Q & A

On Winning at Golf, and Losing a Father

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Ben John Pollitt, a golfer from England, is a sophomore at Goshen College. He was the lone golfer on the men’s team a year ago when intercollegiate golf returned to Goshen College. He described his best athletic moment as “winning a matchplay tournament at my club after giving my opponent 28 shots in 18 holes.”

 

Q: What brings you to Goshen College?

A: I went through a company that tries to find you a sports scholarship and Goshen was one of the colleges that offer one. The coach was very forthcoming, I could ask him any question and he would answer almost immediately, when other schools took weeks to answer.

Q: What are some differences that you have observed between America and England?

A: The sense of community. People are a lot friendlier than they are back home. Another weird thing for me is that in America you can turn on a red light, when in England you need to stop… you can’t do that.

Q: Do you think your accent has opened doors here in America in any way?

A: I guess it has given me more leeway with professors. Like, if I am late with something they don’t give me as big of a punishment.

Q: What is one thing that you cherish the most about England?

A: My little sister. I had to be a father for her, because we lost our dad a couple of years ago. She is always saying when is “my Ben” coming home, instead of “When’s Ben coming home?”

Q: How did your father pass away?

A: Motorcycle accident, when I was 18 years old.

Q: What are some things that you miss the most about your father?

A: He was my guiding light. When he was alive, before I did something I would ask myself “Will my dad do this?” Now, I just go ahead and do things that sometimes I regret.

Q: What things do you regret?

A: Right now? Smoking. That’s probably my only one.  I feel like I disappoint my dad every time I do it.

Q: What is the last thing that you remember your dad saying?

A: That’s awkward, because the last conversation that I had with him was an argument about money. The day that he died I was supposed to buy my mom a birthday present. I only had 20 pounds left and he was disappointed about that. So he said: “I am going to leave before I say something that I regret.” Afterwards, I waited for him to come home but he never did. I play this argument over and over again in my head.

Q: What are some things that you had to do after your father died that you didn’t before?

A: I guess house chores. I became the man of the house. I basically did anything that my dad did, like cooking.

Q: What do you like to cook?

A: Indian curry, because it was my dad’s favorite thing to cook. My dad and I had a competition of who made the hottest curry; sometimes it got really out of hand.

Q: What’s your goal in life?

A: I want to be a professional golf player; I know that’s what my dad wanted me to do. As long as I have a job that I can support my family with I will be happy. 

Q: What inspires you to play golf?

A: My dad. When I was little, Soccer was the sport that I was always playing; I even wanted to play soccer professionally. One day, my dad invited me to play golf with him and I fell in love with it. It is something that I always used to do with my dad. So every time I play golf or I am on a golf course I feel closest to my dad because this is something he started me doing.
 

Q: What do you think before hitting the ball when you are playing golf? What goes through your mind?

A: My dad always told me that you need to have a pre-shot routine. If it becomes a routine, it becomes a habit, and then nothing else will distract you. That’s what I think before hitting the ball.

Q: What terrifies you the most?

A: Ironically, success. I guess I am a walking contradiction.

Q: What was your father’s biggest dream?

A: He told me once when I was 17, that he has realized all his dreams apart from one, to see me live my dream.

 

  This interview has been edited and condensed.

 

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