Body & Fitness

Toni Street gets in the swing

TV presenter Toni Street might have a lot on her plate, but she still makes time for fun. We chat to the sporty star about working on her golf swing as part of November’s She Loves Golf campaign.
Toni Street

Why did you wanted to get involved with the She Loves Golf campaign?

I’ve been wanting to give golf a go for a long time, but never followed through. I saw this as the push I finally needed to have a crack, and I love the idea that I might encourage other women to have a go too. My job doesn’t really allow me to play a team sport – my hours are too all over the place – so I think golf could be the perfect fit, you can squeeze a few holes in when it suits you.

What’s your sporting background?

I played representative Netball and Cricket until I was in my early twenties, basically until my TVNZ job got too full on to do both. I went to University on a cricket scholarship, and played netball for Canterbury while I was down there. I was also a surf-lifesaver for East End in Taranaki for around 15 years.

What do you think you’ll like about golf?

I think I’ll love smashing the ball Happy Gilmore styles (assuming I can connect)… direction I’m guessing could be my weakness!

Do your friends play golf? And or is this something to enjoy with your folks during Christmas holidays?

My Dad is a really good golfer and plays regularly so he’s been wanting me to have a go for a long time. I’m really looking forward to having a few rounds with him, and my sister has just taken it up too.

My co-host on Seven Sharp Mike Hosking tells me he was once on a 6 handicap so has already been giving me tips on my backswing, which I of course took no notice of!

It can be a pretty complicated game (swing wise) – how do you rate your abilities?

I’m really keen to have a few lessons from the experts. I’ve literally only played two or three times, so it would be good to start from scratch and learn from the pros before the bad habits creep in. I’m hoping my years of cricket might help!

How will you manage golf between family and work commitments?

Actually my Mum and Dad have just bought my three year old a set of mini clubs for her birthday so I might take her with us to the driving range (hopefully I won’t live to regret that). My golfing will definitely be confined to the weekends!

11 good reasons to give golf a go this summer:

1. It’s a game for life: golf is rare in that you can learn and compete from a very young age, and play well into senior citizen years.

2. It doesn’t matter if you and your girlfriends are really good or really bad: golf’s unique handicap system means players of all levels can play together. You don’t need to have the same ability to go out and have fun.

3. You can play golf in all sorts of locations – you don’t always have to golf on a golf course. You can go to a driving range, have a few chips around the practice green or just have a few putts. You can even do it in your own living room or backyard!

4. Golf is a great way to burn calories without noticing – it is more about endurance than extreme physical exertion. A game requires anywhere from 90 minutes to five hours of walking and swinging a club, depending on how many holes you decide to play. The average golfer will burn around 1500 calories per 18 holes of golf!

5. Golf is one of the most social sports ever invented. You have time to talk about pretty much anything with your friends and partners during a round of golf! Golfers tend to be a member of one particular club even though they may play other courses, and most golf clubs have ladies’ mornings and competitions, encouraging members to meet and socialise. Learning golf is a really fun thing – and you’re never too far away from a glass of wine or bubbles.

6. In an era of busy lifestyles, spending some time out on the golf course gives you quality “me time” – to re-connect with yourself in the serenity and beauty of the course. At the extreme, some men take up golf to get out of the house and away from their partner: we can do the same should we feel the need!

7. Down with the boys’ club: women have been under-represented in golf for years. Don’t let men have all the fun!

8. Golf is a great way to bond as you play with your partner, your children, your family.

9. The time required to play golf is flexible: you decide when and how long to play for.

10. We all know that it’s important to spend time outside in the fresh air and get a (measured) dose of sunshine – playing golf ticks those boxes, and in the most beautiful green setting.

11. Golf is another great excuse to live in your activewear. Even dedicated golf gear is pretty cute these days – “no-one looks good in bike pants or bowls whites!”

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