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  1. Wealth
July 20, 2023

Annika Sörenstam on golf, gold and goals

Midas interview: Annika Sörenstam, one of golf’s all-time greats, on her tennis dreams, computer programming and learning how to invest

By Edwin Smith

How much is an ounce of gold?

As far as value, I couldn’t tell you. But I know I would rather have an ounce of gold than an ounce of flour.

How did you spend your first pay cheque?

I picked up balls on the driving range; then, when I was a bit older, I worked in the pro shop. The first thing I bought with my money was a wedge. My parents bought one set of clubs. I got the odds [9 iron, 7 iron, 5 iron etc] and my sister got the evens.

So that’s what I saved my money for: that particular lob wedge. It was a really big deal, to work hard and then spend your money on something you wanted.

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[See also: Toasting the new Spear’s Property Index at Annabel’s]

Did you always want to be a golfer?

Growing up I was a downhill skier. Then I played tennis. I started competing when I was five; Bjorn Borg was my hero. I wanted to be a tennis player, but my backhand is still crap. I was a late bloomer in golf: I didn’t start playing until I was 12, and I didn’t focus on it until 16.

What drove you?

Other than the love of the game, it was wanting to get better. I’m very goal-driven… I love the journey of putting in the effort and getting better. I’ve always been a numbers person, too. My dad worked for IBM and he would put us in computer summer school, where I learned programming.

We didn’t have Excel, so I created my own Excel-like program and that’s how I started implementing statistics in my golf – in 1987!

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Annika Sörenstam playing golf
Annika Sörenstam at the Ladies LPGA golf Tour, Stockbridge, Georgia, in 2006 / Image: Shutterstock

Are you driven by other things now?

I’m a little bit of an entrepreneur; that’s what’s exciting to me now. Whatever we do, I analyse what we did, what we could have done better and how we can move forward. It’s just like a puzzle: you put the pieces in place.

Do you live to work or work to live?

I would say I work really, really hard. Because I know that’s what it takes in golf. And I mean, I don’t like losing, right? I want to do well. The last thing I want is to just do something halfway.

[See also: One Green Way Invitational welcomes golf legends at Portugal’s Quinta do Lago]

Are you a saver or a spender?

I’m a saver.

Maybe I’ve loosened up a little, but I’m not a materialistic person. I like to invest. I’m a big investor.

I remember, in 1997, I had $1 million in my bank account. It was great that I had $1 million, but I knew you shouldn’t have that much money in the bank. I didn’t have anyone to give me advice about that type of thing, so I bought Investing for Dummies.

I read it through and realised you should invest, especially when you’re young.

So I started to invest and bought every blue-chip in America – I bought IBM because my dad worked for IBM. I invest the way I play on the golf course: fairway, green; fairway, green. I’m not chipping through the trees.

What’s your worst trait?

I’m really hard on myself. I mentor several players and I always tell them: ‘Give yourself a break.’ I think I need to listen to that advice myself. Sometimes I work so hard that I just crash. So finding the middle ground, that’s what I would like to do.

[See also: Anne Robinson: Happiness is not an ongoing state]

What’s the trait you most admire in others?

To me, trust is important. Also people who are funny and have a good energy about them. And being hard-working. Those are the three that come to mind. I can’t stand people who are fake. I’m upfront, you know: call a spade a spade.

Life is too short to hang out with people who are negative and energy-draining. I don’t want to sound negative, but life is too precious.

What are you most looking forward to?

Spending time with my family. I love my family, I really do. I called the kids today and my son Will asked what I shot. I told him: four over. He gave a sigh [she laughs], but it really doesn’t matter what I shoot.

I have a wonderful family and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Annika Sörenstam was speaking at the One Green Way Invitational, a unique pro-am golf tournament staged in partnership with One Green Way, a collection of 89 luxury residences at Quinta do Lago, the luxury gated community on Portugal’s Algarve. 

onegreenway.pt

Select and enter your email address The short, sharp email newsletter from Spear’s
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Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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