, a few wins slipped through my fingers but it was good.

"I'm just looking forward to the next phase of my life now, marriage and teaching."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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