A premiership winner, New South Wales and Australian representative in rugby league, Braith Anasta has an almost lifelong love affair with golf.
The 39-year-old has even turned his hand to player management with his company, Searoo Sports, since retiring whilst also working as an NRL commentator and hosting a PGA Tour of Australasia event earlier this year.
What is the thing about golf for Braith Anasta?
Golf I would say is probably my greatest love (laughing).
No, I think the thing about golf for me is it reminds me of childhood, because I grew up on a golf course and used to jump the fence every arvo and hit balls.
Until my dad built a house on a golf course I had never even considered playing it. And then when we moved onto Randwick Golf Course I got addicted to it and it really does take me back to my childhood, which was a good time in my life.
I would play all the Jack Newtown events, for a young kid I think it is just an amazing sport and for me it was ideal.
Obviously got started by living on the course, but was it just because golf was there and it was a sport to try?
I was a cricketer, so I had the hand-eye, and Dad and his mates played there, they weren’t tragic golfers, but I got obsessed because I was a competitive prick (laughs). And I wanted to get better.
It was foreign to me but I could hit a ball straight away, my first handicap was 13 I think, so I kind of picked it up quick and then I just got obsessed.
Getting hooked on the game, was there a first par or a shot that did it?
"Until my dad built a house on a golf course I had never even considered playing it. And then when we moved onto Randwick Golf Course I got addicted to it." – Braith Anasta
I wouldn’t say there was an actual moment, but I was just so competitive and wanted to get better and be the best pretty much like any young kid.
For me it was just a great release to go by myself and just have time to chill and relax. I would compete against myself with two or three balls with each one being a player like Greg Norman and Tiger Woods.
Now you get to work in golf, what does that mean?
It’s incredible, even though I look after a couple of players, I see these boys every week now, so it is a bit surreal because I am a golf tragic, I want to help the game which is why I am doing it. Because for me the obvious choice would be to manage Rugby League players, which I have my accreditation for, but because of my passion for golf and my passion to see it bigger and better here in Australia and look after these guys, it’s amazing.
It’s a bit surreal actually working in it. And just last night I was sitting with Anthony Quayle, Jake McLeod, Ben Eccles, Harrison Crowe and Nathan Barbieri, just having a beer and dinner, for me, I really enjoy that. Just telling some stories and helping them out, it’s a bit surreal.
Even having that tournament (The Players Series Sydney), we underestimated what it would be like, what it would look like and how it would feel.
It’s probably a dream come true to be honest working in the game.
The tournament hosting, as a golf tragic, is that one of the cooler things you have done even including your footy career?
Big time, yeah.
Again for a number of reasons, we always wanted to try and make a difference, that was our goal with Searoo was to make a difference and eventually have our own tournament. But we didn’t think it would happen so quick!
And the concept of men, women, amateurs and juniors is great. And because of the tough times with COVID and Tours being shut down, the guys had limited opportunities to play at all, let alone for money.
For us to contribute to that and give these guys an opportunity to do what they love to do and earn some coin, it felt so good.
What we got out of it was very minimal financially, it was more just about the passion and getting it up and running and giving these guys something to do.
Because we only had two months to do it, we were really happy with what we came up with, but now we have a year to plan the next one. We just want to make it as big as we can, we want to get the prizemoney up for these guys, we want to bring in some sponsors and make it pretty cool and modernize it a little bit and grow the game here in Australia.
For similar insights from people in golf from major champions to caddies, including Karrie Webb, Nick Price, Tom Doak, Mike Clayton and Marc Leishman, be sure to listen to our podcast series, The Thing About Golf, hosted by Rod Morri and John Huggan, available through your favourite podcast app or via www.golfaustralia.com.au/thethingaboutgolf