For MIX, Frank Heus – personally – searches for the WOW factor. For individuals or companies that do-it-yourself retail and industry can learn something from. This time he talks to golf champion Romy Meekers.
Dear Romy, can you tell us something about yourself and what you have been doing in recent years.
My name is Romy Meekers (24) and I have always been involved in sports from an early age. My parents always encouraged it. When I was 8 years old I started playing hockey and a little later tennis came along. I have always enjoyed it, and when I was 13, I came in contact with golf through a holiday clinic. I liked it so much that I wanted to continue with it. After a series of youth tournaments, I was asked to play for the Dutch team. Then I chose golf.
Pretty soon I started playing and winning tournaments, playing competitions, playing internationally at the European Championships and as a highlight I won the Italian Open and as a delegation from the Netherlands I was allowed to go to the World Cup in Japan, together with Anne van Dam and Dewi Weber . With UGC De Pan we won several league titles and I won the European Club Championship with Zhen Bontan on behalf of UGC De Pan. I have also won several Dutch national championships over the years and have been able to write titles to my name.
Romy, you are our Dutch pride in the golf courses of the world. How do you see the world of sports called golf?
When I started playing golf, I noticed that people sometimes looked a little ‘weird’ at it. Most of their peers played football, hockey and tennis. It was said that golf was more for older people. But when I started participating in youth golf tournaments, I noticed that there was definitely a lot of youth golf playing. It is a sport available to all ages, but it is becoming more and more a sport for the young.
How did you experience and survive the corona in the top sport of golf? During the corona, I started going from amateur to professional golfer. As a result, I did not have a particularly well-filled agenda, especially in 2021. Because many tournaments were in different countries, there were also a number of travel restrictions and special rules per. country. But the fact that even golf was not allowed was a big downturn. I was able to build a small ‘home gym’ and worked hard on my physique. It’s a great hobby for me and it’s definitely important for my sport.
How does a top athlete like you handle the daily costs and income to practice your sport, travel and stay with food / drink and overnight stays?
With golf, your income is completely dependent on how you play. Fortunately, women’s golf is on the rise, but there is still a big difference in men’s golf. At every tournament played at a professional level (sometimes 3 and sometimes 4 match days) there is a cut after 2 days – ‘the cut’, as they call it. The top half continues to gamble on the prize money, and those who miss the cut do not earn anything at all. As a professional, you have to pay the costs you have for travel, accommodation, but also your coaches and physiotherapist from the start and it increases a lot. Of course I went looking for sponsors. In that connection, it was very difficult to get your sponsors together in the middle of the corona period …. Therefore, I am still looking for individuals and / or companies who want to help through financial support.
Is there a big difference between men and women in golf in general?
There is, of course, as is also recognizable in other sports, a physical difference between men and women. This also translates into the prize money in golf, although the payouts very slowly creep closer together. There is still a lot more attention and money in the men’s circuit, but it’s getting a little better. Every now and then, for example, you can watch women’s golf on TV, which was not to be found a few years ago.
So your future is in the hands of sponsors, friends and family and the golf association to practice your sport at the highest level?
Yes, that’s pretty much correct. As it is now, I am still dependent on sponsors, friends and family. At the moment I have a lot of people / friends who support me financially and help every little bit. I have a main sponsor and that is UBN Uitzendbureau, for which I am incredibly grateful. I must also say that I can still live at home with my parents, and not everyone can say that. It saves me a lot of costs. It does not make much sense to me to have a ‘your own home’ if you are only really at home for 3 or 4 months in a year. But of course I come at an age where I want it and want that ‘luxury’. In the end, I hope to play well enough to make ends meet. For that, I will hopefully be able to play in America in the long run, because eventually the best players in the world will play on the LPGA there.
Golf clinics also came to a standstill during the corona era. When you are in the Netherlands, do you notice that this is being picked up again by companies and people who want to start?
Last year (2021) was obviously a very strange year, there were no golf clinics for the well known reasons. I certainly hope that there will be more interest in the golf clinics from the companies. Last winter, I developed a campaign so people who liked it could play a round with me at UGC De Pan (my home court) for a sponsorship amount. It was experienced as very nice. I really enjoy providing clinics for companies or people who want to start up and who need to get started again.
How can business help talented athletes in general? And what are your thoughts on this?
Well Frank, that’s always hard to say, because sometimes it’s a bit like “begging”. Of course, I have been helped tremendously, especially with financial support, but it’s mainly about paying for hotels, flights, materials, clothes, buses, driving, so if all these things can be accommodated in a creative way, then I’m very happy for anyone help of course. Although my time in the Netherlands is limited, we can always see what I can do. For larger sponsors, name sponsorship on the clothing is also an option. There are quite a few variations that can be devised and I always prefer to let it depend on the person or company themselves and brainstorm about it together.
Romy, if you were to work in the do-it-yourself market for 6 months, what would you give the company of what you learn and do every day in top sports?
Oh, that’s a difficult one. 6 months in the Do-It-Yourself sector. Most importantly, keep going. Do not give up after some setbacks. Believe in your own abilities. Give yourself time to work towards your goals. These may be clichés, but they are always true, I have already noticed in the first tournaments in 2022.
Oh yeah … one more question, is it true that if you go with an average golfer and you give some little tips that he will play better because of this?
From experience, I can easily say that when I play with an average golfer and give some tips here and there, there are always some things that help. One does not want too many tips because it is more of an emotional player, the other just wants to know what I am doing and get his own things out of it that can work and then everyone is always very happy in the end.
Frank Heus has a successful track record in the do-it-yourself industry. Anyone who knows him knows his drive and his enthusiasm. For MIX, he goes in a strictly personal trait in search of the WOW factor. Heus: “This lady who travels the world to express her passion and talent. She knows how to inspire people and constantly knows how to ask the maximum of her body and mind to be and remain the best. I’m very happy that she was in the Netherlands for a while and that I could talk to her at MIX. ”