Club: Mullingar GC
He’s a massive advocate for mental health and a phenomenal musician with The Blizzards. But Bressie – aka Niall Breslin – is also an avid golfer.
He suffers on the course like the rest of us mortals but as he prepares to tee it up in the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics Pro-am at Galgorm Castle next Wednesday, he reminds us that golf is all about conversation and making the connections that are “the beating heart of our emotional well-being.”
1. How’s your golf?
It’s good. I’ve started to have lessons with fellow Mullingar man Liam Grehan at The K Club. So I’ve realised I really have to practice. Golf is literally the hardest thing I have ever done. But that’s what I love about it. I love having to learn new things and really having to focus.
2. How did you get started in the game?
My Dad, Enda, got me my first set of golf clubs and my first game was in Glasgow, because my mum is Scottish. Later, as a junior golfer in Mullingar, I was there day and night caddying. Joe Dolan would bring out rich Americans and we’d be waiting at the door trying to get €20 off them.
3. Choose your weapon….Driver or putter?
Driver. All day. I am an awful putter. The driver is like a punchbag with a club. You can get all your anger and frustration out but the problem is the ball is going to go 45 million miles right or left. It’s actually that controlled anger I love about the driver. When you hit it well and get the weight of your arse behind it and you get that crunch, there is no better feeling.
4. Links or parkland?
Parkland, all day every day because I was born and bred in Mullingar. The first links I played was Bundoran because my dad is from there. I played Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links recently and it was windy. It was a different game altogether. There were lads shouting fore, left and right. It was like a war zone.
5. When were you happiest on the golf course?
For me, golf is all about conversation. For the first four or five holes, people are a little bit guarded but by the ninth you’re sharing stuff you can’t believe you’re sharing.
6. Who’s your sporting hero?
Growing up, it was Simon Geoghegan (right). He was a winger but he was just demon on the wing. Everyone usually says someone like Keith Wood but I vividly remember Simon Geoghegan scoring against England at Twickenham.
7. Name an artist you especially admire and why.
The artist that’s had the biggest influence on me would be Tom Waits. I’ve been obsessed with him all my life. What I love about him is that nowadays you know way too much about your pop star. I don’t want to know what they had for breakfast. I want to keep the mystery. And there’s a mystery about the music as well and I love that. Record labels nowadays need to tell everybody about everything all the time and you don’t know whether you’re a content creator or musician.
8. What’s your golfing ambition?
I want to be able to play golf almost subconsciously. I play with pros and I don’t think anybody has a clue just how skilful these people are or the work it takes. And I’d love to play a round without losing a golf ball. They’re so expensive now as well.
9. Name your dream fourball?
I’d love to play golf with Frank Sinatra and Dolly Parton. I don’t know if she plays golf but if she did, I imagine you’d feel so good about yourself afterwards. And Bruce Springsteen. Everyone says he’s a guy you love to go for a drink with so I’d love to have a drink with Bruce Springsteen and play golf with him.
10. If you could change something about the modern music business what would it be?
We need to let musicians be musicians. The idea that they have to make TikTok dances for the song as the first port of call, it’s not what we are and it can be overwhelming having to do it all the time. The music industry for me is unbelievably exciting, I love it. But it’s at a real turning point here as to what we want it to be. Is it an industry where people create and write songs or what? That’s something that needs to be looked at.
11. If I gave you a mulligan in your life, what would it be?
The solo music I started to put out just wasn’t me. It wasn’t how I grew up and it wasn’t the music I loved. I was skint, to be perfectly honest with you, and I was in London and I was writing these songs for other people. I wrote this song as a pitch to Kylie Minogue and I sent it to the label and they were saying we love this but we want you to release it. And that’s what I did. The album did well but it just didn’t feel like me.
12. If you had just one more round to play, where would it be?
Honestly, Mullingar. I’d be really pissed off if I died losing loads of golf balls and I know I’m not going to lose any balls in Mullingar. I’d be heartbroken if I was three Titleist Pro V1s down after playing somewhere like Augusta.
13. What’s your favourite par three?
The 12th at Druids Glen. It’s really, really beautiful but it’s also really playable as well. I love that hole.
14. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Sometimes I fall into this thing called the apathy trap. I get slightly demotivated and it’s a hard place to find yourself. It’s always been the kind of warning shot for my mental health. When that happens I am just unbelievably hard on myself about it. So I just wish I could bring a bit of softness to it and say, you know we’re human beings and we’re not meant to do all the time. There’s no problem just sitting around doing nothing sometimes and not feeling guilty about it.
15. What’s your most treasured possession?
I have a vintage ’66 Fender Telecaster, just from a purely financial point of view but also because I adore it. I worked so hard to be able to get it. It was something I had dreamt of buying from the time I was 12 when I started playing guitar. It has loads of roach marks on it. Whoever had it before me obviously liked a smoke but it smells like 15,000 gigs.
16. If you could change something about your golf, what would it be?
It’s the consistency thing. I’d rather be consistently shite to be honest rather than having those odd moments where you say, ‘Oh my God, I’m actually all right at this’. Ideally I’d like to be consistently good at golf. But consistency is the thing that drives me mental.
17. Who’s your favourite golfer of all time?
Seve. He was like a rockstar. Golf can be so constrained by etiquette but I just love the way he let his emotions come through. And I am pretty sure he wouldn’t have joined LIV Golf.
18. What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Acceptance. I have long believed that sustainable and perfect happiness doesn’t exist. I think we need to recognise that life isn’t a straight line and things happen. It’s how you react to them that ultimately defines your happiness. I think a lot of our unhappiness comes from the belief that we shouldn’t suffer. For me happiness is about acceptance of the present moment because that’s how I live. More than anything, happiness is connection, relationships. The beating heart of our emotional well-being is the people we surround ourselves with. So don’t take them for granted.
To purchase tickets for the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics visit tickets.europeantour.com