Sun. May 19th, 2024


By admin May6,2024

Former Formula One champion Damon Hill recalls his favourite holiday hotspots and favourite golfing destinations. Interview Matt Nicholson

I first picked up a golf club when… I was about 10 or 11. Golf has always been a big part of our family’s life. I’ve got a photograph of my granddad playing in the 1920s when he was the captain of Mill Hill Golf Club in London.

My dad [double F1 World Champion, Graham] took up golf after he broke his legs in an accident and he needed to do something to keep himself active.

He couldn’t run, so he took up golf. I started following him around on the course and we watched golf on telly together, so I got into it that way.

I just started thrashing away and everyone used to say, ‘Oh, he’s got a lovely swing’, which was the worst thing they could have said because I thought I’d cracked it. So, after that I never bothered to have any proper lessons – and that was a big mistake.

Graham Hill (1929 – 1975) with Damon at the Silverstone in 1967 Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


My favourite golf course abroad is… Royal Melbourne. There are so many great courses all over world, but whenever I’m working at the FI in Australia we always try and get a game in at Royal Melbourne Golf Club. It’s a sand belt course and has a very linksy feel.

I’m also a big fan of Yas Links in Abu Dhabi. Surprise, surprise, it’s also right next to the F1 track, so I’m often able to nip out there and get a quick round in in the morning before we start filming, which is a beautiful time to play as it’s nice and cool.

The 13th hole at Yas Links in Abu Dhabi


My favourite course in the UK is… Hankley Common in Surrey. I’m a member there, so I’m somewhat biased, but it’s a lovely course and is always in great nick all year round, which is very important given our wet winters.

I’m also a big fan of the Downs Course at Goodwood. The views are amazing, the course has a great variety of holes, and you always get well looked after in the clubhouse.


My ideal holiday for ball would include… the same group of guys I’ve been playing golf with for the last 20-30 years. They know who they are!

Royal Melbourne


My most recent holiday was to…. Mauritius. It was technically part of a golf trip to play in the Legends Tour’s Celebrity Series Grand Final, but I took my wife Georgie, so I’m going to count it as a holiday! We stayed at the Constance Belle Mare Plage Resort, which was fantastic.


My most memorable round… It might sound a bit odd, but I have great memories of playing Hankley Common on my own a few years ago.

I went round in about 21/2 hours and shot 75. I had only intended to play nine holes, but I just got into the zone and just carried on and played the full 18.

Having lived most of my life at well over 100 miles an hour I find golf can be very slow, so the fact that I could just whizz round without having to wait for other people really helped my game.

Goodwood Downs 7th hole


The highlight of my golfing career to date was… playing with Seve Ballesteros at The Oxfordshire. I was complete in awe. He was an absolute god in golfing terms and was a perfect gentleman, too. It’s always nice when your heroes turn out to be nice people.


The best hotel I’ve ever stayed in is… the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo. I stayed there the same night that I won the 1996 World Championship, so I was it also memorable for that reason alone, but I was staying in a huge suite which had a grand piano and a boardroom, so it was all pretty crazy.

It was on one of the top floors, so it had this amazing view overlooking Tokyo. It’s where they later filmed scenes for Lost in Translation.

Grand Hyatt Tokyo

My most memorable meal…. was in a sushi restaurant in the same Grand Hyatt in Tokyo. It was a sushi banquet, with course after course of the most amazing sushi and sashimi. Fresh tuna, salmon and yellowtail.

I’m a vegetarian now, but at the time, I wasn’t, and it an was incredible meal. I just remember waking up the following morning feeling massively invigorated probably because of all the protein I’d eaten!

Hankley Common is Damon Hill’s home club


My favourite city in the world is… London. It’s my hometown and there’s always something to see and do and I just love walking around the streets and taking it all in. Further afield, I love Barcelona, and Melbourne is a great city too.


My top travel tip is… to get lost. Get out there and explore. Don’t over plan things and miss out on the opportunity to stumble across something new. Whenever I’m booked into a hotel on my travels I just have to get out of my room and see what’s out there.



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