Nikos Ethimiades winning Hellenic Golf Championship Match Play for third time in a row shares his feelings with Golf & Leisure Magazine readers

You are only 22 and you have already been four times an HGC Match Play Winner. Do you recall the first time you have ever touched a golf club?
As far as I can remember myself, I am in a golf course. My dad used to play golf too and I remember him lifting me up and seating me down on his golf bag to watch the game. Once I managed to hold the golf club and hit the ball, I immediately felt that this would be an everlasting love.

As time goes by and through winning streaks, your athletic performance has been very much improved. What would you say is the key element to your success?
As time went by, instead of letting stress break me, I managed to deal with it and use if for my own benefit in the golf course. I am good at hitting the ball, but I am even better when using my mind and actually, this is how I play. Golf taught me how to be a more patient and self-disciplined person to such an extent that enables me to focus only on target.

For now, you are an amateur golfer. Do you intend to pursue a professional golfing career?
My primary goal, at least for the time being, is to obtain my degree in Maritime Studies and eventually graduate from the University of Piraeus. I spent so much time in golfing that I have fallen behind. Now, I catch up with my studies by sharing time in golf training and studying and yes my intension is to become a professional golfer. I want to find out if I am worth of it and how far I could get with it.

You have been member of our exceptional National Golf Team that won the 2015 European Team Shield in Bulgaria. Do you really think that this brought any significant change in the Greek amateur golfing?
Having ranked first at the 2015 European Team Shield and given that we did it on our own, since we did not even have a coach, I was hoping that sport clubs and federations would treat us better and sponsor us more generously. Unfortunately and to my great disappointment, this never happened. However, I do believe that with the appropriate financial support and the participation of the National Team in more tournaments on an annual basis, we could achieve so much more. But, in any case, we do not give up. We are passionate with golf and we will keep playing with all of our hearts.

So, would you then say that the promotion of Greek golf entails more investments in it?
Yes indeed. Greece has an excellent climate, ideal for golf tourism development. In Nordic countries, golf courses are closed during winter and tourists wishing to play golf travel to Spain, Italy, and Southern France or even to Turkey, which actually had nothing to do with golf until very recently, but it now has constructed new modern facilities that attract golfers from all over the world. What a pity for a country like Greece to lack appropriate infrastructure that would allow it to gain a significant tourism share and be the leader in such a compatible sport!

After all these years playing golf, what are the benefits for you?
Peace of mind and the ability to get to know myself better every day. Golf helps me leading a balanced and totally relaxed life. There is nothing more comforting than playing golf with your friends after a stressful day.

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