Published: 20/10/2017 12:06 - Updated: 20/10/2017 12:21

Getting into the swing - music and golf are being put together

covsea music franz golfFRANZ Rolinck’s dream is that, instead of pills, GPs will one day start prescribing a round of golf.

As well as the sport’s obvious physical benefits of fresh air and exercise, the Forres resident reckons the sport is uniquely able to improve people’s mental health.

That’s why people are being invited along to Covesea Golf Course tomorrow as part of the Moray Feelgood Festival.

As an amateur, Franz played several times for the German national team. But then, nearly three decades ago, he was involved in a car crash which changed his life overnight.

Although Franz managed to overcome his physical whiplash injuries, the effects the accident wrought on his mental well-being lasted much longer.

Before, he had been a highly successful multinational businessman within the plastics engineering industry. But after the crash he was forced to resign because he had suddenly and inexplicably lost all confidence in himself.

In addition, Franz’s ability to play golf also declined dramatically.

He recalled: "When you’ve been a scratch handicap, going round a course in 72 shots, it’s incredibly frustrating to not even be able to break 90 any more.

"It got to the point where I was scared to hit the ball. The anxiety would become so great that I would actually start trembling on the golf course.

"I’d hit the occasional fantastic shot, but I could never hold things together over the length of a full round.

Franz contemplated quitting the game several times over the following decade, but never did.

He said: "I had enjoyed playing so much before the accident. I knew somehow that, if I did, it might be the end of me."

Instead Franz developed a new, more accepting mindset.

Stating that "giving in is not the same thing as giving up", the 60-year-old said: "Golf is a mirror of life. It’s how you deal with things which is important.

"If you hit a bad shot, you don’t get depressed or angry. If you are having a bad day, you don’t go back to bed.

"Now my attitude when things go wrong is, ‘Well, that was an interesting shot, I wonder if I can do better next time’."

Franz has taken this approach halfway across the world.

He met Amanda St George, another former high-powered businessperson, during a holiday to Forres in 2000, and the pair soon became an item.

They set up Living Golf the following year, and began to use the sport as a tool to improve people’s lives.

After receiving a grant from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, they travelled to South Africa where they spent several years working with disadvantaged children in the townships.

Seeing how the youngsters excelled at the game, Franz states he finally realised the full importance that rhythm plays when hitting a golf ball.

He said: "When you’re listening to music you’re not thinking. And that’s critical.

"Obviously, it’s important to be clear about where you want to hit the ball. But once that decision has been made it’s time to switch off."

With this in mind, a four-piece band will be on hand tomorrow at Covesea Golf Course to accompany everyone who comes along to play.

The musicians are guitarists Calum Jones, from Milne’s High School in Fochabers, and Aiden Grant, from Lossiemouth High, plus fiddlers Abbie Nye and Nieve Patterson, from Buckie High.

Franz said: "We want everyone to come, especially if they are needs supported. It also doesn’t matter if you’ve never swung a golf club before.

"Covesea is an absolute gem of a course – the most scenic in Moray, in my opinion. People are going to have a lot of fun."

Franz recently hit a four over par 76 around the Spey Valley course at Aviemore.

*** Pop Goes the Golf Ball is taking place tomorrow at Covesea. Anyone wanting to join in should get to the course by 10am. They are also invited to bring musical instruments with them.

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