MARC SOUTER: CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN

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He stands at the helm of the “Guilty”, the floating work of art owned by Dakis Ioannou, industrialist and collector of modern art. He is Australian but feels at home in Greece, and enjoys nothing more that the grass of golf courses. Captain C. Mark Souter co-founded “Bradan Golf Cards”, a technique for focusing the mind and body, with the aim of introducing the uninitiated to the magic of the game.

How did you come up with the idea for Bradan Golf Cards? I wanted to create a tool for amateur golfers. It took five years of research and cooperation with professionals in the sport, but I managed to gather the relevant information and turn it into useful tips. I created a series of illustrated cards with short descriptions that are easy to comprehend and absorb, and won’t be tossed in the bin. The majority of amateur golfers believe that it is all a matter of technique: you hit the ball and it goes straight into the hole. In reality, however, that isn’t the case. It’s 50% technique and 50% psychology of the player – I call it “insight” on the cards.

How are the cards used? The cards prepare players in two ways – technically and psychologically – and are thus divided into two types: mechanical and insight. Each card contains an average of 4 tips and key words that the player can refer to when faced with challenges during a game. Colours play their part in the cards. Each category is represented by a different colour, selected according to the effect it has on the mind of the player. It has been scientifically proven that different colours trigger certain emotions in the brain and thus affect the result. For example, it’s no coincidence that world-renowned golfer Tiger Woods wears a red shirt in the finals. Red is considered the colour of strength, positive energy and luck.So it’s a holistic approach to the sport.Exactly. 99.9% of amateur golfers believe technique guarantees success in the game. However, golf is about deciding whether to play with concentration or hope, or what we call “hit with focus” instead of “hitting with hope” in the cards. My aim is for players to learn the language of self-concentration through the cards, and for them to apply this newfound knowledge both in golf and other areas in their lives. They will become better golfers, better spouses, friends and employers through self-concentration exercises.

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Why golf? Firstly, golf is a sport that covers a wide range of ages. You can start playing in early childhood and continue until well into the later years of your life. Moreover, you come into direct contact with nature, which is a great stress reliever, and you have the opportunity to socialise and communicate with some very interesting characters. Finally, it’s the only sport to offer such a wide range of emotions. One minute you achieve your goal and you’re a hero, and the next you feel depressed until your next good performance. I believe the only regret one could have about golfing is not taking it up earlier.

Are Greeks trained properly in the sport? One thing I can say with certainty is that I love the way Greeks approach golf. There are people who care deeply about the development of the sport in Greece, such as Mr Theodore Vassilakis, who invested in and renovated the incredibly beautiful course on the island of Crete, the Crete Golf Club. It was a move that aims to develop sport tourism and may result in new hotels in the region, as well as the re-design of the ports. We need to understand that Greece isn’t merely about the Acropolis and the sun. It has the potential to expand in other directions, such as the “golden opportunity” presented by alternative tourism. Action needs to be taken to pull the country out of the crisis. We need to reinvent ourselves – and then the country. We cannot sit idly on the sofa in our home, watching the government try to save us on television. I hope it succeeds, but we all need to take responsibility as a unit, as a society, as a country.

Can we succeed? Absolutely! We have a gorgeous country – and I’m using the plural form because I too feel Greek. We gaze out of the porthole and watch the islands emerging like pearls from the sea. The sun shines late into the afternoon and the temperature is perfect for most of the year. Let’s take all that and turn it to our advantage. Let’s think “out of the box”. It’s not enough to simply guide the boat from A to B, avoiding the rocks. We have the knowledge. We have the flame and the vision. Let’s do it.

So you believe that Greece should focus on sports tourism, in this case golf and nautical tourism? Do you remember Greece in the 80s? Everyone was here. The marinas were full of luxury yachts whose owners came from all over the world. Now there is no one. And the reason is none other than fear. Fear of instability caused by the economic crisis. We have to change tack when it comes to promoting our country to the world. Alternative tourism is the future. Greece is in a powerful position and can offer facilities both in golfing and yachting – a double threat!

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