Former AFL star Brendon Goddard has participated in one of the largest amateur tournaments in Australia. Image: Getty
Brendan Goddard made his name as a brilliant AFL player with two clubs; a year after his retirement after that endeavor, his obsession with golf is only growing.
Goddard, the former player of St Kilda and Essendon, is going one step further next week. He started with the Port Phillip Open Amateur on Kingston Heath and Commonwealth from November 14, the launching platform for the Victorian Amateur the following week, and a field full of the best amateur players in the country competing over four rounds. The top 32 goes through to the match play and plays for the Victorian amateur title.
But he is not there as a ceremonial player or to attract publicity for the event.
Goddard, who plays from Metropolitan in Melbourne, has an official plus two handicap, has penned for his club and says he feels ready to take another small step in his development as a 34-year-old golfer.
"I know my best is good enough," he told Golf Australia today. "At least to be eligible."
Goddard, coached by Stuart Leong, has been a single player and golf tragic for years, during his entire career of 334 games and St Kilda and Essendon. Retired at the end of 2018, he has had time to pursue his other love, with immediate results.
He has been a single figure handicapper for years (and an avid collector of Scotty Cameron putter covers, among other oddities). But he was led along the path by his good friends and professionals, Geoff Ogilvy and Marcus Fraser, for whom he caddied at a US Open.
He plays with Ogilvy on a weekly basis and often plays with Fraser. On Peninsula Kingswood, where Ogilvy joined since he returned from America to live in Melbourne, he played plus four. He recently remembers one game against Ogilvy, in which the US Open champion had just cleared his membership papers in 2006 and his handicap became official.
"We printed a card for him (Ogilvy) and went to the first tee, talked about what we were playing for, and he said," This is good. You have to give me two shots! "You can imagine my reaction!"
More recently, Ogilvy and Goddard play the cane and Goddard has at least one victory notch in his belt. “Geoff plays horrible. He had only played a month and a half. I will still win, don't worry. "
Fraser, also nestled in Melbourne after 15 years in Europe, has to give him a number of shots in their private games. Fraser, Ogilvy and Goddard also all play together this weekend in Gippsland Super Six of the Australasian PGA Tour in Yallourn.
There is a method to Goddard's method with all this. "I discovered a long time ago that the fastest way to get better is to play with people who are better than you," he said. "It is mainly their short game. You have days to flush it and everything goes well, but even those guys can struggle with tee-to-green from day to day, but what is consistent is their short game.
"With this they can shoot 70 or 71 when they hit it as if they should have had 76. That's a huge difference I noticed years ago when I started playing with good players."
Football is off his radar and not by accident. "It's a conscious decision," he said. "It's a lifestyle choice to be honest. It's about me and the kids (Billie 3 and McKenzie 2) and my wife (Rosie). I've had some discussions with people (in football), but I'm not that interested I followed a coaching training, enjoyed it, but for me it's about getting away and exhaling after 16 or 17. If I take that path, I want to set myself up as a senior coach. I want a long-term plan. I didn't want the process. because then I would have nothing else that would be footy, and I know how footy is. "
Golf has filled the void, along with the family and the personal training business that he and his wife run, as well as some media work. Recently, Goddard was involved with the commentary team at various Australasian PGA Tour events. At one point he cherished the desire to become a professional; nowadays he says: "I know my limitations."
For Goddard, this is all about testing his limits. “I've always wanted to play more competitive golf, but footy always stood in the way. But now I enjoy it and I am better now that I have more time to play and practice. It's about competition. It scratches the itch. "
More information about the Port Phillip Open Amateur here