James Taylor spoke to The Filthy Lipout Podcast about how his love for golf inadvertently started, after a major heart condition caused him to retire early.
“Golf Just Grabbed Me” – Former Cricketer James Taylor On His Love For The Game
James Taylor, a former cricket player, played over 30 times for England during his career.
However, a serious heart condition, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), forced Taylor into an early retirement when he was just 26-years-old in April 2016.
The batsman instead chose to pick up a golf club at the start of 2017, and has played the sport for the last four-and-a-half years.
After suffering ARVC, Taylor couldn’t exercise properly without the danger of the problem flaring up again, so turned to golf for the release he so desperately needed.
Speaking on The Filthy Lipout Podcast, Taylor spoke about how golf replaced his beloved cricket.
“I got on the range and I thought how easy was this?” Taylor told the podcast.
“Then I got on the course, and I’m a professional sportsman, I shouldn’t be gunning balls to the right, to the left, just a few yards in front of me.
“After being out on the range thinking this is easy, I was so embarrassed the first few months – I wouldn’t play with anybody and I would only play the same course.
“Golf just grabbed me, the one thing I was missing after cricket was a release, and I had no release because I couldn’t drink or exercise.
“Golf was the one thing I could do, and that I could challenge myself at another sport.”
While the topic of conversation moved to the mentality it takes for players to make the correct decision in the right moment, Taylor spoke how sticking to a select few is actually more rewarding in the long-term.
“In golf you’ve got all the shots, but I’m just a lot worse at some and I don’t choose to play them unless I really have to – that’s what it comes down to – just a strong mindset, which has helped me cross over from cricket into golf.
“I transferred the skills I knew in cricket.
“In golf, I appreciate that jus getting it done, it doesn’t matter how, it’s how many [shots] – that’s how I lived in cricket and how I live in golf now.
“I’m learning all the time, four-and-a-half years in and I love playing because I love learning.
“Every opportunity to get out on the course, finding a new shot or finding something new is brilliant.
“I didn’t want to overcomplicate things at the beginning with my coach because you could rip my technique apart.
“I just focussed on a few basic fundamentals that I could understand, get that bedded in, then move onto the next thing.
Now a head scout for the England cricket team, Taylor’s role in the England set up used to be as a selector for the national team.”
This new role meant he couldn’t play golf with the England team as often, though he still managed to discuss some of the players’ ability.
“I did used to play with the England guys more often, but I can’t play with them as much, I actually don’t want to.
“When we go on tour I play with the boys a lot and there’s some really good golfers – they’re all off about eight, Jimmy Anderson is off about five or six.”
Taylor is clearly a big lover of the sport, and proceeded to tell a compelling story about how he woke up at 5am with Australian cricketers Aaron Finch, Travis Head, and Glenn Maxwell to play a round of golf, on the morning of a game against England in 2020.
“I was commentating on Australia England at the time, in Hobart, and we got up at 5am, went and played golf, teed off at 6.30am, had our 18 holes, then we all went back to bed.
“I commentated on the game, but they played against England.
“Maxwell, who cost me £100 from the golf, got 100 off 50 balls after getting up at 5am and playing 18 holes.
“It wasn’t a bad warm-up.”
Listen to the full Filthy Lipout episode: