When golf wizard Romain Bechu posted his first video in 2013 it was heralded by many as ‘the greatest trick-shot video the world has ever seen’. How is he getting on today?
When did you first start playing golf?
When I was ten years old in the south-west of France.
And have you always practised trick shots?
Yeah, I was in the French team when I was younger, and all the kids used to juggle. It got serious when I went to Australia. I was there with a friend, Olivier Serres, who was the best juggler in the world. I spent a lot of time with him and just got better at it.
You had a very successful career as an amateur. What made you want to pursue a career as a trick shot artist rather than turn pro?
I’d been playing different tours, I went to Asia, I went everywhere, but I love to do fun things and I wanted to develop my trick shots and my image. I still love playing [competitively]. If I get a good category on the European Tour, I’ll probably play, but if it’s the Challenge Tour or another tour, I’m happy to just play a couple of events for now.
What’s the most difficult trick you perform and how long did it take to nail it?
The most difficult trick is probably where I flip the club. There is one I’m working on right now which is a double flip. It takes time; so far, I’ve only managed it once. Sometimes there is a trick I have in my head, which I’m never able to do because it’s too hard. I’m always thinking up new things to do.
What gives you inspiration?
I’m big fan of videos, especially action sports videos like freestyle football, motor biking, surfing – I grew up surfing a lot.
Is it important that there are guys like you in order to help in getting young people excited about golf?
Yeah, for sure. Earlier this week, we went to London and we were doing some tricks with the kids there – they loved it.
There’s a trick in your Paris video where you drive the ball from a tee held in somebody’s mouth. Are you nervous before playing a shot like that?
I’d never done it before, that was the first time! We went to film and there were three guys coming out of a nightclub, it was 5:30am. One of them just stood up next to me and was like “I bet you can’t hit the ball from my mouth”. I looked at my friend filming and just went “I can’t do it”, because I didn’t have big tees with me. Then the guy stood up to me again and said “I bet you can’t” and I said “OK, let’s do it”. He was shaking so much that the tee kept falling out of his mouth. I was a bit nervous, but I knew I wouldn’t miss the ball because I’d been practising some similar shots for my shows.
Which of the tour golfers you’ve worked with have the best juggling skills?
There’s a guy who’s just come on tour called Sébastien Gros – he’s got some really good juggling skills – and there are a couple of guys playing on the smaller tours who are really good. I’m happy to see it because they’re a bit younger than me and I know them. They’ve developed their skills through watching my videos.
So what’s the plan for your next video? Any new tricks up your sleeve?
It’s a secret! I’m thinking of doing something back home [in France]. Something with more of a party atmosphere, maybe something that’s more interactive, where I juggle with lots of different people. That’s what it’s all about – having fun; it’s all about sharing these moments with people. Playing golf should be fun!
Romain Bechu was speaking on behalf of sunglasses brand Maui Jim, official eyewear supplier of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth