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Meet the Golfer: Stephen Lindskog

By: Daniel Kasenda

Meet Stephen Lindskog. Local Swedish pro and former Volvo Masters of Malaysia winner.

Stephen LindskogHI STEPHEN, PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
Hi, my name is Stephen Lindskog, born in Nigeria and raised in Sweden. I’m a professional golfer and turned pro in 1990.

FIRSTLY, I’D LIKE TO ASK YOU WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE LATEST MASTERS. DID YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLAYER IN THE TOURNAMENT?
It was a good tournament, and I’m glad that Australia got their first win in the Masters. And of course, I had a favourite, Tiger Woods! I think he played very well but it was not meant to be. He was in the top five and I think that it was a good finish.

HOW DOES A PRO LIKE YOURSELF GET INTO GOLF?
Well, I got into golf because of my dad. He made a rule that the family and I had to go with him to the golf course every weekend. This started way back when I was 13 years old, and I didn’t really have any choice because I had to follow them to the golf course whether I played or not. I would usually have to wait in the clubhouse until they were done, and then I thought why should I wait in the clubhouse doing nothing? So I decided to go out there and see what goes on the actual golf course. So for the first few rounds, I decided to caddy for my mum.

But I also saw my two brothers hitting the ball left and right, and so I asked my mum, “Aren’t they supposed to hit the ball in one area?” and my mum said yes. So I asked my brothers, “Why don’t you hit your ball in one area instead of going to the trees all the time?” Then they asked me to try to hit the ball myself. So I took the club and asked them how to hold the club. They replied to me, “You can’t even hold the club and you still want to hit the ball into the middle or to the area.”

So I took the club and took a swing, and totally missed the ball! My brothers fell on the ground laughing! I felt pretty ashamed but then I told my dad I really wanted to learn golf. That’s how I got into it.

WERE THERE ANY GOLFERS YOU LOOKED UP TO OR WERE INSPIRED BY?
When I began to get into the game of golf, and to understand what it’s all about, I admired Johnny Miller. I admired him because he was one of the best golfers during my time growing up as a golfer. I also admired Ben Hogan, and in modern  times, Tiger Woods. But Johnny Miller and Ben Hogan are my two favourites.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE YOUR STRENGTHS OR WEAKNESSES?
Hmm, that’s a good question because I wouldn’t say I’m strong in any area. But I wouldn’t say that I’m also weak in any area, either. I feel that I’m pretty much an all-round player, and that I can do almost anything. I can putt well, chip well, drive the ball well, and I don’t feel like I’m exactly weak or strong in one area. Also, whenever there’s a weakness, I always practice and improve myself. However, if I had to choose, maybe putting. Because I work so hard in putting, but it’s still pretty difficult to get good control with the putter.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR SWING? DO YOU FOLLOW SOMEONE’S STYLE LIKE TIGER WOODS?
My swing is old-school, Ben Hogan style. I went to golf school to get a degree, and in school they taught us about Ben Hogan. There, I learned the fundamentals and the old school style of golf.

Regarding Tiger Woods, he’s changed his swings and I’ve never changed mine. But Tiger is Tiger, and he can change his swing over and over again. I really don’t recommend it unless you’re Tiger Woods himself or if you can do it! But there’s really only one Tiger!

SO WHAT’S IN YOUR GOLF BAG? DO YOU CHANGE OFTEN OR DO CLUB FITTING?
Being a golf professional, I’ve been through many brands. I’ve worked with PING, Mizuno, TaylorMade, Spalding, and now I’m working with Nike. So in my golf bag, you’ll find Nike equipment and clubs. But I hardly change my drivers and I don’t replace my golf clubs often unless they’re broken. I sometimes get help on club fitting from my good friend, Wandy who has a shop, Big Fish Golf. That’s where I go to do my fittings and I’m happy with the work they do there.

I KNOW YOU’VE PLAYED IN A LOT OF GOLF TOURNAMENTS. DO YOU HAVE ANY MEMORABLE ONES?
Well, amateur and professional golf tournaments are so different. Amateur tournaments are fun because your family and friends are around you, so it’s kind of like a family thing. When it’s professional tournaments, you’re on our own, and you often have to travel alone. So professional tournaments are quite a different ball game. In both cases however, I have really great memories.

What really sparked my desire to become a professional golf player was my victory in Spain, when I won the Spanish Amateur Open (1989). That gave me the confidence to become a professional golfer. My best win and highlight of my career was the Volvo Masters in Malaysia (2000). That was really the highlight of my golf career, and I won in the playoffs, too. I remember that very well.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR 10-YEAR-OLD SON PAUL KCILINDSKOG. I SEE HE’S AN AVID GOLFER, AND A GOOD ONE, TOO.
Right now, I’m just introducing KCI to golf, and don’t have any plans for him to become a professional golfer. I’m just using golf to train and discipline my son, and hopefully for education. Golf has taught me so many things in life. But I can see he has made great progress in golf, and I’m surprised because it wasn’t really in my plans. He’s played in many junior golf tournaments, and he’s won a couple of them. Lately he won the qualification for the Junior Golf Championship in San Diego, and it’s going to be his third trip. And I’m impressed since he’s only 10 years old, and I remembered when I started golf at 13 years. It really is an eye opener for me, and we’ll see where he will end up, but there’s really no pressure on him, and I just wish him well.

SO HOW DID YOU END UP IN INDONESIA? AND WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE GOLF COURSE HERE?
I think I arrived here in 1996, and that was just for a Christmas vacation because my parents used to live and work here in Jakarta. I only came for a Christmas visit and now I’m here. I guess I’m still visiting! Regarding golf courses, I can’t pick one because there are so many good golf courses here in Indonesia. I like them all because they have their own different challenges. Each golf course here has its own character and a different way of playing, different toughness, different grass. So I love them all.

WHAT’S IT LIKE THEN LIVING HERE?
Well, Indonesia is a beautiful country. And I really love living here. I focus on what I can get out of the country, and also give back to the country. I can’t complain if I’ve lived here for 20 years, althoughI think that wasn’t in my plans. But I’m still here, which means I must really like the place and enjoy just doing my thing, that is golf. And really, if it wasn’t for golf, I don’t think I would be here.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND THE INTERVIEW, STEPHEN!

About Daniel Kasenda

Daniel is an avid golfer who enjoys the challenge of placing a small ball into a 4.25 inches-sized hole that's lying somewhere in the middle of an incredibly large open area filled with 'hazards'. He can usually be found playing in Pangkalan Jati Golf Club, his favourite golf course and childhood playground.

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