The Day Brian Lara Asked If He Could Join Me In A Game Of Golf

April 11th, 2011

Brian Lara – it’s a name synonymous with cricket as the man many call ‘The Prince’ was just one of two players who scored more than 10,000 Test runs and probably a similar return in One-Day cricket.

But to bump into one of cricket’s all-time greats on a golf practice range in the Middle East – no chance!

Brian Lara and Bernie McGuire

Bernie meets up with cricketing legend Brian Lara in April 2011

It was Monday of the 2011 Dubai Desert Classic week and fellow Australian Darren King, who works as a director of golf at the Els Club, had invited me to play the course.

I arrived in the company of a French-born colleague and after being met by Darren we headed to the practice range to warm-up before a round on the Ernie Els-designed layout at Sports City in Dubai.

There were just three people on the range, with one person, on the far left meticulously working on his swing.

Before long he took a break with lunch brought out to him by one of the Els Club catering staff, and it was then that I asked if he had his game “all sorted”.

Wearing shorts, cap and sun-glasses our intrepid golfer merely responded: “Where in Australia do you come from?”

I said: “Sydney”.

“Oh, I have a daughter named Sydney”.

The penny was beginning to drop but I naturally still asked where do you come from?

“Trinidad and Tobago,” was the response.

I then commented: “Ah! I was sitting the stands at the Sydney Cricket Ground the day you scored that 287″.

Brian Lara quickly corrected me: “It was actually 277″.

“Pretty close, and I now know why you called your daughter Sydney”, I said.

We got talking with Lara indicating he was in Dubai as a batting consultant with the Zimbabwe World Cup cricket team at the nearby Dubai Cricket Stadium.

We were minutes away from teeing-off and Lara asked me if he could join the pair of us for a few holes.

“Woh! Cricketing legend Brian Lara wants to play golf with us?”

We got talking, as you do in golf, and I established his favourite clubs in Australia were the New South Wales Club in Sydney while he also enjoyed Royal Canberra.

I observed during the eight holes we played that he marks his ball with a casino betting chip, but learned that he also lost $20 when playing with Lee Westwood.

And, amazingly, Brian Lara plays golf right-handed after having etched his name into cricket folklore batting left-handed.

A few days before taking to the Els Club, Lara shot a 76.

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